1. Music background
Rick Roy is a self-taught guitarist and singer. He starting dabbling with music in the mid-’80s and began playing guitar in college, where he connected with guitarist Ray Coudret. Ray and Rick both played in the band Area 51, and now they form two of the four members in Fred the Bear.
2. And then there were four
Bob Kanzelman, the drummer for Fred the Bear, rehearsed for the first time with the band for a brief 30 minutes before playing a gig that night. He had never played with them before. Bass player Jerry Spencer was a jazz musician before he joined the group. He had never played in a rock band before.
3. But we don’t have a piano, man
“One time at a gig someone slid a note up on the stage that asked if we could play Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man,’ even though we don’t have a piano player in our band.”
4. What’s in a name?
The band name Fred the Bear pays honor and tribute to the late Bruce Eschler, the former owner of Bears Den in Donaldson. “Bruce was a big, burly guy with a beard. He was very bearish, but yet he was a gentle giant. Everyone knew him by his nickname, Fred the Bear.”
“Music allows us to forget the rest of the world and have a good time. We take our music seriously until it is time to play. Then it is time to have fun.”
6. Band of brothers
“We are more than just bandmates. It is a sense of brotherhood, and we feel like family now.”
7. Second wind
“I had to quit playing sports, which was my outlet for a long time. Music became my way to channel all that energy and rejuvenate. It’s a release.”
8. Rochester music scene
“It’s on the upswing. The additional venues are contributing by broadening opportunities for more musicians and for more styles to be heard. Plus, there are people who are really trying to beef up the scene, and, more importantly, there are people who are helping musicians connect with one another.”
9. Musical style
Fred the Bear plays adult alternative music. “The oldest song we do is ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ by Johnny Cash, but most of our stuff is 2000 or newer.”
10. Where to find Rick
You can listen to Fred the Bear every Tuesday night in February at the Tap House in Rochester. To find out more, check out the Fred the Bear’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/FredtheBearRochester.
Kim Zabel is a Plainview freelance writer and photographer. Ten measures is a weekly column spotlighting a local musician. Send nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org