Rolling With The Blue Van

Artist: The Blue Van
Published: 2005-03-11

It's tough these days for kids to decide what they're going to do with the rest of their lives - become an accountant, a doctor, a hobo. The members of The Blue Van never had that problem. Since they were 12-years-old they knew they wanted to rock. While many people may have THOUGHT they wanted to rock as prepubescents, The Blue Van KNEW it, because that's when they formed - when they were 12-years-old.

Now here they are, a decade later, and they're still rocking. No longer sequestered to their grandmothers' basements in Denmark, The Blue Van have bust out and are proceeding to rock the entire world. Prone to Doors-like extended jams on stage, the quartet pulls their sound directly from the decade that offered the best music. Inspired not by a single '60s band but rather the entire period itself, The Blue Van is stuck in a time-warp, and they like it that way.

"We don't look to any particular band - it's because we love all '60s music. So we gather inspiration from all these old acts, not only just the pop-rock bands from the '60s, but also the bluesy stuff and the soul stuff," explains lead singer and guitarist Steffen Westmark. "We feel it's something that just came natural."

Whatever the recipe, TBV's '60s blend makes for explosive blues-rock with a secret ingredient that like-minded bands lack: the Hammond organ. "It's heavy to carry around, but it's something that's so important to our sound. It's not like a background instrumentÖIt's actually fulfilling the job of a lead guitar. Sometimes people are surprised because it has such a massive sound. So yeah, people dig it."

People in Denmark have been lining-up to buy TBV's organ-soaked debut "The Art of Rolling" since its February release, with the record becoming available here April 5th. When asked what the North American outlook for the LP is, the fear the Notorious American Market inflicts can be heard in Westmark's voice. He groans before saying: "I have no idea, but hopefully good. We've got a lot of good responses to it, so hopefully people will pick up on it."

It's not like The Blue Van haven't paid their dues on this side of the Atlantic. The quartet uprooted and lived in New York City, "the capital of Rock 'n' Roll" as Westmark calls it, "for four months last year, just to try to build up a name. And now we're trying to build up a name all around America." Building up a name all around America includes a 14-date March tour, which saw TBV play their first Canadian shows at CMW.

Unfortunately, there are no plans to return to the Great White North quite yet. "The thing is, the album is being released all over the world. So we have to go to England in April, and then back to Europe to do festivals in the summer, and then maybe Asia and Australia. It's going to be a busy year. But I wouldn't mind playing more in Canada."

On top of touring, Westmark, S¯ren Christensen (keys), Allan Villadsen (bass), and Per J¯rgensen (drums) plan to squeeze in work on a new album this year. Constantly pumping out material, they've already got their second record all lined-up. "There's gonna be - in my opinion anyway - a lot more souly feel to some of the songs. And some more blues of course. We're gonna have a couple of the good pop songs. It's more of the same stuff, just even better."

When not jet-setting, Westmark is sure he'll be in Denmark until he croaks, but admits a soft spot for NYC. "The first time we went to New York, it was like walking into a movie set or something, it was really hard to cope. It was so strange to be in New York all of the suddenÖOf course, it really is the city that never sleeps. We've really grown to love New York so much."

It probably also helps that TBV sold-out the Mercury Lounge last time they were 'round those parts. And of course, NYC is the place where childhood dreams come true. "We met one of our big heroes Ian McLagan of The Small Faces and The Faces," Westmark exclaims excitedly. "We met him [in New York last year]. So that was really very exciting. We got our picture taken with him and everything. We were like four little schoolboys, blushing and everything."

With countless shows and their debut LP under their belts, The Blue Van is ready for things to takeoff. Fame and fortune on the horizon, Westmark's head remains securely bolted onto his shoulders: "We've been playing for so long now, and we've had our ups and downs, and dreams that have been crushed. So now we just take it one day at a time. And if something good happens that's just good, and if something bad happens, that's ok too."

For more on The Blue Van visit: www.thebluevan.com.

Writer: Jaclyn Arndt




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