“His art made life better,” wrote his friend and bandmate John Reis
Rick Froberg, influential frontman for caustic alt-rock greats Drive Like Jehu, died on Friday at the age of 55.
Longtime bandmate John Reis confirmed his passing on Saturday via a message on Instagram, revealing he “passed away suddenly last night from natural causes.”
“His art made life better,” Reis wrote. “The only thing he loved more than art and rock and 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.”
Drive Like Jehu, along with Reis’s other band Rocket From The Crypt, were both picked up by Interscope Records in the early 90s. Jehu’s 1994 album Yank Crime is rightfully considered one of the best albums of the decade, influencing such groups as At The Drive-In, Modest Mouse and Thursday. When the band broke up in 1995, Froberg and Reis–who were also in a killer band in the 80s called Pitchfork–formed Hot Snakes, who recorded four studio albums together, while Froberg himself would start his own band Obits, who released three fantastic records on Sub Pop and most recently put out the Australian live album Die at the Zoo in 2021 on the Outer Battery imprint.
In addition to music, Froberg was an illustrator who designed some pretty classic album covers for his bands as well as for Rocket from the Crypt, Sparta, Coliseum and METZ among others.
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Drive Like Jehu reunited in 2014 for a performance at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in San Diego’s Balboa Park and later played festivals including Coachella.
“I’ve heard that we’ve inspired people, and that’s great,” Froberg told this writer in 2014 for the long-defunct Wondering Sound. “To clarify: I, personally, don’t think of DLJ as a post-hardcore group as the group itself was not inspired by hardcore. We had had it up to here with hardcore well before we started DLJ. That said, it’s nice to be the inspiration for just about anything, provided it isn’t a murder or something.”