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Fredric

From Grand Rapids, Formerly the Casanovas,
Evolution, Forte, Yesterday’s Children

Fredric 1968

History of Fredric by Ben Maxwell
Phases and Faces, the only album by Grand Rapids Michigan quintet The Fredric, was released in 1968 on Forte Records. Long considered a masterpiece by fans throughout the world, this once-in-a-lifetime merging of diverse elements is one of the most magical and extraordinary musical offerings in all of sixties music.
Any longtime fan will tell you, there is nothing like The Fredric in the history of recorded music. Nothing! Lead vocalist Joe McCargar and Guitarist Bob Geis were high school mates in the mid-sixties, playing in a band. One of their first shows was a booking on historic Mackinac Island, playing the Grand Hotel in the summer of 1966. Several days before the show the band lost their guitarist and drummer, but quickly found guitar-vocalist Steve Thrall as a replacement through the musicians grapevine.
Joe McCargar at the left of the Fredric, singing at The Note at Gun Lake
This move proved to be the genesis of what was to become the legendary Fredric sound. This revamped trio, minus a drummer, managed to play the show successfully and decided to enhance the group with additional musicians. Drummer vocalist David Idema was the son of a family friend of McCargar’s parents. Ron Bera was added on keyboards, making use of his excellent skills.
Fredric at The Castle in Holland, 1968
Extensive rehearsals were held throughout 1967. A unique and inviting sound began to take shape. At this point, the band approached a booking agent. Greatly impressed with the diversity of the original material, he encouraged them to develop and record. Soon afterwards he secured the band a position backing Harper and Rowe, a British vocal duo on a promotional tour. However, the duo’s label did not want a locally recognized band backing their act.
In need of a new moniker, the group changed their name from Yesterday’s Children to The Fredric, on the way to their first show in Fredric, Michigan Mackinac Island, located in the northern part of the state, became the paradisiac setting for early songwriting efforts, including “The Girl I Love,” “Morning Sunshine” and “All About Judy.” In the summer of 1967 Steve’s parents, in a vote of encouragement, let the band occupy their summer cottage on Lake Michigan as a retreat to perfect their sound. “Red Pier,” and “Cousin Mary Knows” were written there. Constant playing and  exchanging of ideas  had tightened and fine tuned a most unique sound. The Fredric was on their way.
The Fredric shared concert bills with The Boxtops, Tommy James and the Shondells, The Yellow Balloon and other artists of the time. The Fredric played extensively throughout the Midwest and enjoyed an extensive fan base in West Michigan. In 1967 they formed their own label, Forte Records. In reality this was nothing more than means of copywriting their original material for presentations to major labels.
Fredric Recording at Midwestern studios
In June of 1970, The Fredric signed with Capitol Records and was promptly rechristened The Rock Garden by label executives. Capitol saw the group as a pop hit unit, which caused great frustration among the members who wanted nothing to do with this commercialization of their music. They had scheduled for several releases when the decision was made to dissolve the band.
After the demise of the band, both Thrall and Idema pursued recording careers and continued to write together, Idema performing under the pseudonym, David Geddes, scored a mega-hit with “Run, Joey, Run,” and an album by the same name.  Thrall and Idema found careers in media. McCargar became a teacher and recording engineer. Geis entered the accounting profession and Bera furthered his formal musical training as a choral and band director.
Thrall confides, Take chances on your journey, or you will never discover the unwritten music. I’d like to thank everyone involved in this labor of love project. We are sure that you, the fans, will love this reissue package. Enjoy The Fredric, truly an American treasure!
Ben Maxwell, August 1996

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David Idema aka David Geddes

David Cole Idema (born July 1, 1950), best known by the stage name David Geddes, is a soft rock singer who had a U.S. Top 5 hit with “Run Joey Run” in 1975, which peaked at #4 in October 1975.

Early life

Under his real name, Geddes was the drummer/vocalist for the cult band The Fredric (also known as Rock Garden) and released several records in the early 1970s. He previously attended the University of Michigan. Geddes got his stage name from a street in Ann Arbor.

Career

According to Casey Kasem‘s “American Top 40“, David had recorded several singles for major record labels, none of which became a hit. He decided to leave the music business and return to school. David was attending law school at Wayne State University in Detroit when he was called by producer Paul Vance to record a song that Vance had written. Vance remembered David’s voice from his earlier records and thought he would be perfect for Vance’s new song. David flew to New York City to record the vocals for the song, and then returned to Detroit to begin his third year of law school. Several months later, the song, “Run Joey Run“, began to race up the Billboard Hot 100. David dropped out of law school with just one semester to go and re-entered the music business.[1]

Geddes only had one other hit song make it into the Top 40: “The Last Game of the Season (Blind Man in the Bleachers)” entered the Top 40 one month after “Run Joey Run” fell off the charts; “The Last Game…” made it into the Top 20. Geddes also released a single under his real name which saw significant airplay: “House on Holly Road”.

“Run Joey Run” was featured on the May 4, 2010 episode of Glee.

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This is a page from a concert brochure where the Fredric played with Band X, The 6 Pak and The Box Tops at the Civic Auditorium on September 18, 1968:

Fredric - Courtesy Matt Weber

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The Fredric, 1968The Fredric

The Fredric was a great pop band who recorded an album that has become a rare collector’s item that has been known to sell for several hundred dollars. Thankfully, the fine folks at Arf-Arf Records have re-released it on CD.

Members:

Joe McCarger – vocals, percussion (1967-68)
Dave Idema – drums, percussion, vocals (1967-68)
Steve Thrall – guitar, vocals (1967-68)
Ron Bera – keyboards, brass (1967-68) (RIP)
Bob Geis – guitar (1967-68)

 

The Fredric recorded an LP named Phases and Faces at Phil Robert’s Midwestern Studio in 1968:

Phases and Faces (West Michigan Psychedelia 1967 – 1969 The Complete Recordings) by the Fredric – a collection that includes the complete contents of the original album as well as a single and some outtakes that were recorded for an unreleased second album.

Phases and Faces Track Listing:
Tracks 13 – 17 are the extra, non-album tracks.

CLICK ON LINKS BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE FREDRIC’s RECORDINGS:

  1. Federal Reserve Bank Blues – YouTube (2:10)
  2. The Girl I Love – YouTube (2:30)
  3. All About Judi – YouTube (2:15)
  4. Henry Adams – YouTube (1:50)
  5. Morning Sunshine – YouTube (2:30)
  6. Taggin’ – YouTube (3:05)
  7. Cousin Mary Knows – YouTube (2:10)
  8. My Yellow Tree – YouTube (1:55)
  9. Red Pier – YouTube (2:55)
  10. Old Fashioned Guy – YouTube (2:10)
  11. Born in Fire – YouTube (2:36)
  12. Saturday Morning with Rain – YouTube (1:55)
  13. Five O’Clock Traffic
  14. Postmans (bonus) 1968Youtube (2:09)
  15. Bob’s Songs – Youtube (3:29)
  16. Lori Lee Loveland
  17. Country

Fredrick – 5 O Clock Traffic – YouTube (2:12)

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Newspaper Ads for Fredric Performances:

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3.28.68

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7.11.68

7.19.68

 

 

 

 

 

7.19.68

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Midwestern Sound, Grand Rapids, 1968

                      Left to right: David Idema, Bob Geis, Ron Bera, Joe McCargar and Steve Thrall
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The following are  Fredric- related posts from the Grand Rapids Rocks website:
  • I went to school at Forest Hills with Joe Mc Carger of this band. These guys were pretty professional in the sense of not dressing sloppy and actually having rehearsed starts and endings to their songs. They played at a few dances at Forest Hills High School in the late 60’s and even though they were sorta light and pop-ish when lots of music was getty druggy I think everybody liked them alot. Very talented. Fun,innocent days! Joe was cornered and asked to play for our 35th Class reunion in 2004 but had other commitments, but maybe we’ll drag him out to play for the next one??? Posted by: kim rush at September 14, 2006 03:01 PM
  • Was this Steve Thrall ever in a band called The Casanovas?Posted by: Maxine at November 26, 2006 08:05 PM
  • Hi, I catored to these guys at the Forest Hills High School dances in 1973. They were really great. I remember it well.Posted by: Parker Tuthill at January 18, 2007 07:17 PM
  • I rock the Sagatuck Coral Gables deck during the summer. My favorite Fredric tune is “Taggin'”. My audience digs it when I lick the guitar strings after the solo riff.Posted by: Tombo Bryant at January 18, 2007 08:54 PM
  • Hi,I wanted to be in that band really bad. I knew all the guys and used to follow them around. I was not a male groupy though. I just carried Joe’s guitar.thanks. Jud Posted by: Judy Lynch at January 18, 2007 10:01 PM
  • Ron Bera, aged 56, formerly of Grand Rapids, died peacefully in Bonita Springs, FL on February 11, 2007 following a battle with cancer. Ron was preceded in death by his father, H. Ozro Bera, Jr. He is survived by his mother, Anita Bera of Port Richey, FL; brother, Roger (Cindy) Bera of East Grand Rapids; nieces, Stephanie (Dwight) Meston, Alison (Dean) Cappallazzo, Kate Bera; nephew, Matthew (Terrie) Bera; and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins. Ron attended Oberlin College and Mary Grove University and was employed as the Director of Music at Saint Leo Catholic Church in Bonita Springs, FL. Funeral Mass and burial were help on February 14, 2007 in Bonita Springs. Posted by: Drew at February 15, 2007 05:11 PM
  • A friend and myself, had met a few of the band members, as we lived next door to a drummer – Billy Zigmund. I believe the band they formed at the time was initially The Rock Graden, and later just The Garden. Sorry to hear about Ron. Rick Posted by: Rick Zane at February 23, 2007 01:34 PM
  • I can’t believe Ron died. I hung with him for a couple years – ’70-’72 I think it was. Beyond his work with The Fredric, Rock Garden and Garden, he was an incredibly talented classical pianist and organist. We’d sneak into the organ loft at Aquinas after hours, lock the door, get a little buzzed and he’d sit down and play. LOUD. I think I still have some tapes I made of him playing the piano in our “garden apartment” at Wealthy and College SE. He was a great man who will be missed. Posted by: Dave Morey at April 30, 2007 09:21 AM
  • steve thrall is my dad!!!!! ahhh im so lucky :)Posted by: anachristinathrall at October 11, 2007 05:06 PM
  • steve thrall is my best friends dad!!!!!!!!! ahhhhhh im so lucky!!!! :)Posted by: Natalie Shuart at October 11, 2007 08:14 PM
  • steve thrall is my uncle!!! I was the best man at his wedding!!Posted by: Steve Thrall at December 18, 2007 10:31 AM
  • Does anyone know who the girl vocalist was on “Johnny’s Music Machine”? Posted by: Steve at January 6, 2008 11:45 AM
  • The question of who the girl singer was in “Johnny’s Music Machine” was answered for me when the record was first released by a close friend of the band. The the girl singer in “Johnny’s Music Machine” was the same girl that sang in the Archie’s recording of “Sugar, Sugar”. But who knows her name? Posted by: Bill Bab at January 7, 2008 08:13 AM
  • Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, Bill..seems her name is Toni Wine. Posted by: Steve at January 8, 2008 09:53 PM
  • I have come into posession of a early 1960’s Les Paul Jr. guitar, when I opened the back there was a label inside that said Steve Thrall The Casanovas Were Here. Is this the same Steve Thrall?  Posted by: Maxine at February 24, 2008 01:48 PM
  • I still gator to “The girl I love”.Posted by: Parker Tuthill at April 30, 2008 10:31 PM
  • My dad showed me the best moves and got my head pointed in the right direction!!! “Bubba”Posted by: Bryant Tuthill at June 8, 2008 10:42 PM
  • Fond memories of the Fredric. I was a member of their fan club and our “President” Irene Burgess once smuggled us into “The Note” on Gun Lake. I must have been about 16 at the time. I still have the photos I took of them in their dressing room. I first learned of the band from my mother who told me that my cousin was in a band and they were playing at Yankees Dept Store. (Can you imagine?) Joe McCargar was my cousin by marriage — my Aunt Dorothy McCargar had become part of the McCargar family when she married the elder George. We used to spend summers up at her home on the Pere Marquette River and once just missed the band after they had visited that beautiful place. I am sorry to hear about Ron and hope all are doing well. Still a fan, Lynne’ (Barnaby) Morrow Posted by: Lynne’ (Barnaby) Morrow at May 19, 2009 01:24 PM
  • Did the Fredric ever play at The Place in Grand Rapids at 632 Plymouth NE (’66-’67)? A friend gave me a picture of the outside of this building which was torn down in 1974. The building was moved from Ramona in EGR in 1955 and reconstructed on Plymouth NE. It was used as a roller skating rink for 10 years before concert and dance bands started playing there. Kim  Posted by: kim rush at October 2, 2009 11:38 AM
  • Maxine. 2008Probably way too late to hear back from me, but there’s no other way to reach you. Just read through all these comments and, yes, that Les Paul was probably mine. Gold Les Paul.The Casanovas was a band just prior to changing our name to The Fredric. We changed the name when we took a tour as the backup band for Harper and Row from England. The agency in charge wanted us to change the name for some legal reason. We were passing a city on our way up north for the first concert and it was Fredric, MI.  Steve Thrall  Posted by: Steve Thrall at May 30, 2010 05:08 PM
  • I was the keyboard guy for the Aardvarks and we had hooked up with your band and Harper and Rowe, as well. You used our rehersal hall on Airport Rd for a time. BTW, Harper and Rowe were actually from Canada.  Anyway, our band was returning form a show in Northern MI one Sunday. I was riding with Charlie Bowbeer. We drove under the overpass for Fredric, MI, and I commented to Charlie that would be a great name for a band. So, there you go. You’re welcome.  Posted by: Rick Kuerth at February 8, 2011 09:24 AM
Used by permission by www.GrandRapidsRocks.com
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FREDRIC NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS:

Fredric – Courtesy Matt Weber

 

 Tommy James at Aquinas

Fredric/Tommy James at Aquinas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


                     



Here’s one of those obscure bands that had more than their share of talent, but simply disappeared into the rock and roll footnotes …One of Grand Rapids, Michigan’s contributions to mid-’60s rock, The Frederic featured the talents of keyboardist Ron Bera, guitarist Bob Geis, drummer Dave Idema, singer Joe McCarger and guitarist Steve Thrall. Formed in 1967, the band debuted with an instantly obscure single for the small Evolution label (“5 O’Clock” b/w “Red Pier” (Evolution catalog number 1001). While the 45 disappeared without a trace, it brought the slightly larger Michigan-based Forte label calling. Forte promptly reissued the band’s debut single, subsequently agreeing to finance an LP.Produced by Phil Roberts Jr, we’ve seen various reference works describe 1968’s “Phases and Faces” as flowery pop, leaving the impression these guys might be little more than Association clones. Having listened to the LP a dozen times, that’s not exactly an apt description. With all five members contributing material (McCarger was the main songwriter), the set’s actually quite diverse, much of it exhibiting a weird pseudo-English feel. While tracks such as “The Girl I Love” and “All About Judi” are rather commercial pop, the opener “Federal Reserve Bank Blues” and “Morning Sunshine” sport distinctive psyche influences. Elsewhere, “Taggin'” and “My Yellow Tree” offered up great slice of fuzz guitar-propelled garage rock. Strong melodies, some great harmonies (“Born In Fire”) and surprisingly impressive production (particularly for a small label), make for an impressive package. Probably not worth the $400-$500 asking price we’ve seen it listed for on various dealer lists, but in our price range it’s a steal !!! In case anyone cares, this one’s listed in Hans Pokora’s 1001 Record Collector Dreams as a four LP rarity.“Phases and Faces” track listing:Side 11.) Federal Reserve Bank Blues (Joe McCarger) –
2.) The Girl I Love (Joe McCarger) –
3.) All About Judi (Joe McCarger) –
4.) Henry Adams (Joe McCarger) –
5.) Morning Sunshine (Dave Idema – Steve Thrall) –
6.) Taggin’ (Joe McCarger – Steve Thrall) –

Side 21.) Cousin Mary Knows (Joe McCarger – Dave Idema – Steve Thrall – Rob Geis – Ron Bera) –
2.) My Yellow Tree (Jo McCargere) –
3.) Red Pier (Steve Thrall) –
4.) Old Fashioned Guy (Rob Geis)
5.) Born In Fire (Dave Idema) –
6.) Saturday Morning with Rain (Joe McCarger)

The Fredric – My Yellow Tree

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