Rick Froberg, Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes frontman, dies aged 55

“He will forever be remembered for his creativity, vision and his ability to bring beauty into this world,” bandmate John Reis writes.

Rick Froberg

Image: Mariano Regidor / Getty Images

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Rick Froberg, the frontman and guitarist of post-hardcore outfits Drive By Jehu, Hot Snakes, and more, has died at the age of 55.

Froberg’s passing was confirmed by longtime collaborator John Reis, who wrote on Instagram that “Rick passed away suddenly last night from natural causes. 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 and raised in Encinitas, Froberg began his musical journey as a teenager, playing in various bands in the San Diego area. In 1986, he formed the post-hardcore band Pitchfork along with Reis, and together, released an EP and an album titled Eucalyptus in 1990.

After Pitchfork disbanded, Froberg and Reis joined forces with members of Night Soil Man to create Drive Like Jehu. With Froberg serving as singer and guitarist, the group released their eponymous debut album in 1991, followed by the critically acclaimed Yank Crime in 1994. Despite releasing just two albums, the band — whose music is characterised by odd time signatures and intricate guitar playing, has often been credited for their lasting influence on the post-hardcore movement.

While Drive Like Jehu eventually split up as Reis’ other band, Rocket From the Crypt, grew increasingly successful, Froberg remained active in the music scene. In 1999, the pair came together once again to form Hot Snakes. After releasing three albums in the early 2000s, the band went on hiatus in 2005, before reforming in 2010 and releasing another album, Jericho Sirens in 2018.

A couple weeks ago, the musician posted on his Instagram account that a fifth Hot Snakes record was “very nearly done”. Beyond his musical endeavours, Froberg was also known for creating album art and merchandise designs for all of his bands, as well as for Rocket from the Crypt and Reis’ Swami Records label.

Tributes from fellow artists and fans alike have poured in following the news of Froberg’s passing. “I cannot, at all, handle this Rick Froberg news,” Maggie Vail of Hurry Up tweeted. “Front person of my favorite band(s), gem of a human, a million memories and all of them brilliant.”

Read more tributes below.


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