David Freel, songwriter and frontman for the psychedelic San Francisco band Swell, has died at the tender age of 64. The band confirmed his death via a post on Facebook, stating that the singer had died on April 12th. As of the time of publishing, no cause of death has been revealed to the public, but the band made it clear how much they loved the lead singer.
The band celebrated the singer’s spontaneity and his good humour. They recalled the singer’s desire to create over a 14 year period, whether it was writing music or committing his thoughts to vinyl. In their statement, they said that Freel’s curiosity towards the world around him fed into his craft, making him a more rounded songwriter and artist. “David is loved and missed but never forgotten. Just play one of his songs or close your eyes to see his presence on stage. He will be there strumming his well-loved, ramshackle 1970s Takamine.”
Adding: “The admirers of Swell and David Freel will mourn his loss but celebrate his life and legacy. As David would say, live every day like it is your last and never say goodbye, but rather see you soon. Thank you.”
Swell formed in 1989, and released their debut album the following year. The band signed to Rick Rubin‘s Def American label for their second album ‘…Well?’, and continued to harness their sound for the remainder of their career. Swell also accrued a fanbase in Europe, as was evident from their appearances at Primavera Sound in Spain.
Swell’s influences were grand, ranging from Ennio Morricone scores to the early Pink Floyd records the band issued in the 1970s. The band supported Mazzy Star, and were musical peers of The Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev, which likely explains their hardened fanbase.
In their statement, Swell also highlighted the singer’s need for privacy, stating that he felt that he communicated sufficiently through his songs. The singer was determined to bring truth to the recordings, feeling that the best way to be effective in his line of work was to carry out his tunes with gusto.
See the full statement, below.