Born: March 19th, 1951...
the earlier years …
I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised by my adoptive parents in Euclid, Ohio. I was deeply involved in Christian activities at an early age which included his first brush with music as I somehow sang in the church youth choirs.
Baptist Christian School for 6th-8th grade was next and I then transferred to Shore Junior High in Euclid and participated in football, basketball, wrestling and track. During this time in his life, I took beginning guitar lessons and one of the first songs I learned (that wasn't from the old Mel Bay guitar book, was a street version of Danny Klawon's "It's Cold Outside", which was a radio hit recorded by the Choir. As life would have it, Danny Klawon ended up being an usher in my wedding to Nanette (Dahlke) Logsdon, who God gave me for my life partner, and that union has lasted for 31 years.
Upon graduating from Euclid High School, I went on to Malone College in Canton, Ohio, where I actually participated in intercollegiate basketball and track for Malone.
Dropping out of Malone College and after a couple of years of having no permanent residence, and in the wake of the Kent State murders, I adopted almost all of the current “Hippy” principles and dressed and acted accordingly.
Next, after moving back home to Euclid, I attended Lakeland Community College and met Denny Carleton, and we hit it off immediately. Denny eventually formed the Fa Band. We first played at YMCA dances and other teen venues, and then branched out to playing at smaller clubs and parties.
During these times, we, with the help of many of our friends, produced multi-act shows billed as Fa & Friends Jam Nights, which included musicians such as Mike O'Neill, Rick Harrison, Tom Foster, Ron Bell, Mac Chafer, Anthony Vaccaro, Joe Horvath, Chris Butcher, Bob Kruck, Wally Bryson, Danny Klawon, Todd Weaver, Dave Thomas, Steve Doman, Randy Klawon, Jim Morgan, Jay Woodford, Ronny & Bobby Carroll, Jack Freeman, Dave Alexy, Al Globokar, Mike Wey, Rey Jesionowski, Dave Smalley, Jim Burkhart, Ralph Viviano, Billy (Skin) Conklin, Dick (Big Daddy) Gleason, Richard Anderson, Mike Marshall, Joe Balazic, Artie Peeler, Steve and Mark Jocum, Mike and Steve Walzak, Danny Schneider, Dave Nida, Eric Robertson, Ted Aquilla, and many, many more.
Early on, Fred had the opportunity to play on WMMS Coffee Break Concert with Denny Carleton and Randy Klawon. The show was hosted by Matt (the Cat) and was held at WMMS's studio in Cleveland, Ohio.
Following the original Fa Band was a revised edition of the Fa Band which included Danny Schneider, Ralph Viviano, Denny Carleton and me (with Joe Balazic often joining us on lead vocal).
Next, came Inner City, which included Danny Schneider, Denny Carleton, Pam & Bruce Moore and me. Inner City raced to instant popularity and became the house band at the Phantasy Night Club in Lakewood, Ohio. (Pam went on to do work with Gary Wright, Bob Seger and Meatloaf, Danny signed a songwriting contract, Bruce formed Moonlight Drive [Doors tribute band] with old friend Bill Pettijohn, and Denny created his own record label - Greenlight Records.)
After Inner City, a new band was formed (more of a recording band), called Back Alley. Back Alley consisted of Steve and Mike Walzak, Danny Schneider, Ted Aquilla and me.
After Back Alley came Patchwork Blue with Verne McClelland, Dan Brady, the late Bill (Mike) Perry, Kevin Weinbrecht and me.
Next came a period of time when I just jammed around and wrote several songs that received some air play. "The Christmas Star" and "Because Thou Art Perfect", recorded by Pam Stonebreaker, received air play on WCRF, a Cleveland Christian radio station, and Patchwork Blue's recording of "Good Old Country Rock & Roll" received some Ohio air play as well.
Post Y2K ...
In August of 2000, I was diagnosed with a severe case of Cardiomyopathy with only a 15% heart ejection fraction. Prognosis was bleak, but by the grace of God, I am still with us, fourteen (14) years later.
Then a song writing partnership with long time friend Chris Butcher was forged. Chris took me under his wing and I still consider Chris’ willingness to work with me one of my all time music related thrills. Chris and I wrote a song, Foolish Fire, which was fortunately “adopted” by radio DJ, “Hoss” from WKKY radio. Because of this, Foolish Fire was played on radio station WKKY almost every weekday, at least once a day, for 2 years.
All of this led to the formation of Abbey Rodeo and I really enjoy both the camaraderie and musicianship of the band with Chris Butcher, Vince Lesso, Verne McClelland, P. J. Philips and Bob Yocum. These guys (and gal) are great and I am humbled to be able to play in a band with them.
Also in 2000, I worked with many young girl singers and played bass in the band, The Girls, featuring 3 teenage girls: Carrie Vieweg, Brittany Klarich, and Lauren Hull. Past Girls were Brittanney Scalise and Anna Hollingsworth. Band members were Dave Alexy, Fred Grupe, Carl Peters, Dan Rose, Walt Vieweg and Danny (Slick) Watkins. Along with playing various local venues, The Girls also opened for David Allan Coe, Toby Keith, Joe Nicholls and Logan Wells.
Also, I co-hosted a weekly radio show, The Cleveland Music Connection, every Wednesday drive time from 5:00 – 5:30 with Denny Carleton for about two years.
And in 2010, as a side project, I joined forces with singer/songwriter, Mary Taylor-Brooks and played bass in a band fronted by Mary that included Al Moses on lead guitar. Al Moses ended up leaving the band and was replace by Doug Bukovac along with Greg Coleman on the Zen drum, and later, Anthony Vaccaro played his electronic drums. One of the band’s highlights was to play in a packed Lake County Captains Stadium for a July 4th fireworks extravaganza for over 7,000 people.
So the one constant, obviously, other than the Lord for the past 11 years, has been Abbey Rodeo. Though a few of the members have changed, the core has remained the same. What a blessing from God to be able to play with such good friends and capable musicians.
Thanks so much
Luv, freddy g.
Fred Grupe's bio...