On August 16th, the Dayton music community lost a friend, a fellow musician and a fan with the passing of Jeremy Frederick who performed with Sunken Giraffe, Tribal Nation, Cigarhead, Lazy, Dirty Walk, Let’s Crash, and Human Reunion. Tonight at Blind Bob’s, friends and family will celebrate his life from 6 to 10pm, and late that night the Motel Beds and Astro Fang will continue the tribute as part of Blind Bob’s 4th anniversary.
I can’t recall the first time I met Jeremy because for as long as I can remember going to shows in Dayton, he’s been there – either onstage or in front of it dancing and voicing his support for whoever was performing. As a musician Jeremy helped create songs that were both incredibly ahead of their time and yet very accessible (when I helped my mom set up iTunes on her iPad two Christmases ago, Human Reunion’s Arc de Square was one of the albums we transferred from her computer). As a fan, Jeremy was a source of unbridled, infectious enthusiasm. He was never shy with his praise for the bands he enjoyed and would always be quick to tell me who would sound great as a guest on Kaleidoscope. When it came time for Human Reunion’s performance on Kaleidoscope, I wondered how their big yet intricate sound would do in WYSO’s then-tiny studios, but listening back to that performance over the past week, it sounded great. What’s stuck with me most about that interview was just how proud Jeremy was of Arc de Square. You could hear it in his voice.
Although music was the context in which I knew Jeremy best, there was much more to him than that. I’ve invited a few friends and bandmates to share their memories below, and I invite you to do the same in the comments.
The last time I saw Jeremy Frederick was about 2 weeks ago. He was crossing Wyoming at Brown and I was at the stop light. I honked my horn at him and without missing a beat he turned around, raised his big goofy hand in the air and at the top of his lungs sang “HEYHEY GLAAAADGIRL!” and blew me a kiss. I cannot get that image out of my head today.
Dave Doughman (Swearing at Motorists)
For many, you were more than a friend, you were family. Like the crazy cousin that you could never see enough of, telling the best jokes at the worst times, and the worst jokes at the best times. Somehow, your timing was perfect. Sure, you were a pain in the ass at times, but we know it’s only because your ass was in pain. You were the unlikely glue that held our sanity together during the worst moments. You lived life to the fullest, and we are lucky to have known you. You made us laugh, you made us dance, and our memories of you will give us many smiles for years to come.
Thanks for everything J. Ferrari
A couple months ago, I was having a bad night at Sidebar. I stepped out for a smoke, and Jeremy appeared. He gave me a big hug,and told me of his dreams, in vivid detail. Then he did a little soft shoe shuffle, and completely changed my mood. He was always good for that.
Jeremy sang, played guitar, synthesizers & wrote songs but was also a drummer & played bass in Dirty Walk. He really could do it all & was in consistently great bands. He was one of the world’s best storytellers, but I never understood his constant need to embellish; the truth was plenty interesting on its own- I think that’s why we always forgave him. Violently clumsy. Spilled beer more beer than he drank. He was the guy that you had to get a beer for on the way to getting him beer.
The best thing is this; when I now think of Jeremy- I think of at least 40 other people. People that I may’ve never met otherwise. In his prime- he made you feel important, like you were joining a club by simply knowing him, “all admitted”.
Tim Krug (Human Reunion, Oh Condor)
I can’t remember if it was 2005 or 2006, but I think it was Halloween weekend, and someone had organized a Misfits tribute show or something comparable at Elbos over on Jefferson. A bunch of different guys in face paint were taking turns playing Misfits tunes, rotating out members like a cage match of leather vests, devil-locks and dark mayhem. Jeremy decided that what this particular night really needed was some stand-up comedy. You know, to round out the entertainment. I don’t know how, but he convinced someone that if he could run up between songs and do a few jokes, it’d be win-win for everyone. I felt like this was going to end beyond terribly, and I was already secretly plotting out an escape route.
Just as the band finished the next song, Jeremy saw his opening, jumped up on stage, and grabbed a microphone. He told some jokes I can’t quite remember. One about Coretta Scott King and Hostess Ding Dongs and maybe the one about fingering, but I think a lot of his “time” was spent telling people to shut up so he could tell them the jokes.. which was kind of the joke in itself. The few people that really knew Jeremy and especially those of us privy to his love for Tony Clifton / Andy Kaufman were cracking up in the back. He was making people uncomfortable, and it was kind of great. Everyone else though, including the band, were not as pleased with how this unannounced comedy ambush was going. They started another song, and Jeremy came off-stage with a big grin on his face.
This happened a few more times between songs, each time the band and the crowd getting angrier and booing him offstage quicker until I was asking Jeremy to let it rest for the night; that maybe we should just move on to another bar or go spend some time on the patio at least. He seemed to be almost agreeing with me when suddenly his eyes lit up and he was off again. The whole room had turned against him, and he was absolutely determined to win them back over.
As the next song ended, he quickly grabbed up this white wooden corn-hole game, and ran up to the stage. People were already booing. The singer was on the mic explaining in no uncertain (and quite vulgar) terms that there was no way this was happening again. He wasn’t going to have any more of this decidedly not funny “comedian” taking up his valuable set time, but it was too late. Mid-protest Jeremy was already there next to him, holding the corn hole game in front of him with his face showing through the hole at the top and yelling out to the crowd “REMEMBER KIDS, DON’T FORGET TO BRUSH YOUR TEETH!”
He’d found the nerve and struck gold. Everyone was back on his team, laughing, and he came lumbering back down to the bar triumphant. Class Clown at any cost.