Swell’s David Freel Has Died

Swell’s David Freel Has Died

Swell’s David Freel has died. Per a statement on the band’s official Facebook page, Freel passed away last week on April 12.

Freel started the band Swell in 1989 with drummer Sean Kirkpatrick in San Francisco, and they released their self-titled debut album through Freel’s own pSychoSpecificMusic label the following year, which they recorded with John Dettman and Monte Vallier. Freel and Kirkpatrick headed up the band throughout the ’90s, releasing a number of albums — including 1991’s …Well?, 1994’s 41, and 1997’s Too Many Days Without Thinking — through the ’00s. Swell’s last album was 2008’s South Of The Rain And Snow. Freel continued to put out music on his own through his label after moving to Oregon.

“In the years after Swell’s touring schedule, David found a home and a family in Oregon,” the statement reads. “For 14 years, he continued to create; whether that be music or Vinyl On Demand, he always had a project at hand. David led with spontaneous curiosity and an appreciation for the world around him, always learning more, he even learned how to surf.”

Here’s his family’s full statement:

It is with heavy hearts that we share the passing of Swell’s David Freel, in Oregon City at 2:10 A.M on April 12, 2022.

In the years after Swell’s touring schedule, David found a home and a family in Oregon. For 14 years, he continued to create; whether that be music or Vinyl On Demand, he always had a project at hand. David led with spontaneous curiosity and an appreciation for the world around him, always learning more, he even learned how to surf. His final released project ¡¡ GREASY !! of Be My Weapon was an example of his eccentric genius as a musician.

At age 56, he found love, bought a home, and settled down with Jen. To his Portland family, David was a gentle, patient, and humorous friend, Uncle, and partner. After years of travel and struggle, he had become the man he had always wanted to be in Oregon. 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.

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.

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