2009 looks like a golden year for Sweden's most popular rock'n'roll band,
The Refreshments. In June, July and August they celebrate their 20th
anniversary with a national tour followed by a major career retrospective
CD/DVD box in the autumn, but now here's the new album "A Band's Gotta
Do What A Band's Gotta Do". "Keep Movin' On" is the rocker picked for the
Two decades have passed since a bunch of kids from Gävle decided to
walk in the footsteps of their Rockpile heroes and put all their bets on basic
three-chord rock. It was a wise decision. Twelve consecutive gold albums,
one platinum and more than half a million albums sold proves it.
The list above includes the new album "A Band's Gotta Do What A Band's Gotta Do",
which has been certified gold on pre-order. Once again the band
delivers. "A Band's Gotta Do What A Band's Gotta Do" is new convincing proof
that The Refreshments have created their own unique sound. A mix of high-
energy rock'n'roll, melodic pop and bittersweet country boogie.
The band has remained the same for years: Joakim Arnell (bass/vocals),
Johan Blohm (piano/vocals), Micke Finell (sax/vocals/guitar), Mats Forsberg
(drums) and Robin Olsson (guitar/vocals), but something has happened since
their 2007 studio album "24/7". The sound is sharper and more direct. It's
the sound of a group that rocks harder than ever, which probably is a natural
progression for a band whose motto is: "It's Gotta be Both Rock'n'Roll".
"We don't want to change our style, switch instruments or make any other
changes just for the sake of it. The only thing we try to do with every new
album is to write the best songs as possible and make them rock as much as
we can", Joakim Arnell says.
As the most prolific songwriter in the band, Arnell is behind 11 of the
album's 14 songs. "I started thinking about the 20th anniversary and the time
that's passed since we started the band in the autumn of 1989. After a while
I had the lyrics to "A Band's Gotta Do What A Band's Gotta Do". It became a
summary of what we've done so far."
The Refreshments have always treasured their rock'n'oll heroes. In
"Rock'n'Roll Heaven" some of the giants are looking down from a heaven
where nobody dies: Elvis, Hank Williams, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran and so
on. "I heard they were opening a new restaurant in Stockholm with the
concept taken from Mel's Diner - the restaurant in "American Graffiti" - and
instantly knew that it was the perfect subject for a song. That it turned out to
be a Buddy Holly pastiche was logical, I guess."
The band's pianist and vocalist Johan Blohm is one of Sweden's best piano
players in the country boogie tradition of Jerry Lee Lewis. Was it with him in
mind Arnell wrote the steady rolling "Just Like Jerry Lee" -including the lyrics
"say look at me, I can play just like Jerry Lee"? "No", Arnell smiles, "Johan is
aware of the similarities in their respective styles and is cautious of not
coming to close to the original. There are a lot of Jerry Lee wannabes out
there, and they really try to imitate him down to the last detail -they're just
as extremely dedicated to their calling as the Elvis impersonators. I figured
that was quite a good subject for a song."
Speaking of the Killer, Arnell has actually become part of the extended
klan. Two years ago he met Annie Marie Dolan, daughter of
Jerry Lee's younger sister Linda Gail Lewis. "She Makes Me Cool" describes a
guy who's only hip factor is his girl. "Well I never was one of the boys/I was
just a weird dressed kid making noise/when the guys hit the town I stayed
in/playing old records again and again". Self-biographical? "To some extent,
yes. When I was young I guess I was the typical musical nerd who hung
around in record stores, listening to records and checking out who was
playing what on the album sleeves".
If you share that kind of enthusiasm, you might want to know that the
album's only cover, "I Still Love You", is written by the former NRBQ guitarist
Al Anderson. Also worth noting is that sax player Micke Finell has co-written
two tracks - "Hard Luck Jim" with Gary Primich and "Taking A Chance" with
Brian Hodgson and Mike Berry.
A lot of things have changed these last 20 years. As "A Band's Gotta Do What
A Band's Gotta Do" proves, The Refreshment's job is the same as ever.
Write a good song. Deliver it with passion and conviction. Record a killer
album. Go out on the road and make the clubs rock. Collect a gold album.
If you wonder where The Refreshments are heading, look no further than
the new single, "Keep Movin' On" - a reassuring point of direction from the
band who still are unsurpassed in doing what they once set out to do.
01. A Band's Gotta Do What A Band's Gotta Do
02. I Still Love You
03. Keep Movin' On
04. Cadillac Rock
05. Takin' A Chance
06. He's Doing Well
07. Rock'n'Roll Heaven
08. Men Among Men
09. Forever Yours
10. She Makes Me Cool
11. Just Like Jerry Lee
12. Day By Day
13. Hard Luck Jim
14. High On You
A Band's Gotta Do What A Band's Gotta Do