First of all, thanks to all the people that have been patient and still visit this blog. Thanks to everyone that sent me emails asking whatever happened to the blog. To those who don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, well, thanks for visiting it now.

The blog was down from July 30th to August 19th. The server where the blog was hosted crashed. There was a server failure. This is not that uncommon. What is uncommon is that it took so long to be restored. Actually, it was never restored in that server. I changed servers, I changed hosting companies, and restored the whole blog manually, post by post. I couldn’t restore the comments though. Thus, there are no comments on any posts in the blog now. This makes me very sad because there were some GREAT comments, great stories being told by band members, and some discussions and disagreements on many of my rants. But well, who is to blame? The name is Cool Handle Hosting. You know, if you google them you’ll never find a bad review about them? They seem to be the best in hosting services. Seems it’s all a facade. They are truly crap. You can’t imagine how nightmarish this has been. Emailing them all the time asking them for updates and they barely answering me “thanks for your email, we have forwarded it to our admin” time and time again. I called them on the phone and some clueless guy would answer me. No help whatsoever. So yeah, never host your website there because their technical service is utterly bad. And their customer service is even worse.

Good thing is that the blog is back, right?

But then I’m going to take a big break from September 1st to September 14th. When I’m back I’ll start to document this year. I miss doing that. There hasn’t been much time this year. It’s been like a roller-coaster year. Lots of trips, meeting old friends, making new friends, buying lots of records, trying new food, releasing more records, and learning lots of gossip. There have been really difficult months, like the one that is about to end. Where not only the blog was down, but had so many arguments with friends. Also many friends have left town this past month making Miami a desert. Lots of work, little time. Rough times. This break just comes in handy.

Where am I going?

First stop is Berlin. There I will attend the Indiepop Days festival that is organized by the lovely Let’s Kiss and Make Up gang. I will DJ on Saturday night and on top of that I will see many bands that have passed by Cloudberry like Zipper, The Felt Tips, The Sunny Street and Stars in Coma. I also look forward to Bart Cummings (from Cat’s Miaow) solo set. This should be magical. Especially that Saturday night at the Disney-looking Water Tower (yes, that’s the venue!!). Hanging out with the same people that made last October’s Hamburg weekend one of the best times of our lives, we expect to match that but in Berlin. This time we’ll celebrate my dearest Kat’s birthday and that alone is also such a good reason to be there. The memory of walking Prenzlauer Berg with her on a chilly autumn afternoon in Berlin while she is pushing her bicycle around, and  then stopping to drink beer, sitting on the sidewalk among dead leaves, it’s just brilliant. And this has to be repeated. And also repeat the schnitzel and those tall hefeweizen beer glasses for three euro!! ha!

Second stop is in a little seaside town, in the Baltic, called Scharbeutz. Not much happens there, just visiting my mom. I’ll have a little rest I hope.

Third stop is Malmö, Sweden. Half of my good Swedish friends seem to live there for some reason. I decided to pay them a visit. And I will have the chance to DJ two days in a row, on Thursday and Friday. On both days I will be joined by Jennifer behind the decks. String Bean Jen for many indiepop people. For me, Jennifer, maybe Jennifercita. Ah! Best of friends. So I’m sure we’ll just play the best indiepop tunes. If you happen to be in Malmö, definitely come. Where in Malmö? Okay, Thursday it is at So Tough So Cute. and Friday at Don’t Die On My Doorstep. If you click on the links, you’ll be teletransported to the facebook event page.

Fourth stop: Copenhagen. We are going to be here on Saturday, Jennifer and me, to be tourist and to Jennifer to enjoy bicycles or something about bicycles. I still don’t know what the bicycle part is all about, but she always associates Copenhagen with bicycles. I just want to walk around, have beer, walk around, have beer. And take touristy photos! The little mermaid anyone? It should be fun!

Fifth stop is back to Berlin for just a day. I really don’t want this day to come: a day to say goodbyes.

To leave August behind, to start traveling again, is what I wish for now. September’s not so far away.


The Field Mice – September’s Not So Far Away


Many thanks to David Myhr for the interview and also I appreciate his patience very much. It’s been such a long wait till this website was up again and I could publish this FANTASTIC interview about one of the most obscure 7″s of Swedish indiepop (or powerpop?!). Many may have heard The Merrymakers, but just before they started releasing records, they were called Ant-Mansson and put out a great 7″! David was kind enough to talk about his band and more!

++ Hi David! Thanks for willing to do this interview. How are you doing? Any news on The Merrymakers side?

Thanks Roque! It’s an honor and we’re also quite surprised that anyone outside of our small town in the north of Sweden has heard about Ant-Mansson(!).

++ Now let’s go back to 1989, or is it 1988? Not many know that before The Merrymakers there was a band called Ant-Mansson, was this your first band ever? What inspired you to start it?

My first band was a rock’n’roll/blues cover band actually. We called ourselves 2nd Hand B Band and we played covers by ZZ Top, Johnny Winter, Eric Clapton, and stuff like that. When Peter Arffman (ex Karlsson) and I started to write our own pop songs heavily inspired by Lennon-McCartney we started our own little duo called Ant-Mansson in 1988. It was like a home recording experiment on a four channel cassette portastudio. We tried smoking cigarettes, drank wine, made interviews with ourselves on VHS video and we toyed around with the idea of being composers of great art. Of course we weren’t. We were quite lousy to be honest, but it was great fun! No limits. A song could be made with lyrics and everything in an hour. No second thoughts… Those early demos are the real bootlegs. But I can assure you they won’t be released. They are in safe deposit on a cassette at home somewhere…

++ Who were the members and how did you knew each other? Was it easy to find members for the band?

Originally, as I said above, we were a duo but we soon formed a group with our first choice of drummer, which was Kenneth Berg who had played with us in 2nd Hand B Band, and also even before that with Peter in another group as 11-12 years old, called Måfå. Kenneth brought in a football player, a really nice guy, called Patrik Fernberg on bass. Not only was he nice but he was also a proud owner of a Hofner violin-shaped bass (just like a certain Paul McCartney…). So he was in. Later we brought in a class-mate of Peter called Patrik Bergman on keyboard.

++ What about the name Ant-Mansson, where does it come from? Does it have any meaning?

We picked the name Ant-Mansson which was our version of Lennon-McCartney. It was just that Myhr-Karlsson sounded to Swedish for us and we wanted an “international touch” and decided to make a direct translation from Swedish. Ant is the meaning of the Swedish word “myra” which was kind of close to my surname Myhr and “man” was the meaning of “karl” in Karlsson which used to be Peter’s surname back then. So it came to be Ant-Mansson. A bit forced to say the least. We never really liked the name. And even worse when it was pronounced by people in our home town Piteå. It became a joke in the end.

++ You only released a 7″, which included 2 songs, “I Know” and “Get Me”, care to tell me a bit about these two songs?

Both was originally and mainly penned by Peter at least as far as I remember. He was quite good at writing three chord catchy pop songs already then. He had a sense for hooks and simplicity. And also wrote lyrics that at least sounded like somewhat decent lyrics. I guess he let me sing one of them as a sign of democracy and I added my harmonies and my musical arrangement ideas to it. And of course the three other members did their part of making it a full arrangement. The only thing apart from this that I can remember about the songs is that we played them at various rock contests which was like a way to get heard back then. We got quite far but no to the big final.

++ How were the recording sessions for the record? What do you remember from it?

It was recorded in a small local studio in Piteå called Nybergs Studio and it was quite an adventure to enter a recording studio back then. Stefan Forsell was the man behind the desk and he was kind of a local legend in the music scene over there. I remember he brought a cell phone to the studio which was unseen before that. It was like a whole bag and must have weighed about 10 kg.

++ Who released this record? Is it true that only 600 copies were made? It’s so hard to find!

I think we paid for everything ourselves and released them on our own without any kind of backing from any label. I’m sure that we only made 600 copies. And we probably just sold like 150. So somewhere in my basement I’m sure I would find hundreds of them if I looked hard. Anyone interested in buying a copy can just send and e-mail to david@monogramrecordings.se – but at your own risk!

++ Were these the only two songs that you ever released? Maybe there was some compilation appearance or something? Maybe demo tapes?

As Ant-Mansson I think this was the only thing we released. We made demo tapes and put them on a CD-R once (when one burnable CD costed 40 bucks) but it was only around for internal use. I don’t think it stood the test of time too well so I think we’d better leave it as it is…

++ Your sound during the years has changed quite a bit. How do you feel these two songs have aged?

It’s hard to say. It’s an immature group in their teens doing their best. I guess it might have some charm and there’s nothing wrong with the melodies. The lyrics I have no idea. They sound good to me but I don’t know if they have any meaning. And the performance leave a lot to be desired by todays standards I think. Also the vinyl pressing I remember was quite a disappointment.

++ How about gigging? Did you gig lots? Any particular gig that you remember?

We played a lot of gigs back then. Mainly local gigs in the northern Sweden. Some rock contests and many, many cover gigs at local bars, like “Pentryt” which is a local chinese restaurant/pub/pizzeria where we played dozens and dozens of gig. But then we mainly played covers from the 60’s, like the Hollies, the Rolling Stones, the Byrds, the Kinks, and stuff like that.

++ So The Merrymakers were initially the same members as Ant-Mansson, right? So why did you decide to change the name?

More or less, yes. Patrik Fernberg left the group and Thomas Nyström joined. And then we were the same five member that made up the first line-up of the Merrymakers. We decided to change our name because we were very focused on getting signed to a record deal (which we later did) and wanted a more catchy name. Kenneth said at a name-brainstormning red-wine-party that we had at Thomas house that we ought to look for a name the described what kind of people we were. I looked up the Swedish word “festprisse” (people who like to party/drink a lot) and found “merry-maker”. So we decided to go or “The Merrymakers”. Years later we weren’t too happy with that name either, but that’s another story…. after all most band names are crappy if you analyze them. I mean “The Beatles” – how good is that?

++ How do you remember Sweden in those days? Was there any scene or support to guitar pop bands? Were there any other bands around that you enjoyed?

The society in Sweden has been quite supportive of young musicians and there are music schools you can go to and there were organizations called “studieförbund” (adult educational associations) that helped out young bands quite a lot. It was easy to find a rehearsal space and people in general were supportive. The local paper wrote about us and all in all we couldn’t complain. There was these rock contests that attracted big audiences and were quite well-organized. They were looking for a new “Europe” (they had also won a contest like that earlier in the 80’s). Then the indie-pop scene started with small record labels popping up. For instance we were aware of A West Side Fabrication in Skellefteå (an hour south by car) with bands like the Wannadies, This Perfect day and a lot of other bands but we weren’t as cool (or as good) as them so we didn’t end up there.

++ Whereabouts would you see Ant-Mansson, and later The Merrymakers, hanging out in Stockholm? What were your favourite spots in town?

As Ant-Mansson we were still up in Piteå in the north. As the Merrymakers when we were only three guys left (Peter, Anders Hellgren who had joined by then, and myself) we moved to Stockholm. We hung out at various bars in Stockholm and I guess that Kvarnen and a street called Skånegatan were (and still is) kind of favourite hang outs. Although it was more “hip” in the 90’s than now.

++ I was in Stockholm last year, I really enjoyed it there, det är mycket bra!, and I plan going again soon, hopefully! I was wondering what’s your favourite restaurant in town? You know, something kind of typically Swedish? And also if you have any favourite record store? I was at Nostalgia Palaset and that was really good!

Again, I’d recommend Södermalm and to eat herring and meat balls or pytt-i-panna at places like Kvarnen or Pelikan or if it’s summer you have to visit the outdoor terrace of Mosebacke. For bars I’d recommend Snotty’s, Pet Sounds Bar, or Noel’s at Skånegatan or Debaser at Medborgarplatsen or Slussen.. As for records I think the best is Pet Sounds (again Skånegatan).

++ Oh! One last question, what do you feel closer to you, the term indiepop or powerpop?


++ Thanks so much for the interview, anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you so much for your unexpected interest in Ant-Mansson! And keep your eyes open for my solo debut album which will be out in 2011. You’ll know more in the late fall at my Facebook Fan Page (David Myhr) or at www.myspace.com/davidmyhr


Ant-Mansson – Get Me 1


Here we are after a month, thanks to terrible service from my past hosting provider. They had a server failure and they seem not to care about backups. So in the end I changed servers and have manually posted every single entry, link and hopefully comments, on the blog. To resume the blog I have a fantastic interview with the obscure Stoke band: The Singing Curtains! I only knew them from the Kite Tape so learning more about them is really exciting!  Thanks so much to Karl, Ken and Nigel. And really I appreciate your patience! Took forever to be able to publish this interview!

++ Hi! Thanks so much for getting in touch! I was always curious about the track on the Kite tape. Care to tell me a bit about “While The Children Build Sandcastles”? What’s it about and how come it ended up in this tape compilation?

Karl: Thanks for the questions! This whole wave of nostalgia has come in force: I hooked up with Dave Wood from the Sainsburys on Facebook recently for the first time in about 18 years and saw they had been immortalized by Cloudberry. At precisely the same time, Takashi Yonezawa contacted me by email: he had put ‘While the Children…’ on Youtube some time ago. We were amazed to come across it! I have no idea what the song was about, I only plucked the strings on the bass that Ken and Nigel pointed to. We always struggled with song titles; this one came from a holiday brochure my mother had in our house when we were rehearsing one day.
The tape compilation was done by a friend’s brother some time after we split, I think.

Ken: As to the lyrical content – standard woe-is-me teenage angst

++ So was this song part of some demo tape? If so, tell me what other tracks did you record for it? What was your whole recorded output? Did you appear in any other tape compilation?

Karl: It was on a demo recorded at ‘the Barracks’ in Newcastle under Lyme in 1987. That and the other three tracks: ‘And Now a New Pool’ ‘Up’ and ‘Sit and Read’ constituted the whole recorded output of this indie supergroup. By the way, you may be able to detect another travel brochure-inspired title there.

++ Looking back in retrospective, what was your favourite song of yours? Why?

Karl: I liked ‘Up’ as it led off with a fast upbeat bassline.

Ken: I liked a song we had called ‘You Dress Well’, unfortunately lost to posterity, but containing an interesting chord structure, which you have no way of checking.

Nigel: I don’t know about favourite song, but I remember one called ‘Sounds Vaguely Italian’. And it did.

++ Was there never a chance to get your songs released? If you were to choose a record label from your time that you would have dreamed to have your songs released in, which one would it be?

Karl: I recall we sent the demo to tons of labels, but strangely no-one was interested. It was an early lesson in disappointment. We went up to Manchester one day to Factory Records hoping to see Tony Wilson. We handed in the demo and they were kind enough to let us raid the poster-cupboard. Great fun for teenage music-mad lads. On reflection we weren’t really that ‘Factory’ – maybe more 53rd & 3rd?

Ken: I was obsessed with Factory and it would have been a dream to be on there. However, as Karl says, our music was very un-Factory-like.

Nigel: According to Peter Hook’s book How not to run a club, demo tapes sent to Factory but rejected were taken to Strangeways prison once a month to entertain the guests! Maybe we were big in East Wing?

++ So let’s go back in time, even before the recordings, how did The Singing Curtains start? Who were the members and how did you know each other?

Karl: Originally the members were: Ken Brough, Karl Rowley and Nigel Massey, plus Andrew Crawford. We formed in 1985 when we were 15-16. We were all at the same school and lived fairly close to each other. I’d known Ken since I was 5. We were all into the same sort of music and forming a band seemed natural, except that I had no musical ability whatsoever. So I got the bass. The drummer was originally a pathetically tinny machine. Musical differences saw of Andrew and at VIth Form we were introduced to Mark Hassall who was an excellent drummer, who kindly agreed to prop us up.

++ Was this your first band ever?

Karl: First and last.

Ken : I was in a similarly ephemeral band at University called Spicy Toes. Don’t ask.

++ Who came up with the name The Singing Curtains? What does it mean?

Karl: We ended up with a shortlist (which included Derek Nimmo’s Aorta and the Petrified Jack Russells) and literally picked the name by lottery. It means nothing, though spookily if you google it nowadays some manufacturer is actually selling singing shower curtains. I think we should sue.

Ken: I came up with it. Along with about forty other possibles on a list which is probably still in my parents’ attic. My favourite was Wank PA.

++ You were from Stoke, right? Do you still live there? Has it changed much?

Karl: We were. None of us live there now, though our families still do. The coal pits have closed and the pottery firms have downscaled. It went through a bit of a slump but I’m sure it’s still an interesting place to grow up. The oatcakes are still God’s own food.

++ What were your favourite spots in town to hang out? What was a usual Singing Curtains Saturday evening/night?

Karl: Leadbelly’s and the Dew Drop in Hanley. The former was populated by the entirety of the cool people in Stoke in the mid-Eighties, and us. Quite a few bands played there. A typical night I seem to recall was Leadbelly’s spinning out a fiver on beer and then Chico’s: the nightclub in Stoke. It had a very sticky floor and an odd smell but there was a great mix of alternative-types and they played some spot-on music.

++ What were other bands from the time that you liked? I hear you were a bit Talulah Gosh fan? Were you indiepop kids back then?

Karl: I was probably the most Start-Rite of the lot, and had the girlfriend to match. I loved Talulah Gosh, the Pastels, the Clouds, the Razorcuts etc. Equally (and inconsistently) I liked Joy Division, Laibach, the Stockholm Monsters.

Nigel: I was, and still am, a big fan of Laibach and saw them play in London a few years ago. I also attempted to rekindle my teenage interest in the Wedding Present and saw them on their tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of their George Best album. I celebrated at the back of the bar from the comfort of a Chesterfield sofa and sipping a cup of tea!

Ken: I was a big New Order fan, as well as Felt, Blue Aeroplanes and Durutti Column. In an ironic twist, we not only didn’t transcend our influences, we descended below them.

++ Oh! and what about fanzines? Were you involved with them?

Karl: Not in Stoke, though obviously we knew Dave Wood who was quite into that scene. In Oxford after we split I got to know the guy who produced ‘The Dreaming Spires’ when I regularly attended gigs in Jericho.

++ And gigs! Where was the farthest place from Stoke that you got to play in? Which other gigs you remember? Any anecdotes that you could share?

Karl: I think once we got our passports out and went to Burslem. The best one for me was the one where we supported the Darling Buds. One Saturday morning my mum shouted up the stairs that there were some girls on the phone for me. I went down to take the call and it was ‘We’ve Got a Fuzzbox…’ They were due to play in Stoke and I’d written to them to ask about supporting them. In the event they’d got their supports sorted out but they were really lovely, and I was, at 16, really chuffed that they’d rung. My favorite anecdote is an exchange between Ken and a member of the Band ‘True Flies’ post a gig in town. True Flies were a bit older than us and a bit hippy, particularly their lead singer. Anyway, after the gig I’m at the bar with Ken and the guitarist from the Flies. Ken is slagging off their performance, describing them as ‘A bunch of talentless ageing hippies’. The Fly responds: ‘I’d rather be a talentless ageing hippy than an eighteen year old arrogant twat’ to which Ken beautifully ripostes: ‘I’m nineteen, actually.’

Ken: to be fair, they were rubbish.

++ If you were to do a top five of Singing Curtains history highlights, which 5 moments would you save forever?

Karl: Attempting to smoke tea when rehearsing. Someone had said it was a legal high so we brought some PG Tips bags to the studio and I spent ages unpacking then repacking a cigarette with tea. When I came to light it all the tea fell out. When eventually we lit it it tasted like s*** and had no effect. In general rehearsals were great, my abiding memory is just crying with laughter. We divvied up the time with the Sainsburys, and that was really good fun. We improvised an excellent version of ‘How do do it all do it’ and adapted Run DMC’s ‘My Adidas’ into a tribute to the then-popular antiques expert, Arthur Negus. The final gig at Katz was excellent too; a really good atmosphere.

Ken: I’d agree. Our rehearsals, if they could be called that, were just three hours of arsing around and laughing seemingly constantly. When I picture the rehearsal room in my mind, I never visualize us actually standing up or playing instruments, but dicking around. We also tried to smoke banana skins.

Nigel: I enjoyed doing the gigs… I think there were five of them.

++ So when and why did you call it a day? What happened after with you guys?

Karl: 1988 when two of us went to university. Ken was completing his third year at VIth Form and then went up to Manchester. It wasn’t practical to carry on. We all kept in touch as friends, though.

++ Are you all still in touch? What do The Singing Curtains do nowadays?

Karl: I speak to Ken every few days. I haven’t seen Mark for a decade, apart from on Facebook. Nigel went to the Royal Academy and is an artist. I’m a barrister.

Ken: I’m a solicitor.

Karl: Oh yes, it’s a real rock and roll story.

++ Okay, let’s wrap it up. But why don’t you me about any other passions you have aside from music?

Nigel: Fine slippers.

Karl: I’m quite bookish. I also really enjoy cycling.

Ken: I’m a big reader as well. In both senses.

++ Thanks so much! Anything else you’d like to add?

Karl: Just to thank you too. It only took us 22 years to get discovered! Pretty good, I’d say.


The Singing Curtains – While The Children Build Sandcastles