...and he wields the meanest guitar on this (i.e. white) side of Albert Collins... and the only Finnish singer with a convincing mastery of the English (i.e. American) language... and simply THE most prolific writer and recorder of truly original Finnish songs... (We've lost count, but he must be way past two dozen albums, he's been makin' them since 1971!) ... and a born performer, he's never offstage, the world really is his stage... a phenomenal gift of the gab... he talks, sings, plays and talks and talks pure music... and then he plays some more! We tell you, the man's a tireless dynamo... and dare we say it, a unique genius... No, we daren't, he'll be mad at us, 'cause he's modest, too!
DAVE LINDHOLM calls himself a "blues-ukko" these days, but he's been called a lot of names by other people ever since he started his professional career in his late teens in the late sixties. He's been called "a Finnish Bob Dylan" because some of his colourful early songs just might have been slightly influenced by ol' Robert. He's been called "a Finnish Hendrix" - only because he once went to see one Hendrix movie every night for a week, although he's recorded just one song where he sounds a wee bit like Jimi. He's been called an idiot, a motormouth, a rapier wit, a tender balladeer (listen to "Aino" and that string quartet), a merciless avenger (although he just lurves his guitars), a heartbreaker, a daddio, an Italian... you name it, he's IT. His Finnish nickname "Isokynä" (Great Pen) perhaps tells something about his talent with words.
A born chameleon, this Helsinki-born prodigal son has been alternating Finnish and English as his language, switching between a solo career and bands with names like Ferris Wheel, Rock'n' Roll Band, Pen Lee, Bluesounds, RunRuns, 12 Bar, White Midnight and his latest trio Canpaza Gypsys. (Not forgetting his stints with The Leningrad Cowboys and his acoustic duo with guitar master Antero Jakoila or endless jamming with anybody, be they jazz or country.)
Amazingly Dave has been quite content to rule the roost in Finland only, with occasional jaunts abroad, often incognito, alas. October 1988, however, saw him entering an Austin, Texas recording studio, renewing his acquaintance of that musical hub and its rootsy people. The result was one of his most "down home" albums, featuring his inimitable fusion of all things American, with a firm blues base, of course, and a lil' dab of what we call "cuntry" music. "José Blues" was the album, with former Bobby Bland sideman Mel Brown on keyboards, former Omar & The Howlers sticksman Wes Starr doing the laying-back percussively, former Geoff Muldaur bass-person Sarah Brown adding that Antone's pulse, up-and-coming country songbird Kimmie Rhodes and Maryann Price (who has recorded with Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks and toured with The Kinks) backing him up vocally and violin wizard Erik Hokkanen celebrating his Finnish-American heritage with some tasty licks. There's also Joe Morales blowing some mean horn and Alan Haynes stepping in to swap lead guitar parts with Dave.
The year 1989 saw Dave taking one of his many pauses that refresh, but only long enough to build a new trio repertoire on the still burning ashes of the explosive 12 Bar stuff, working under the moniker White Midnight. After hearing some of the songs, the band members were reported as having said that White Midnight could be called Cream Pistols, "because they sound like a punk version of The Cream". Our man liked the idea and decided to call the album "Creampistols". It was recorded during the summer of 1989 and released in Finland in December. It just happened to contain Dave's first hit single in years, "You Should've Known". That was a nice way to wrap up a year that gigwise culminated with November shows in U.S.S.R. and a M.A.R.S. showcase in Paris.
The South-by-Southwest 90 Music and Media Conference was a good excuse to go back to Austin, Texas. The band accepted an invitation to play a showcase at SXSW 90 as one of three European artistes booked there and also did other club dates in Austin with old friend Erik Hokkanen. After the band returned from Texas Rockadillo released the second single "Yippee / Knockin' On Heaven's Door" from the "Creampistols" album.
In April 1990 Amigo in Sweden and Witness Distribution in France released "Creampistols". In July 1990 Dave invited Alan Haynes (who played on "José Blues") from Austin, Texas to Finland to play at White Midnight's farewell gig at Dinosaurock festival. This guitar jamboree also featured Dave's old friend, the late Albert Järvinen (from Hurriganes etc.). After breaking up White Midnight Dave recorded an almost acoustic solo album "Sillalla" in Finnish. Released in late 1990, the album included two hits: his own "Tätä iloista siltaa" and the traditional "Tupaakka, viina ja villit naiset". After that Dave concentrated on acoustic solo gigs and he also played lead guitar with those pointed loonies The Leningrad Cowboys on two European tours. Leningrad Cowboys recorded a couple of old Lindholm classics, but Dave was not interested in joining The Cowboys as a permanent member in spite of promises of film roles from director Aki Kaurismäki.
In the Autum of 1991 Dave got a call from L.A. from ex-Hanoi Rocks guitar slinger Andy McCoy, who has always considered Dave an artiste with real class. In December a semi-acoustic trio consisting of Dave, Andy and the late keyboardist Nicky Hopkins (of Rolling Stones fame) played 10 shows in Finland. Three legends of three different rock generations played some Lindholm and McCoy songs as well as a selection of covers from The Stones, Dylan and so on. According to most critics it was Dave who always stole the show.
Around December 1991 a new Finnish language longplayer "Sisar" came out. Produced and arranged by Otto Donner, "Sisar" was Dave's most serious work in years. Dave reads and sings "four letters and one postcard to an imaginary sister" and apart from Dave's voice and guitar the record featured a string sextet - no bass and drums, no rock'n'roll, just beautiful music as only Mr. Lindholm can make it. And in February 1992 Dave did something his fans had been requesting for years - a retrospective tour called "Suomi kerran" ("Finland once over"). Backed by top musicians from Q Stone he played a 90-minute set of his greatest Finnish language hits. Most of the songs had never been performed live with a band, so this was something very special from a man that is always too busy to look back. Dave was finally persuaded to do it - but like it says in the title of the tour - only once. Audiences at 20 sold out shows naturally went crazy over the Great Pen Lee classics and as all the shows were recorded, a live album "Kerran" was released in June. Meanwhile Dave had been working on a special commissioned project for the Helsinki Festival. Backed by top players from the vigorously swinging Cool Sheiks and a horn section, Dave played two nights at the Festival. The show was taped for Finnish television and the wonderfully relaxed studio album "Kissatanssit" featuring the same material and musicians was released. One song from the album, called "Puhelinlasku on mun" became a big turntable hit in the last months of 1992. (Have you ever heard of anyone having a hit with a ditty entitled "The telephone bill is mine"?) This was followed by even an even bigger hit "Annan kitaran laulaa vaan" from the acoustic album "LLL" in the autumn of 1993.
While all this was happening, Dave had already started rehearsing his first permanent electric band in years. DAVE LINDHOLM & CANPAZA GYPSYS started gigging in April 1994 and the first single "Rock & Roll & Richards" was relased in June. The band played at major Finnish festivals of the Summer, including Provinssirock and Down By The Laituri. The feedback from the live shows has been extremely positive and enthusiastic. People are already claiming that he's back to the form of his innovative days in Bluesounds, meaning that he's not leaning in an R&B direction this time, but writing more compact "proper songs". And the great thing about the band is that it only takes three musicians to make it great: Dave on guitar and vocals, Frogley on drums & vocals and Pertsa Tolonen on bass & vocals. They did not need any extra musicians for the debut album either: everything on the new album is sung and played by the three band members.