drummer Rob Fried died of heart failure on Sept. 8 at the Mclean Home in
Simsbury at the age of 55.
long-time Simsbury resident had been recently diagnosed at Brigham and Womens
Hospital in Boston with an extremely rare blood disease.
deep depression following the diagnosis, Fried suffered a heart attack two weeks
ago and was treated at Hartford Hospital before being transferred to McLean where
his condition rapidly worsened.
was best known for his work with the Collinsville-based Max
Creek, a group he joined in 1979 and toured and recorded extensively with
primarily a percussionist, it was not uncommon for Fried to play drums as the
band often featured a dual-drum set-up similar to such influential contemporaries
the Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers Band.
colorful style stands out on each of the five Max
Creek Albums he was part of, beginning with Rainbow
(1980) and subsequent releases Drink The Stars
(1982), Windows (1986), MCMXC
(1990) and Spring Water (1998).
was undoubtedly one of the most emotional people you could ever find", said
Max Creek keyboardist Mark Mercier. "He played emotionally and he brought
a tremendous sense of energy to the music -- energy and color."
for their extended, improvisational jams, Max Creek and Fried proved a perfect
match, especially on stage, according to Mercier who along with bassist John Rider
and guitarist Scott Murawski have spent more than 30
years playing together
in Max Creek. "There would be times when Rob would come out with some color
that would be perfect for the occasion and we would all turn around and just look
at him,"he said.
playing the brunt of his career in the San Francisco-styled Max Creek and later
doing stints with such jazz-blues based outfit as Gregg
Piccolo and Heavy Juice and eclectic spoken word artist Frank
Messina's Octopoet,Fried was heavily influenced by such renowned master
drummers as Nigerian Babatunde Olatunji and Brazilian Airto Moreira along with
studio greats Steve Gadd and Jim Keltner and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead.
brother Gary Fried noted that his brother also counted Ringo Starr as an inspiration.
"Ringo Starr was a simple player, but he could really accent things",
Gary Fried said. Most drummers, they're just into chops, but dont'have any taste.
It all gets very tired if you dont put any human element into it."
in Englewood, N.J, on July 15, 1951, Fried and his family moved to Simsbury in
1959. In 1969, the Fried brothers were part of the first graduating class at the
new Simsbury High School, but Rob opted not to go to college, instead focusing
on drumming as he played in a number of rock and soul bands.
a self-taught drummer, Fried did a short stint at the Hartford Conservatory in
the 1970s, but was more comfortable playing on stage or in the studio, according
to many who played with him over the years.
time he played with us, he took it to the limit", said
Teague of Granby who met Fried in 1969 and remained close friends and a musical
collaborator for nearly three decades, most recently as part of the Burt
Teague Group and a handful of studio projects the duo were involved with.
was never a time when Rob was slouching", said Teague. "He was the consummate
musician. Every time we played, he took the band to another level."
last sessions are due to be released this fall on An
Edward Hopper Dream by acclaimed singer/guitarist Steve
Vozzolo. Teague, who was involved in the sessions, says the CD is reminiscent
of 1970s-era Steely Dan due to
the caliber of musicianship.
love of drumming went retail when as he ran his own specialty store, The Rhythm
Shop, in Simsbury, for nearly eight years.
for his elaborate stage setup, often with dozens drums and percussion pieces,
Fried could always be easily identified in a club or hall thanks to his trademark
Panama hat, Hawaiian shirt and dark glasses, yet it was his
endeared him to so many fans.
was one of the most welcoming and friendly people you would ever find",said
Mercier. "He was made more friends at Max Creek shows than anyone" (in
fans or fellow musicians, Fried's gentle personality and dedication to the music
was often the foundation of many of his friendships. Long-time friend Tina Weymouth,
then the bassist with the Talking Heads, introduced Fried to the Heads percussionist
Steve Scales and the two remained close for
nearly 20 years. He also enjoyed
a long friendship with Allman Brothers drummer Jaimoe and Richie Hayward of Little
huge friends in high places", said Mercier. He remembered them and they remembered
Fried and Max
Creek parted ways in December 2004 due to artistic differences, but Mercier admitted
he hoped for a future reunion.
always hoped that we would get back together", he said. "There was just
no way it could happen at the time, but we never considered him gone from the
after Fried's passing, Max Creek played a concert in Pulaski, New York, an evening
that Mercier said was very moving.
a very emotional period of time for us now, he said. Its like being in a family
with a long-lost brother, you always thought of him as a member of the family.
There was no question that we loved Rob."
Sure To Vist www.robfriedremembered.com
Thanksgiving Eve 2001, NYC poet, Frank Messina, joined Max Creek
at The Webster Theatre in Hartford, Conn. for a chilling rendition of his
then newly penned poem, "You
Will Not Break Me" Click
Here to view the video from this historic performance!