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It's a good movie. A bit brutal, but great
Here you go, guys!
Sleaze-hard-rockers show their respect for their late star
Spandex, hairspray, dirt & sleaze
This Saturday “Rest in Sleaze” will be held at Nalen. It is a gala held in the memory of Dave Lepard, the late singer of Crashdïet, who passed away three years ago. Who was he really? På stan’s Fredrik Strage tells us.
Four months after Dave Lepard’s death, his mother Lisbeth drove from Uppsala to Hard Rock Café in Stockholm. With her, she had a display case that she had made herself. The inside walls were covered with leopard fabric, an Okej-magazine-poster of her son’s band Crashdïet and the cover of their only album “Rest In Sleaze”. Behind the glass are his cowboy boots, a bottle of hairspray and a few silver rings he used to wear on his arms. Lisbeth asked to have a talk with the owner and she then explained that her son’s belongings should be set out for everyone to see along with other rock historical objects at Hard Rock Café.
- They had Joey Tempest’s glitter trousers and lots of other stuff. I told about David. “He is respected as much as some Kurt Cobain”, I said. They bought my idea. They understood quite well that I was a proud and grieving mother.
To take part in her son’s world became a way for Lisbeth to handle her grief. She came up with the annual memorial gala Rest In Sleaze where she herself gives away a scholarship for a young band (2007 Starlet Suicide was rewarded and the year after Sleazy Trash). Lisbeth even got a tattoo taken, which she never had thought she would do in the age of fifty-five. On her shoulder she picked a leopard, David’s favorite animal, and around her ankle a chain that breaks, inspired by his song”Breakin’ the chainz”. The needle did not hurt as much as she had thought.
- I’m not one of those people who get tattoos. I’m an ordinary education welfare officer. However, I wanted to have those pictures with me always.
Three years after David’s death Lisbeth parks her car near the entrance to Uppsala graveyard. It is a mild and grey winter day. She doesn’t have to button her jacket that has leopard printed collar. To get to David’s grave you need to go straight forward, and then turn right near a big tree. However, you don’t need instruction to find the right place. You don’t even have to read the engraving on the round, leopard spotted gravestone (“David Lepard, 1980-2006”) to realize who is resting there. The grave is piled with stuff: drumsticks, eyeliner pencils, a bottle of Wild Africa Cream-liqueur with leopard label, Mötley Crüe-buttons on a heart, a glittering disco ball, a bottle of hairspray, a pink plectrum, a miniature Christmas tree, a small Statue of Liberty, a skull and a plastic wrapped portrait of David bellowing on the microphone. The fans have attached their own handwritten notices with their gifts:
“I‘m on my way to the buss now, but since I’m going by I thought I would stay a while. I would just like to say that I miss you very much and think of you often. Can‘t you come back? Jessica”
“We are sitting here at your grave listening to “Lost Horizons” and thinking of you. You‘re missed one hell of a lot. You were raw. The real deal. One of a kind.”
“All Japanese fans respect you. We were so sad because we can‘t see you in Japan.”
“Rest in sleaze.”
“Die today live forever.”
Lisbeth doesn’t like the last phrase which a lot of David’s admirers use in their farewells. In her opinion, it gives a far too optimistic picture of death. At the same time, she understands how the fans feel in front of their idol.
- I remember when Brian Jones from Rolling Stones drowned. He was so sweet. I was terribly sad about it. To know that people are thinking about David is a consolation, but I would rather have him back of course.
Sleaze metal, a sloppy and messy subgenre in 80’s hard rock, was born again in the beginning of the 21st century. It had partly something to do with Neil Straus’ successful Mötley Crüe-biography “The Dirt”, partly with some of the old bands regrouping and partly because of new talents like Crashdïet. In the fall 2005, they released their debut album “Rest In Sleaze”. Singles “Riot in everyone” and “Breakin’ the chainz” were frequently played on the radio, especially the latter which was also heard on an advertisement for mobile operator 3 in which Crashdïet looked so sleazily corrupt that many thought they were hired actors. The singer David called himself as Dave Lepard and he was the front figure of the band: a 25-year-old who seemed to consist of bigheaded charm, manic creativity and strongly backcombed blonde hair.
- David’s concept for the band was clear from the start, bass player Peter London remembers. It had to be sleaze. We loved Guns N’ Roses. He had taken the name Crashdïet from one of their songs.
Crashdïet longed for Guns N’ Roses’ delayed album “Chinese Democracy” and discussed whether it would ever be released or not. Most of the fans had given up hope.
- David was more optimistic, says Peter. Every time they set a new release date we others would only sigh but he would be shouting: ”Yay! It‘s coming now!”
The Crashdïet that started to play together in January 2003 was the second line-up of the band. The first line-up had slit up a month before when the other members either left the band or David kicked them out, depends on whom you are asking. His opinion was that the others weren’t involved enough, or didn’t look good enough wearing eyeliner, lipstick and leopard tights. However, his new friend Peter London did and was a blond, charming clone of himself. The other members, drummer Eric Young and guitarist Martin Sweet, David sleazed up by making them use make-up, lose weight and wear tights over spandex trousers. The look gave immediate results.
- One of my friends had an impression of Crashdïet when they were sitting outside Systembolaget at Folkungagatan, recalls an A&R-man Anders Johansson who worked at Stockholm Records. Many hard rockers hang out there because Estrad musik is right next to it and Kelly’s across the street. My friend thought that they looked fantastic and asked if they played in a band. They tossed their hair and said arrogantly: ”What? Of course we play in a band”.
Stockholm Records signed Crashdiet up and saw that David and Martin composed even better and better hits. The only thing that was slowing their breakthrough was the band’s destructive partying.
- We were boozing all the damn time. We were drunk at the meetings. We missed important gigs and because we didn’t have the time to recover, we sounded horrible live, says Peter London.
When the drunken Crashdïet played at Rookiefestivalen in Hultsfred Martin pulled out David’s guitar plug because he played in the wrong key. David threw his guitar to the audience hitting a person in the head and fell off the stage himself. Their record company criticized them after an as disastrous gig at the Access All Areas-festival in Stockholm.
- “For God’s sake guys, take it easy”, I said to them, Anders Johansson recalls. I had certainly hoped for a real sleaze band, especially after having worked with A-teens for several years. However, Crashdïet didn’t seem to understand that the “sex, drugs ‘n‘ roll”-thing was an act, even for Mötley Crüe.
- We loved “The Dirt”, a book about Mötley, but we didn’t admit it because it was so full of clichés, says Peter London. Journalists asked if we used “The Dirt” as a handbook when we started the band. “No”, I said.” We will write our own disgusting book.”
Crashdïet was not inspired only by multi-million selling sleaze like Guns N’ Roses and Mötley Crüe. They admired also GG Allin, an American punk legend, who rolled in bodily secretions, hit his fans and was generally repulsive. Dave Lepard tattooed GG Allin’s motto “scumfuck” on his knuckles. A punk-friend Gotland-David, with whom he shared an apartment in Uppsala built a tattoo machine of a pen, a needle and his grandfather’s old shaver.
- David wanted me to tattoo “GG Allin” on his foot so many times that his skin got black. I wrote it fifteen times before I got tired. We liked GG Allin very, very much, says Gotland-David.
Dave Lepard made many tattoos with the homemade tattoo machine. On the inside of his wrist, he wrote “ELITE”. It was the name of a loosely assembled group of punk-bohemians. The elite’s unofficial leader was Onkel, a dreadlocked punk rocker, who was known in the 90’s as Bajsman at Swedish music festivals. Dave Lepard got in contact with him when he was a teenager and got a bit of fame as Bajsman’s sidekick Leopardman. His friends gave him the nickname because he ran around Hultsfred camping wearing a leopard printed raincoat and because he lived in a band rehearsal room known as Lepra.
- Lepra was in a concrete cellar underneath Ekeby School in Uppsala, says David’s schoolmate Erik Danielsson, nowadays the singer of the black metal band Watain.
- David was an unbelievably skilled musician. He was also very emotional, an explosion of feelings, which sometimes made it a bit tiring to be around him. After a while, he started to look for people who were as extreme as he was. It was interesting to meet them. They were involved with the worst punk rock clichés you can think of.
Inspired by GG Allin’s interest in secretions like some kind of Communion to serve to the public, made Elite to try and shock people even if there was no one to see it. It was popular to joke about Nazism and homosexuality.
- We lived together in Gottsunda, Gotland-David remembers. There were tuff immigrant gangs in the area. David would walk by them wearing heavy make-up and with his great blonde hair and would holler “Sieg heil, guys!” He got beat up many times. He loved to be seen and the biggest, the best and the worst. At the same time he would get really mad if someone came by and said ”Wasn’t it you I saw naked at the English Park (Uppsala)”? He was an exhibitionist who hated it when people stared at him. Dave Lepard was very thorough on separating his acquaintances. That was why Crashdïet wasn’t to meet Elite in Gothenburg or his family in Uppsala. Peter London was the only one in the band that was involved in the punk stuff. It was a way to strengthen their friendship.
- We weren’t gay and we weren’t Nazis. We were everything that we weren’t supposed to be, says Peter London.
In the fall of 2005, Dave had become a real rock star. At the same time he was singing “Tikket” and how much he hated fame: “I can‘t stand to be in the spotlight, don‘t like it, never have/The mirror reflecting the street light, in the gutter that‘s where I am.” He was uneasy about having let down the extreme right’s point of view and his punk-friends for writing commercial music even though the Elite said that they were proud of him because he was on MTV.
Since a teenager, Dave had suffered from sleeping difficulties. He took out most of his frustration on the others in Crashdïet. Right after New Year’s Eve the other band member notified him that they would leave the band if he didn’t seek help.
- I loved David like a brother, but it wasn’t fun to play with him anymore, says Peter London. He was manipulative, he said mean things and demanded me to play by his rules.
The record company hoped that Dave would pull himself together because Crashdïet had been booked to an important music fair South By Southwest in Texas. He didn’t answer. Instead, he told his friends in Uppsala that he had fired the others and was going to put together a new band, just as he had done four years earlier. Then he isolated himself in an apartment in Gottsunda. He mailed a new song to the tour manager on January 10. After that, it became silent.
David disappeared at times and many thought that he was paying a visit to a punk gang in Gothenburg. They had heard nothing either. In the end, David’s big sister asked a friend with a key to go check on him. Late in the evening on the January 19, they found his body.
- I don’t want to say how he killed himself, says Lisbeth. It might inspire someone. I’m trying to understand, I have talked with everyone that was in touch with him at the end, but… no one knows why he did it. I believe it was a mistake. He was malicious towards the boys in the band. He thought like a child: “I‘m going to run away so they can stand there and cry!” He forgot that you can’t hear cry after you have taken your life.
A handwritten note was found in the apartment: “Why should I live when no one else fucking does?” Peter London thinks that David was so dramatic, chaotic and impulsive that he felt like no one lived to the fullest. David’s big sister Felicia agrees.
- He thought that we didn’t live our lives. He saw us as machines that work hard from nine to five. He told mom: ”Damn it, you should quit your job and just paint and drink wine!”
- David was too big, says Erik Danielsson. His ego didn’t have room in this world. It’s a cliché to say so about late rock stars, but it fits him so well. His death came as a chock, but I wasn’t surprised that he had taken his own life. On the other hand, I would not have been surprised if he had blown up a daycare or done something else.
Six moths after David’s death, Guns N’ Roses performed at Globen. For Lisbeth, who had taken thirteen-year-old David to their show at Stadion in 1993, it was wistful - as it was for Peter who saw his favorite band for the first time.
- I have never felt David’s spiritual presence as strong as during the concert, he says. It felt as if he was standing next to me. I still miss him. Sometimes it hurts a lot, like when “Chinese Democracy” was finally released. David was the only one who believed that the album would ever be released - and he didn’t get to hear it.
Rest In Sleaze
Crashdïet Rest In Sleaze Tour 2005 - DVD
Knokk 'Em Down
Riot In Everyone
Breakin' The Chainz
Appearance on finnish television in 2005 (VHS)
Crashdïet - logo sticker
4 Crashdïet - pins
signed promo photo (2007)
glam_junkie wrote:the reason I originally asked the question is becasue I was thinking of gettng the logo as a tattoo, but wanted to know what the symbol represented.
I got the logo tattooed a few months ago.
For me it's a reminder of Dave, since he drew it himself. He and the band meaned/means a lot to me, personally...
I think that's a good enough reason to tattoo the logo
Here ya go:
What are your tricks?
On weekdays Peter London plays bass in a sleazeband Crashdïet, which recently released an album. As a reporter for a day he chose to meet his great source of inspiration – entertainer Thore Skogman, whose name he has tattooed on his left arm.
Peter: How is your normal day like?
Thore: Quite calm because I have broken my leg and had some problem with cardiac insufficiency and such. I have had an awfully hard tempo under my career, so maybe that is what I’m paying for now.
Peter: You have a magnificent career as a singer, composer, writer, actor and so on.
Thore: Yes, I’ve had time to do a lot in my days. I’m extremely thankful that I have had that kind of luck. A normal working man from Hallstahammar who worked in a bolt factory office.
Peter: Then you came in for else?
Thore: Yes, then I started to write songs. There had been a time(?) in a magazine and that suddenly flourished. I saw my opportunity and took it.
Peter: What qualities do you have that led you to that?
Thore: I don’t know, but I think I have it easy to interact with people and to be an open person. That’s important.
Peter: Of course, but you have to have an extreme talent also?
Thore: Yes, it probably is so, that you have a talent that you really didn’t know before it flourished. I had learned to play a little accordion, harmonica and guitar but otherwise I was bad at playing instruments. But when I started to write songs, I was stubborn. I sent them everywhere and often got them back with “thanks for showing interest”. Suddenly it flicked.
Peter: I would like to talk a bit about creativity.
Thore: Then you have come to the right subject, since I am a creative person.
Peter: Phenomenal creativity interests me as much as it can and you seem you’ve had a pretty good flow over years.
Thore: That I’ve had and also an extremely understanding wife who understood how economically well we could do with all that travelling as an artist. We were two working people from Hallstahammar and so it happened that we step by step were able to move to Stockholm and buy a house and change the house and move to Karlstd and build a new house there. In fact I’m unbelievably privileged.
Peter: Have you used many tricks for creativity?
Thore: No, I’m a creative person myself. I had red hair and gaps between my teeth back then. Maybe it belongs to creativity. Maybe red haired people are more creative, I don’t know. I don’t have red hair anymore, it’s grey now. But creativity is still in me even though I don’t work the same way I did before. I don’t want to lose that.
Peter: Which of your songs are you most proud of?
Thore: That’s firstly a mixture. I’ve become known about that tjosanhejsangubben many times and it’s my own fault and something I don’t want to be without too, but after that I’ve sung a bit softer songs also, for example Tio tusen röda rosor (Ten thousand red roses) and Ensam jag är (Lonely I am). They are in a whole other style but fit well if you mix them sensibly.
Peter: But are there any songs that mean especially lot to you?
Thore: Well, then it would be a sentimental song. It wasn’t easy to move to Stockholm as Hallstahammarian, to change surroundings completely and so I think that a song like Ensam jag är. (Sings “Ensam jag är, tankarna gå, hemåt det bär, ensam jag är, ensam jag är, tankarna gå, hemåt det bär, ensam jag är…”)
Crashdïet will play tonight at Tivoli in Helsinborg, they have just released their second album The Unattractive Revolution.
I understand that the funniest bit was the tjosanhejsangubben?
Haha, a Swede thing that we others don't get...