Jeff Thomsen, the legendary Danish blues musician and businessman, passed away on Wednesday 22 April 2015 by a heart attack only 54 years old. Jeff, whose real name is Jesper, came to Thailand when he was four years old together with his Danish parents. His father was a road construction engineer and the family lived in his early years in Lampoon, where his father was in charge of building the highway to Chiangmai and later many other engineering projects.
Legends are many about Jeff’s adventurous life. As a young man, he was a leader of a gang in his soi. He has also been a motorcycle race driver and spent months on sailing boats in the region. He has once explained that his passion for blues music was born on one of these trips, when he in the middle of the ocean one dark tropical night heard the music of BB King. But he was a guitarist many years before this inspired by among others Jimi Hendrix.
At a Crayfish party in the Scandinavian Society Siam in 1989, he “helped” the rather lame Filipino band by entering the stage and giving the members a good time with some Rockabilly and Elvis Presley tunes, which almost got him into a fist fight with the first secretary at the Danish Embassy.
But the near-fist-fight was far from Jeff’s normal personality. He was an extremely kind and considerate person and has been initiator of countless charity events. Most known is probably his Music For Kids in support of Father Joe’s project for slum kids in Klong Toey. He was successful in business where he was for many years importing quality leather for the leather industry in Thailand. He was also founder of Jeff Thomsen Collection.
Jeff was the leader of the Soi Dog Blues Band which was started over 10 years ago and he was for many years the owner of Tokyo Joe’s Blues Bar and Restaurant. Lately, he and the band was regularly playing at Apoteka in Sukhumvit Soi 11. According to Nicolai Kehlet, one of his close friends, they will be playing for Jeff tonight, Thursday 23 April at Apoteka for anyone who wants to come by and help share the grief.
Although Jeff lived his whole life in Thailand and only saw Denmark on summer vacations with his parents, he remained very Danish in many ways and spoke fluently Danish. At the 2014 Christmas lunch of the Danish Thai Chamber of Commerce, the tall Dane entertained and also played a few numbers with Ambassador Mikael Hemniti Winther.
There is an old saying that “you are not really dead until people stop talking about you.” In that sense it is a consolation to know that Jeff will be around for decades to come.
Buddhist funeral rites are held at at Wat Pariwat, Rama 3 next to soi 30, from tomorrow night, Friday. The cremation is scheduled for this Sunday, 5pm onwards.