Duke Erikson performing live
|Birth name||Douglas Elwin Erickson|
|Born||January 15, 1951|
|Origin||Lyons, Nebraska, U.S.|
|Occupations||Musician, songwriter, record producer, remixer|
|Instruments||Guitar, Keyboards, Bass guitar|
Douglas Elwin Erikson (born January 15, 1951, in Nebraska), better known as Duke Erikson, is an American songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and founder member of the alternative rock band Garbage, which has sold more than 17 million albums worldwide. Before launching Garbage, Erikson was a founding member of the popular Midwestern bands Spooner and Fire Town.
Duke Erikson was born in Lyons, a small rural community in Nebraska. His first musical instrument was the piano, and his second was the guitar. At the age of 16 he joined his first band, The British, which was inspired by his passion for the British beat movement. The band performed at local dances and high-school hops, often publicizing their appearances with posters announcing that “The British Are Coming”. When Erikson completed his first scholastic cycle, he began studying the history of art at Wayne State College in Nebraska, where he taught drawing for “a couple of semesters”. During this period he also worked as a carpenter and occasional truck driver.
Erikson formed the rock band Spooner in 1974 with two fellow musicians in Madison, Wisconsin. Erikson sang lead vocals, played keyboards and guitar, and became the band’s principal songwriter, his compositions being described as “strangely seductive” in the press. Spooner became a quartet when Butch Vig joined them on drums. Spooner released two well-received albums, Every Corner Dance and The Wildest Dreams, and toured across the Midwest. Rolling Stone magazine called their debut album “a convincing collection of sparkling pop music”, to which “Erikson’s edgy, poetic slice-of-small-town-life lyrics add a genuine, idiosyncratic touch”.
In 1983, Erikson helped Vig and Steve Marker establish Smart Studios in Madison, where he helped to design the studio interior. and where he has carried out engineering, production and remixing work for a series of local and international rock artists.
In 1986, Erikson collaborated again with Vig to form the garage-rock band Fire Town, in which he played guitar and contributed vocals. The band released two albums, In the Heart of the Heart Country and The Good Life, the latter on Atlantic Records. Rolling Stone praised their debut as “a striking, thoughtful album” with “killer harmonies”.
While Fire Town had disbanded by 1989, Spooner had an unexpected late resurgence: their single "Mean Old World" became a hit, prompting them to re-form, make a new album – The Fugitive Dance – and embark on a tour before they disbanded in 1993.
1994 to the present
In addition to co-writing the band’s songs on their five albums and contributing guitar, keyboards, bass, percussion and sound effects, Erikson was instrumental in the design of the distinctive artwork for their first two albums, Garbage and Version 2.0.
In a major feature on the band for The Sunday Times in 1998, the British journalist Tony Barrell described Erikson’s persona in Garbage as “the cool dude with the goatee and the Mr Spockish demeanour”. Though sometimes a taciturn presence in the band, Erikson has been known to contribute an air of dry humour to media interviews. During a discussion in 1996 about the interpersonal chemistry within Garbage, he deadpanned: "We have a little room where we go and cry."
Erikson’s extracurricular projects include the production of other artists. He produced the single "If You Go" by the Greenlandic singer Simon Lynge, which received regular airplay in Britain during 2011 after being added to the BBC Radio 2 playlist.
Erikson is on the board of directors of the acclaimed UK independent record label Lo-Max Records, which is home to The Wrens, The Go-Betweens, Kevin Ayers, and Simon Lynge, and he is currently co-producing a historical documentary series with Lo-Max Films. Erikson has worked extensively on sound restoration for this series.
- "Famous Scots exhibition – Shirley Manson". homecomingscotland2009.com. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
- Jancee Dunn (1996-10-31). "Work In Progress". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
- "Spooner Waxes A Winner". City Lights, November 19, 1982 issue. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
- "Welcome to Spooner Town", by Andy Davis, Record Collector, issue #209, January 1997
- Lloyd Sachs (1983-03-07). "Every Corner Dance". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
- David Wild (1987-07-16). "In The Heart Of The Heart Country". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
- Tony Barrell (1998-05-17). "Shirley Bossy". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
- Tim Sismey (1996-04-10). "Garbage Interview". Retroactive Baggage. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
- "Simon Lynge: News". Retrieved 2012-03-11.
- "Roxy Erickson". Retrieved 2012-03-11.
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