American singer and guitarist Rick Froberg, a founding member of influential post-hardcore bands Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes, has died at the age of 55.
Froberg’s passing was confirmed by his longtime bandmate John Reis on Instagram earlier today (July 2). “Rick passed away suddenly last night from natural causes,” Reis wrote.
“His art made life better. The only thing he loved more than art and rock n roll was his friends. He will forever be remembered for his creativity, vision and his ability to bring beauty into this world. I love you, Rick. I will miss you for the rest of my life.”
Born in Los Angeles, California in 1968, one of Froberg’s earliest musical projects was the San Diego-based band Pitchfork, which he formed with Reis in 1986. Following Pitchfork’s disbandment in 1990, the pair formed Drive Like Jehu alongside bassist Mike Kennedy and drummer Mark Trombino.
Their self-titled debut album was released the following year, with follow-up ‘Yank Crime’ arriving in 1994. Pairing the aggression of hardcore punk with unconventional structures and more intricate, progressive songwriting, the band played a major role in shaping emo. At the Drive-In‘s Cedric Bixler-Zavala has cited Drive Like Jehu’s work as a direct influence on his band.
Drive Like Jehu ceased activity in 1995. In 1999, Froberg and Reis reunited to form Hot Snakes with bassist Gar Wood and drummer Jason Kourkounis. The band released three albums – 2000 debut ‘Automatic Midnight’, 2002’s ‘Suicide Invoice’ and 2004’s ‘Audit in Progress’ before breaking up in 2005.
They reunited in 2011, releasing fourth album ‘Jericho Sirens’ in 2018. Last month, Froberg shared on Instagram that Hot Snakes were “working on a new record” and were “very near” to finishing it. Other bands Froberg recorded music and performed with included Obits and Last of the Juanitas.
Among those to have paid tribute to Froberg since news of his death emerged is bassist Brian Cook, formerly of Botch and These Arms are Snakes, and currently a member of Russian Circles and Sumac.
“I can’t understate Rick Froberg’s sonic influence and inspiration when it comes to Botch and These Arms Are Snakes,” Cook wrote on Twitter. “Thank you for the music and rest in peace, Rick.”