November 14th, the Titanics reunited (with Jay Parham on
bass) as part of two benefit shows for Stephen Fredette at
T.T. the Bear's in Cambridge. Stephen, of course,
is Dave (the Duc d'Istortion) Fredette's brother and a member of the extended
Upper Crust family in his own right by virtue of his occasional stints with the Titanics and
Satanics -- not to mention his excellent
artwork (42k) that graces the Upper Crust T-shirt.
Unfortunately, Stephen has recently had some serious medical problems: he had a defective heart valve,
which was successfully repaired. His problems were compounded, however, when he suffered a stroke
while in intensive care following the heart valve surgery. Thankfully, he's almost fully recovered.
His medical expenses were covered, but he missed work for two months; that's what prompted these two
shows. Among the bands that appeared over the two nights are people that Stephen has played
with in the past and/or bands for whom he's designed T-shirts.
Here's the lineup, as seen on T.T. the Bear's web
site (which adds "bands subject to change"):
Thursday, November 13th: Charlie Chesterman & The Legendary Motorbikes, Sir David James Minehan
& His Loyal Knights, Boy Wonder, Wheelers & Dealers, Serum, Pete Weiss.
Friday, November 14th: Crown Electric Company, Titanics, Eric Martin & The Illyrians, Lazy
Susan, Elbow, The Gravy.
If you went to one or both of these shows, please e-mail me at
firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll add your comments to this page. Here are two messages I've already received,
along with some memories of the Titanics and Stephen Fredette from a long-time Titanics and Upper Crust
fan and an article from the Boston Globe about the benefit.
- Eric Martin & Illyrians were pretty damn good... but the show of the
night was clearly The Titanics. They were maybe a little sloppy but still
rocked, despite Dave's comments about how they sounded just like they used
to: "out of tune"... Nat did slip into the Bendover persona at first, but
some idiot yelled "wrong persona" and he seemed bemused. [Editor's note: Had I been there,
I would have been the idiot who would have yelled "That persona's non grata!"]
It was great to hear the old songs again. They played mixed Titanics and Satanics... Only about 1/3rd of the songs
on the set list I saw were played, including:
Fuck You Up
Right Side Of Satan
Number Of The Beast
Turn Around On A Dime
Ahead Of The Game
High On Drugs
Rock Hard Cock
They were unfortunately unable to comply with many requests for old
covers, like Brandy, or some of the near-end Satanics songs like Crotch
- The benefit for Stephen Fredette was a rousing success (and a
fantastically great time) last night. Even with a snowstorm the club was
pretty well packed by the time the Titanics took the stage. It was great
I saw part of Elbow's set. They were very good (had an excellent
Next up was Lazy Susan. It was a treat to see them again. They opened
up MANY shows for the Titanics and Satanics way back when. Their lead
singer, Therese Bellino, actually sang back up vocals on the Satanics
LP. It was a mostly acoustic set, which was a bit different but
sounded fabulous. They were joined, on mandolin, by Stephen Fredette !!!
They were followed by Eric Martin and the Illyrians. Eric is a
stupendous singer/songwriter/musician (he used to be in The Neats) and
the set he and the band put on was sooooo rockin !!! The group included
Randall Gibson on drums. Randall, you may remember, used to play with
Nat Freedberg in The Flies but he left after their first LP to join
Scruffy The Cat (w/ Stephen Fredette).
And then it was time for THE TITANICS! The first words out of Nat's
mouth were "This may be kinda sloppy. We only rehearsed once and that
was ten years ago." In spite of this statement they played admirably
well. Last night's lineup consisted of Nat and Dave Fredette on guitars.
Jay Parham on bass and Fred Nazzarro on drums. They played many faves
such as: "Man's Inhumanity To Man," "Stayin' On The Right Side Of Satan,"
"High On Drugs," "Going Out Of My Way To Be Nice To You," "Turn Around On A
Dime" and "Totally Mystified." Nat then asked the soundman how much time
they had left. He was shown 5 fingers and started saying "Oh 5 songs,
that's a lot more music" but Dave interjected and asked if they meant 5
songs or 5 minutes. Alas, it was only 5 mins (T.T.'s is near a
residential area and are required to close promptly at 1AM). The band
then pulled out (no pun intended) Rock Hard Cock which was a bitchin'
ending to a great (though short) set.
One truly riotous note; Nat kept lapsing into his Lord Bendover
persona (the accent and attitide). I think it's so ingrained by now that
he just can't help it.
Crown Electric Company finished off the night with a fantastically
FUNKY set. At one point, one of the singers kind of toasted Stephen
Fredette and commented it was too bad he had to go through heart surgery
for the Titanics to get back together...
Before I end my ramblings; two notes of interest. 1) I did see Jim
Janota enter the club shortly before The Titanics took the stage. 2) I
also spotted Mark Sandman from Morphine in the audience - pretty cool.
I was unable to attend the Thursday night's show; Charlie Chesterman
from Scruffy The Cat, Dave Minehan from The Neighborhoods - DAMN, I
missed them !!! If you get any reports on this show please post them.
I'd love to hear how it was.
Reminder -- e-mail me at
email@example.com and I'll add your comments to this page.
Memories of the Titanics & Stephen Fredette
- There was a great show at The Rat... Nat had been treated to several rounds of Tequila and
by the encore he was mangling lyrics quite creatively... All Hung Up, for instance, ended up
something like this:
Girl I tried to open your mind
Tried to give you love in your behind
Amazingly, he then accepted "Rebel, Rebel" as a request... Problem was that the band knew the music,
but Nat didn't really know the words (except for the "Rebel, Rebel" part). So after the intro, Nat
is basically going "I don't know the words... Rebel rebel..." Fortunately, Stephen, who knows
all kinds of pop songs, stepped up and saved the day, singing the entire song. (Nat chipped in on
Later, we requested "10 Foot Pole" and Stephen started it off, but it ground to a halt as Nat didn't
recall the mouth sounds... During the early Titanics days they played a lot of covers, including
stuff like "Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto", "Brandy", "Aufweidersen", etc. One night they
played this really short song called "10 Foot Pole". It was bloody near incoherent because it is
extremely uptempo. Anyway, it was totally brilliant... afterwards Nat admitted (on mic) that he
didn't know "all the words". (He has also said that about "Out Of The Frying Pan").
(People who've followed the Titanics from way back seem to have made a practice of requesting the song.
It was played by request at what was possibly the best Titanics show ever at the MIT student center. I
was an undergrad at the time, so this was like having them play in my living room. Beers were $0.25
each (no joke) and they played without an opening act, with one break, for about 3 hours. At the end,
they were basically out of songs.)
Stephen also played with The Satanics at least once... this was actually before The Satanics were an
official "real" band. The Titanics used to play almost every weekend, but that wasn't enough
for them, so they would play out under other names to keep the booking agency from getting pissed off.
I recall shows as The Cannabolics, The Satanics, and "Tie-Tan-Icks".
Rockin' from the heart
by Jim Sullivan.
© Copyright 1997
Globe Newspaper Company. Used without permission. Hope
they don't mind. Buy an extra copy of the Globe today.
If you go to T.T. the Bear's Place in Central Square tonight or tomorrow
night, you might spot a guy sitting in the middle of the dance floor, watching
six bands each night wail away. That guy would be Stephen Fredette.
Tonight's bands are Charlie Chesterman, Sir David James Minehan and his
Royal Knights, Boy Wonder, Wheelers & Dealers, Serum, and Pete Weiss
and His Rock Band; on tap tomorrow are Crown Electric Company, the
Titanics, Eric Martin & the Illyrians, Lazy Susan, Elbow, and the Gravy.
Tickets are $8 (cheap).
Why does Fredette - a guitarist in Custer, Pete Weiss and the Rock Band,
and Thing From Venus - get to park himself? He's the reason the bands have
banded together. On Sept. 18, Fredette, who is 41, underwent successful
surgery to repair a defective heart valve. While in intensive care, he suffered
a stroke. "It was a pretty adventurous time, though it was a pretty mild
stroke," he says. "When it first happened, I lost use of my left side. It was
like having the rug pulled out from under me again." But now, he says, he's
95 percent mended: "If you talk to me you'd have no idea something
happened. The only thing I have left is numbness in my left arm."
Insurance covered the operations, but Fredette lost two months pay at his
day job at a frame shop.
"He's just a prince," says Pat McGrath, guitarist for Wheelers & Dealers.
"I'd play all day several days for him." McGrath and Fredette were
roommates for three years, and McGrath credits his buddy with teaching him
to play. "A lot of people make music seem like a magic trick, try to keep it
exclusive, and he was of the opposite school," McGrath says. "He was so
Boston rockers, it seems, are ready to perform a benefit at the drop of, well,
a quarter. Eric Martin of the Illyrians recalls that in '81 when fire struck the
Allston house where he and his bandmates in the Neats lived, a benefit was
organized within a week.
Fredette may join Lazy Susan for a couple of songs. Aside from that, he
says, "I feel obliged to show people the kind of kindness they're showing
me. I'll wing it."