- Fred Cole- guitar
- Toody Cole- bass
To call Fred Cole a “living legend” is like saying, “Yes, and water is wet.” A true frontiersman without peer, Fred has blazed his own sonic trail for over 45 years, resulting in leaving his own unique, indelible stamp on nearly every genre imaginable. And if he wasn’t directly part of a particular scene or musical aesthetic, you can be damn sure he was at least an influence on it. His musical career took root as “Deep Soul Cole,” singing blue-eyed soul with an all-black backing band. After that he fronted The Weeds, who produced a regional hit in the Northwest (Fred’s adopted home) with the slate-hard “It’s Your Time.” Lord Tim Byron, The Weeds’ manager who they shared with The Seeds, told Fred and co. to change their name as they couldn’t be sharing bills with a band whose name rhymed with their own. They settled on The Lollipop Shoppe (a less appropriate moniker seemingly unavailable) the band reached the murky depths of the Top 100 with one of punk’s finest moments: “You Must Be a Witch.” To this day, their follow-up LP bursts forth with moody, angry psych/garage scorchers that are as dark and strong as your favorite cup of coffee.
Fred would soon unleash his unique take on the hard rock sounds of the 70s with groups like Zipper and Kingbee. But the musical tide was turning, and, as before, he was determined to ride that wave into oblivion. Now joined by his wife, Toody Cole, on bass and vocals, Fred formed The Rats, who became a popular live act. They also put out several fine punk rock/new wave LPs (at the time the two genres were basically one and the same).
Eventually The Rats mutated into Dead Moon, arguably the end result of all the rough-and-ready sounds the Coles had produced in the past, boiled down to a single, perfectly aimed shot. The blood-red raw rock ’n’ roll of Dead Moon answered to a call of rage and hope. The band took hold in Western Europe, much of it the then-Soviet Bloc, and then proceeded to storm America in a non-violent coup (barring mental violence, that is). One could say that Fred had peaked and could rightfully rest on his laurels when, after a staggering 20-year campaign and a fervent fan following, Dead Moon called it a day.
But that’s not how our story ends.
While some of Dead Moon’s more ardent fans went into mourning, figuratively waving rosaries and holy cards, Fred and Toody were already auditioning drummers in search of someone who could not only keep a good beat, but someone who would be willing to follow them in a new direction. After agreeing on drummer Kelly Haliburton, Pierced Arrows was born.
The new name seems to evoke the saying “If you cut me, I will bleed.” Not that any of us want to see that literally happen, but Pierced Arrows, just like Fred’s previous bands, bleeds all over their performances and records with such wrought emotion it only took one 45 to prove that the band was the worthy successor to Dead Moon. Ma and Pa Cole’s General Store has reopened for business, producing “rock ’n’ roll that’s rough, ragged, and honest,” as Fred once described their predecessor’s collective output. It’s both a new sound and an inheritor of tradition.
A Pierced Arrows performance is a form of communion. They are there to see you just as much as you are to see them. You are not likely to find them cowering in a backstage corner. Though they are there to work, and work hard, don’t be surprised to find them hanging with friends and fans, checking out the opening act. Fred and Toody have always done it their way. This is their life’s work, and life is just the beginning if you really believe.
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