In 2001 Jore and Davy got to know each other thanks to Donovan and the
internet. They both were members of an online Donovan group where Davy
started to advertise his (and his friend Tom Grierson's) new Donovan
magazine Get Thy Bearings. Jore bought one issue and was rather surprised
to find it critisized Donovan more than it praised him. One sentence stayed
in Jore's mind: "I have a guitar and an 8 - track tape recorder - and if
Donovan cares to knock on my door I'll take a fortnight off work and we'll
produce an album he can sell on his website with pride."
This made Jore write to the magazine. A fan magazine?? Jore, too,
had an 8 track tape recorder himself, so when he wrote his reply to Davy he
also asked about what kind of music he was doing? Soon they were exchanging
music and they both liked what they heard. Davy and Tom Grierson had their
own band called Thirteen Down and Jore was a member of the tj band with
Tuomas Laitila (left).
The tj band played cover versions by other artists and also some of
Jore's instrumental melodies. Davy's lyrical skills were obvious. So Jore
decided to ask Davy if he could write lyrics to some of his tunes. Davy's
answer was: "I was just going to ask if I may write lyrics to these tunes of
yours which are crying out for words". The first one was a song called "Tell
Me I'm The One" and that was the start of a long series of Heikkilä-McGowan
songs - in fact there are now over 100.
At first the plan was to use Davy as a lyricist for the tj
bands needs. The
tj band was having a bit of a break and new songs with new lyrics were
supposed to give an extra kick to the band's life. But because Davy seemed
to be a real nice guy Jore asked him to visit Finland, to play some music
and have fun. And in the summer of 2003 Davy did.
The first sessions in 2003 were mostly just about getting to know
each other but very soon Davy and Jore felt how easy it was to play together.
They started with the music they both knew very well, Donovan cover
versions. Both play fingerpicking guitar style and know some mandolin
chords, too. So it soon became obvious that Davy and Jore should form their
own duo which they named as The Kvester Melkk Quintet.
(Read more on their
own site here.)
This band has always focused on a folky type of music.
There is "a 2 CD bootleg" (not available) from those sessions where
the first Donovan covers can be found, also some blues songs by Davy and the
first times when all 3 played together as "Davy with the tj band". Tarja
Niittumäki, a "regular guest" on all the tj band's earlier albums, also
features there. (left)
Davy is quite
a master on blues harp, kazoo and washboard. He wanted to do jugband music -
Tuomas and Jore fell in love with it right away. Tuomas's
tinkling saloon piano and Davy's jugblowing were the key elements to the
jugband sound on their albums. Davy not only gave the tj band back their
life but also joined them (or did the tj band join Davy??), so The TJD
Band was born. Under that name the boys did an album called
Jukebox in 2004 during Davy's next visit to Finland. 2004 was a very
productive year: the Kvester Melkk Quintet made 3 different albums and
Davy made also a solo album.
Before Davy's 2005 visit Jore had managed to get a pile of 4CD jewel
case boxes (he only needed 8 but got 25...) so he needed to fill those
boxes. The year before they had made a lot of material and there was no
reason to think that 2005 would be any different. And the plan worked. They
actually got 86 tracks recorded for a 4CD box set called Cinnamon Salami.
But should the name remain the TJD Band? Come on! Could there be sillier
name? The box was full of tracks by Davy Mc Gowan as a solo artist, The
Kvester Melkk Quintet and some by the tj band and of course The TJD Band
, too, but also by Tarja and even Jore – all mixed together. A real
Various Artists! Jore came up with a few suggestions for band names and the
Mescaline Smugglers proved to be the best. Originally that name was planned
only to use on the 4CD Cinnamon Salami collection set - but they still haven't changed
The Kvester Melkk Quintet also continued to prosper. Since then the
policy has been more or less that if the music is blues, jugband or rock it
goes to the Mescaline Smugglers CD, if it's folk it goes to the Kvester
Melkk Quintet CD.
Davy was invited back to Finland three times in 2006 - in March, June
and October. Each visit produced a new album, in March even two:
Songs for a Winter's Night and
Lost in the Music. "Lost" contained some "serious"
jugband tracks and more blues material than usual, "Winter's Night" was
somewhat experiental and had its fair share of humour. "Winter's Night"
also featured a new instrument, a giant lute-like guitar handmade by Jore.
June brought the album
Strange People and Black Sausage (something to
do with Jore's 50th birthday party...). This time the material started
to show some heavier influences - but jugband was still there.
Koskenkorvapuusti (a funny Finnish wordplay made by Davy!) from October of
that same year brought some suprises: Tarja as a guest sang two of her own
compositions and Davy sang in Finnish for the first time! Every album since
Jugband Jukebox has had at least one song sung in the Finnish language
(okey, except "Strange People" ..or "Songs For a Winter's Night") but this time there were three of them!
Their next album called
Take ´em off! from April 2007 keeps the
story rolling. Some may think this is the best album from the group. Of course that is the case
if he/she has not heard the album
"Raking the Mules"... from July to October, 2007.
So far the band had been able to bring out 3 or even 4 cd's a year but in 2007 it was possible to do only two because of
the water damage in Jore's apartment. First tracks for "Harlequinesque" were done in September
2007 but the whole album was not ready until 2008.
Here is how Colleen sees the Mescaliners.
The water damage didn't ruin anything, but the instruments and all the studio equipment had to be evacuated for many months.
But at last - in April 2008 - Harlequinesque was ready. It's a totally different Mescaliners, it's psychedelic!
Only a month before Davy's visit in July he had no idea at all what to play next, when suddenly his muse found him again and started
whispering track after track into his ear. Davy wrote down what he could and got about 100 new songs done.
It was clear the next album would be a double. 36 tracks found their way onto the final release called Too Black Bad
but Davy had still to come
to Finland again in October, not to make any new tracks but to help Jore with the mixing so that everyone could be happy with the results.
Oh yes! There is another site where you can listen some tracks and
made your comments which The Mescaline Smugglers would love to read: