The Swedish Models

Photo of The Swedish Models

Keith Hilton: Bass guitar | Andrew Bernhardt: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric), Vocals | Ryan Waller: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric), Vocals | Andrew McNally: Drums | Dustin Paul: Drums

Genre: Punk, Rock

Sound description: Rowdy garage-rock, with dual vocalists and dual drummers.

RIYL: Cape May, the Muslims, the Vultures, the Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower

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Inception: San Diego, 2007

Ex-Band Members: Mark Wiskowski, Bass guitar

Influences: Fifty on Their Heels, the Muslims, the Vultures, Silverbird, the Saw Doctors, Vinyl Radio, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, the Kinks, Queen


The Swedish Models -- featuring former members of Cape May and Vinyl Radio -- formed in 2007. Their sound is punky garage rock, with an emphasis on heavy guitars which has helped them earn a buzz as one of San Diego’s current candidates for “most likely to make it to the bigtime.”

The band includes two lead vocalists: Andrew Bernhardt and Ryan Waller, both formerly with Vinyl Radio (Waller was also in The Jury, Bernhardt with Cape May). The group is filled out by Dusty Paul (Vinyl Radio) and Andrew McNally (Rookie Card). Bassist Mark Wiskowski (Cape May, Roses on Her Grave) was replaced in 2008 by Keith Hilton, who was also in Vinyl Radio.

Bernhardt came up with the band’s name during a break at one of their first rehearsals. “I went to the toilet to talk to an old man about a mule and came back to our rehearsal room, opened the door, and said, ‘Where are all the Swedish models?’ It would have been sweet to open the door to a room full of hot models, but instead it was just our sweaty and half-drunken band. So we continued on as the Swedish Models from that day going forward, and if you have just enough to drink, we really do look like Swedish Models.”

The group made their debut in late May 2007 at the Beauty Bar. “Our first show at the Beauty Bar was memorable,” says drummer Dusty Paul, “because we brought our bikes (my Schwinn Stingray and Andrew B’s banana-seated My Little Pony cruiser) and party favors consisting of noisemakers and horny-goat weed. A lot of folks went home with strangers and wrote us thank-you letters the next day.”

The band’s songs cover just about every nook of the rock and roll pantheon. Bouncing keys, crunchy chords, soaring guitar solos, smart harmonies, and that rare attack of two drummers sharing one kit. If a comparison were to be drawn, it would be to the late ‘60s/early-‘70s incarnation of the Kinks.

“Our songwriting process usually starts with hooks that stick in our heads that need to be laid down as songs,” says Bernhardt. “It’s the reason why we take part in this wonderful wasteland called music — vocal hooks or instrumental hooks or just a groove. There’s so much material that we grab from each other. We try to go for the hooky stuff that we’ll love playing over and over. There’s a stony, catchy pop vibe in a lot of the material. We’re all multi-instrumentalists to some extent, so when we write, someone naturally goes for what they feel like playing, and it works out by natural selection.”


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