Sweetfist
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Sweetfist

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"Musical Potpourri: Sweetfist"


Issue date: 5/22/06 Section: Arts
Desi Metta

Outside in a treacherous downpour disgruntled people huddled in corners or under overhangs. If they had only taken off their raincoats and stepped inside the warm and welcoming Middle East Downstairs this past Friday May 12th, 2006 they might have cheered up. The downstairs was pumping and the people who ventured through the storm were rewarded with a blissful musical performance by the band Sweetfist. From Salem, Sweetfist's unique style, equal parts folk, rock, and alternative mystified the audience and whether they were rocking on their tip- toes or spinning free, everyone was affected by the music that infiltrated our souls.

I caught the tail end of a Sweetfist show a few months back when I snuck in a door left open by cigarette smokers: what I stepped into surprised me - it was like an underground club; a secret society - a musical movement: devoted fans singing the words of this music that has no real description, their style is something too hard to define. On the CD website www.cdbaby.com I found what has put into words a clear idea of what this band is, "It's difficult to explain precisely, the Sweetfist sound. It has to be experienced. But, just for the hell of it, imagine Metallica, Marley and Matthews in a musical blender" After sneaking in that night and getting a taste of Sweetfist I knew I had to see a full length show - and stat.

I was impressed that a band like Sweetfist was around this area. I'm used to going to shows that end with me climbing out of the dark hole of a dank club smelling of punk-funk with a heavy ache in my heart from the mood set by the emo or screamo music of local bands, watching the herds of boys and girls with their black eyeliner running, but that is not Sweetfist's style by any stretch of the imagination! After Friday's show I had music in my heart and I was dancing for the rest of the evening. The entire audience was smiling by the end of their set, people were hugging one and other, giving their friends "Cheers" and yelling "Fist" in response to lead singer Dan's "Sweet". The crowd was yelling for an encore long after the band left the stage. "Sweet!"…"Fist!" is all I heard.

Sweetfist is extremely important to the music world today. It is something new, crisp and different than what is on the radio or filling up the club scenes in Boston and Cambridge. Sweetfist makes you feel like you're in another place at another time, where the sun is shining and the air is warm and clean, even in the cold rain. The lead singer Dan Carlson's voice captures a genuine urgency he is also a guitar playing dancer who sets the mood for the audience, with Chris Fuller on guitars, Dave Gale on Bass and Dave Share on drums these guys make up the quartet which formed in 2003

This Friday was their full-length album release for Then is Now, which consists of 11 songs that each have their own personality, message, and style. The sick drum beats in the song "Phat Chance" are accompanied by what sounds like organic free styled lyrics by Carlson. This was one of the crowd's favorites and the first song of the debut CD. The song "Don't Stop" makes you want to do just that - don't stop dancing. Dan's voice takes on a reggae feel when he sings about "spitting bullets" and "mullets!" and the guitar riffs that open the song are impeccable.

"Cigarette" describes the struggles of life with low cash funds, "Trying to live life with no cigarette money" and it has a feel similar to some Sublime tunes. The band slowed it down with "Liar" a poignant song of love and loneliness, which only enhances their depth as a band, like their song "Beyond" a gentle and melodic love tune.

Sweetfist is a band that doesn't adhere to any specific genre, whose message goes in more than one direction: at times optimistic and dance ready; and at other times reflective and urgently poignant.


To support and check out the regional band Sweetfist check their website www.sweetfist.com where you can find a link to listen to some of their tunes or purchase their CD for the low price of 12.97, They are on Myspace.com as well.
- the Mass Media


"Sweetfist"

"This Salem-based four piece has set out to change the face of rock with a blend of rock, reggae, and jam band. Funky and fresh...." - The Boston Globe


Discography

2008 Demos
2006 Then is Now - 11 Songs
2004 Demos

Photos

Bio

If you want to know exactly how the band met and formed, skip to the last section. There you’ll read about the early years, 2002-2007. They were great years and we learned a lot, but the real story is where the band is now.

Sweetfist Right Now

In December of 2007 Sweetfist welcomed new drummer John Drislane into the band. John brought a raw edge to the sound that reminded the guys of the early days. They felt refreshed and re-charged. The band had come full circle. After relentlessly gigging for nearly four years and toying with various genres and styles, the band was back where they had started, playing rock.

The new Sweetfist immediately started writing new music and planning a return to the scene. The band hit their stride producing songs that were concise and catchy. By April 2008, as the band began to gig again, they managed to self record and release a three song demo. Want to Know, Underwater, and Wishful Ways have quickly become fan favorites as evidenced by the utter mayhem that occurs when the songs are played live.

Sweetfist has been around the block, they know this is a tough business but they are not discouraged. They've had some amazing experiences in the five years they've been together and are thankful for all of it. They've gone from playing empty bars to drawing 150 fisters per show and have done it the old fashioned way, one fan at a time.

"When we're old men we want to look back at songs we can be proud of, that's pretty much all we care about."

-Sweetfist

"This Salem-based four piece has set out to change the face of rock. Funky and fresh."

-The Boston Globe Sidekick

The Early Years (2002-2007)

The seeds of Sweetfist were first planted in early 2002 in Grand Rapids, MI. Singer/guitarist Dan Carlson was introduced to guitarist Chris Fuller by a mutual friend who thought they’re respective styles would compliment each other. After hearing each others work, both Dan and Chris agreed with their friend. They began to write songs and search for a rhythm section. Little did they know that search would take years, not to mention countless hours of work, and ultimately take them 850 miles east to Boston.

By May of 2003 the songwriting duo decided their fortunes lay east in Dan’s hometown of Boston where Carlson already knew a perfect bass player for the job. When they arrived in Boston they immediately set up a meeting with bassist and Berklee student Dave Gale. Dave had heard some demos from the duo and had already made up his mind, he wanted in. The three set off to find a drummer. Less than two months later the trio was introduced to Peabody, MA drum guru Dave Share. The four formed the band Moneyshot which eventually became Sweetfist.

Sweetfist hit the music scene running due to the almost two year songwriting head start by Dan and Chris. By late 2003, Moneyshot (soon to be known as Sweetfist) was quickly becoming a household name in the North Shore music scene. Over the next few years, they would play hundreds of New England shows everywhere from Vermont to New York to Boston. During this time they achieved a great deal as a band. They won the 2003 WAAF Battle of the Bands. They placed 7th of 160 at the 2004 Emergenza U.S. Finals. In 2006 they released a self produced, self financed studio album entitled Then is Now which can today be found on itunes. They built a solid and dedicated following drawing 150 people regularly.

By 2007, after the nostalgia of their early successes had worn off and they had experienced nearly four years of relentless gigging, Sweetfist was unsure what to do next. They wrote some new material and even mustered up enough cash to record it at a semi-pro studio. In the end they were unsatified with the result. Musically they had veered off course. After four years of gigging Sweetfist was still struggling to figure out exactly what genre they fit into. A local fanzine writer once described them as “schizophrenic”. It was around this time that Dave Share decided to leave the band. He had been a great friend and a loyal bandmate but he felt the need to move on. He can now be found with Gloucester, MA based band Mile 21.

Share’s departure might of sunk a lesser band, but not the fist. They saw this moment as an opportunity. With four years of gigging experience to their backs they knew what had to be done. "We had to ROCK at all times and to do so we needed a drummer who loved rock music."