R.I.P. Rick Froberg of Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes

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Hot Snakes FYF Fest 2012

Rick Froberg, singer/guitarist in influential San Diego bands Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes, has died, according to a social media post from his bandmate, John Reis. He was 55.

“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.”

Froberg played in a number of influential San Diego punk and post-hardcore bands since the 1980s. He formed Pitchfork with Reis when they were teenagers, and after the band broke up in 1990, the two musicians started Drive Like Jehu with drummer Mark Trombino and bassist Mike Kennedy. They released their self-titled debut album in 1991, which they followed up in 1994 with Yank Crime, which is seen as the band’s defining work.

Jehu dissolved not long after the release of Yank Crime, and while Reis continued recording and touring with his band Rocket from the Crypt, he and Froberg reconvened in 1999 with Hot Snakes, who released four albums, starting with Automatic Midnight in 2000. Their most recent album was 2018’s Jericho Sirens, which they released after an on-and-off series of touring since 2011, when they reunited after a seven-year break.

In 2014, Drive Like Jehu reunited at Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion to play their first show in nearly 20 years, and afterward lined up their first tour in nearly as long. Froberg also performed in Obits, Last of the Juanitas and Thingy. He was also a designer and illustrator who designed the cover art for both Hot Snakes and Drive Like Jehu albums, as well as releases by Metz, Coliseum, Beehive and the Barracudas, Mr. Tube and the Flying Objects, Rocket from the Crypt and Sparta. Earlier this month, he shared on Instagram that the new album by Hot Snakes was “very nearly done.”

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