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Thursday, January 23, 2014

RIP Fergie Frederiksen - 1951 to 2014

RIP Fergie Frederiksen
15th May 1951 to 18th January 2014
Last weekend, on Saturday 18th January, the world lost a true advocate of melodic rock / AOR music in Fergie Frederiksen.
Dennis 'Fergie' Frederiksen was one truly great singer, a wonderful talent who sadly lost his battle with cancer that he had been fighting since 2010.
My huge personal regret is that I never got to see Fergie performing live with one of my all time favourite bands Toto or another favourite band of mine, Mecca.
I never met or spoke to the guy, but have always admired the talent that he exuded.
I personally never discovered the guy's obvious talent until I first heard Toto's excellent 'Isolation' album released in 1984.
Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1951, his first success was with the Chicago born band Trillion, whose first album was released in 1978 and from the attention the band drew at the time, it landed them opening tour slots with both Styx and Heart.
He briefly worked with AOR legends Angel in 1981 before moving onto other things, as Angel fell apart soon after, although it was with Angel where he made a connection with Ricky Phillips, which turned out to be useful further into Fergie's career.
In 1982 he worked with Survivor singing background vocals on a number of tracks on their mega hit album 'Eye of the Tiger.'
In 1983 he joined La Roux and went on to appear on just one studio album with the band which was the release, 'So Fired Up' that produced the Frederiksen penned minor hit 'Carrie's Gone,' but once again it seemed Frederiksen's time with a band was short lived.
It was touching base once more with Ricky Phillips, that led to Fergie being introduced to Journey's Jonathan Cain, who along with Phillips and Cain's singing wife at the time Tané Cain put together the side project Abandon Shame.
Sadly, even with all the talent involved and famed producer Kevin Olsen, it once more did not last so long, no album completed - to my knowledge - just a handful of songs, some of which did make it onto the soundtrack of 'The Terminator' movie.
It was soon after this, that the Toto connection took place, since Fergie's old friend Ricky Phillips gave late Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro (RIP) a demo of Fergie's work, after Phillips learned of Toto letting lead singer Bobby Kimball go.
Sure enough Toto and Fergie clicked and they went on to complete the excellent 'Isolation' album in 1984. One of my all time favourites, ever! Which again was why I was deeply saddened when I learned a few years back of Fergie's illness.
He was also involved in the soundtrack album Toto did for the 'Dune' movie.
After parting ways with Toto, during early sessions of the 'Fahrenheit' album recording, Fergie decided to go out on the road solo touring playing Toto sets, which sadly created some issues between the two parties and the band took action to prevent Fergie from doing this any longer, due to Fergie performing songs that he had no part in writing.
For a few years, Fergie dropped out of the music scene before Fergie and Ricky Phillips reunited to create and release the Frederiksen / Phillips self titled album in 1995.
A dream record for many AOR fans, as it featured many name artists such as Neal Schon, Deen Castronova, Tim Pierce, Steve Farris, Bruce Gowdy, Bobby Blotzer and backing vocals from the likes of Robin McAuley and David Glen Eisley to name just a handful.
A solo album in the shape of 'Equilibrium' was release by Fergie in 1999 and it also featured a serious all star lineup and was equally well received by the genre.
Various side projects where he offered his services followed before Fergie next hooked up with Jim Peterik (Survivor) once again, who was putting together a new project with vocalist Joe Vana, fellow ex-Toto player in bassist David Hungate, Mike Aquino on guitars, Jimmy Nichols (Keys) and Shannon Forrest on drums.
The project name Mecca, the album the same name, 'Mecca!'
Released in 2002, it was quite Toto like with a twist, an album I enjoyed very much too.
Fergie then got back to involvement in various side projects before the nicely put together album under the project name Frederiksen / Denander as Fergie joined up with session guitarist Tommy Denander for 'Baptism of Fire' in 2007.
Other all star project work continued before the sad announcement in 2010 that Fergie had cancer.
Fergie was not going down without a fight though and released two very good albums indeed with 2011's 'Happiness is the Road' - a brave title for a man battling cancer - and last year's 'Any Given Moment,' Fergie was doing things in style until the bitter end.
He was scheduled to hopefully, perhaps optimistically, appear at last years Melodic Rock Fest 3 but alas it was not to be, as he was not well enough.
Sadly, as the statement 'all good things must come to an end' goes, last Saturday we lost a very, very good vocalist and musical talent indeed as Dennis 'Fergie' Frederiksen finally lost his four year battle with cancer.
He will be greatly missed by so many people in the melodic rock genre.
RIP Fergie, no more pain ... Thank you for so much wonderful music. 
 Thoughts and prayers and deepest sympathies go out to Fergie's family at this time.
So sorry for your loss and such a great loss.
A great vocal to remember Fergie by, his re-recorded version of the Toto classic track, 'Angel Don't Cry.'

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