Swell’s David Freel Dies at 64

Swell’s David Freel Dies at 64

The guitarist and vocalist had retired to Oregon and founded a custom vinyl-cutting business

April 18, 2022

David Freel in New York City 1996.

David Freel in New York City, 1996. (Photo by Bob Berg/Getty Images)

David Freel, best known as the vocalist and guitarist of the San Francisco rock band Swell, died Tuesday (April 12). The band confirmed the news on Facebook; no cause of death has been reported. He was 64.

Born January 31, 1958, Freel formed Swell in 1989 after meeting drummer Sean Kirkpatrick. They released a self-titled debut album on their own pSychosPecificMusic label in April 1990, and played their first show that August at San Francisco’s I-Beam, opening for Mazzy Star. They would release nearly a dozen albums and compilations over the next two decades, including …Well? (1991), Too Many Days Without Thinking (1997), and For All the Beautiful People (1998). Freel wrote 2001’s Everybody Wants to Know mostly on his own, and by 2009’s Be My Weapon he had dropped the Swell name entirely. His last album was 2014’s Greasy

After his touring career ended, Freel married and moved to Oregon, where he ran a custom on-demand vinyl-cutting business with his wife Jen. 

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