Jeffrey Frederick's no longer with us in person, but his music remains as alive as ever. Jeffrey (1950 - 1997) was charismatic, charming and had the sexiest grin you ever laid eyes on, usually with a Camel straight, a 'hump' to him, hanging out of the corner of his mouth. When he climbed on stage and started to sing you just had to dance, his music penetrated the soul. Jeffrey oozed talent. To quote Dave Reisch, "Jeff could take something as mundane as a pencil and make a song out of it." Jeff's middle name could have been humour, but it wasn't, he was Jeffrey Sutton Frederick and according to him he could do "any fucking thing he wanted" and he did. This included sometimes performing in a tutu and cowboy boots, or decorating the stage with a flock of hand-carved pink flamingos.
After many years creating musical havoc in Vermont, where among other endeavors he led the band Automatic Slim And The Fat Boys (he was Automatic Slim, Michael Hurley was one of the Fat Boys) Jeffrey moved to Portland, Oregon in '75 and started the Clamtones. Or rather, the band in hand was the Clamtones when Jeff was the front man and the Holy Modal Rounders when Steve Weber fronted.. These "two bands in one" often shared the same stage. They soon became "the best fucking bar band in America" as one reviewer put it, and ruled the Portland music scene for years.
In '76 they took off on a 9,000 mile tour of the perimeter of the States, which included such memorable moments as the band's getting run out of Alabama by the state police for making fun of Fundamentalism in Let Me Down. For stories of their road trip and more about Jeff, check out our web site (www.jeffreyfrederick.com) and also go to the Freak Mountain Rambler's web site and read Dave Reisch's "A Piece of Work" (www.freakmountain.com/davebook) .
During the tour, Jeffrey recorded Have Moicy! ("best album of the year,"" Village Voice,"the top folk album of the rock era""Rolling Stone) with Michael Hurley, Peter Stampfel, Dave Reisch, Jill Gross, Robin Remaily, Paul Presti, Wax Iwaskiewicz and Robert Nickson. Jeffrey's only full-length album,Spiders in the Moonlight was recorded in '76 after the completion of the tour and a live radio show broadcast from Rohan's Road House in Vancouver B.C. ( the source of the two disc set, Clamtones B.C). They weren't making a lot of money, but, to quote Teddy Deane, they sure were making a lot of good times!
In 1983 Jeff moved to Silver City, Nevada. There he gathered the cream of the crop of Northern Nevada's musicians and ooh la la! the Jeffrey Frederick Band was in motion. Among them was Johnny Fingers, guitar, and BB Morse, bass (who later joined Willy Nelson's band). The guys had them dancing at the infamous saloons of Virginia City, the clubs of Reno and Lake Tahoe, and the bars of Dayton, Yerrington and Fallon, as well as back in Portland town.
Jeffrey's music was zany, hilarious and soulful. He wrote about the people he loved and those he tried to hate, Rotten Lettuce; he wrote about family (he was Jeffrey SUTTON Frederick, after all) and criminal activity, Robbin' Banks; he wrote about broken hearts, life and death, What Made My Hamburger Disappear; he wrote about brawling on Saturday Night and the possible consequences of playing guitar on the Toilet too long... always in a way that made us laugh and feel good. Hilariously, one day a friend called me and said that he had just heard ""Hamburger"" on Sesame Street (they must not have been paying attention to the lyrics)!
To Jeffrey it wasn't a successful show unless he ""made 'em dance"" and he always had us dancing.
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