Music by VICE

Fred Cole of Influential Punk Band Dead Moon Has Died

The singer and guitarist passed away Thursday, November 9, following a battle with cancer.

by Colin Joyce
Nov 10 2017, 9:26pm

Dead Moon in 1999 (Fred Cole, far right)/Photo by Anthony Pidgeon/Redferns via Getty Images

Fred Cole, singer and guitarist for the influential punk bands Dead Moon and Pierced Arrows, has died. Per a post on a Dead Moon fan Facebook group, Cole died Thursday night, following a battle with cancer. A representative for Cole confirmed the news of his passing. On October 21, a post on Pierced Arrows' Facebook page said that Cole had been hospitalized with bleeding in his liver. He was 69 years old.

Cole, along with his wife Toody and drummer Andrew Loomis, formed Dead Moon in Portland in 1987. Over the years, the band earned a reputation for their unhinged and openhearted blend of grimy garage-punk and dusty country-rock tropes, and for their status as outsiders in the industry with a DIY mentality. They would reportedly not tour the whole United States until 1994, despite the fact they'd released half a dozen studio records—as well as a few compilations and live albums—before doing so. Over the years, the band was heralded by other musicians born of the the Pacific Northwest underground, including Eddie Vedder and Grouper, among many others.

Outside of Dead Moon, Cole participated in over a dozen bands in six different decades. A 2015 Noisey interview, observed that he and Toody were two of the only people on the planet who could claim to be "hippies in the '60s, punks in the '70s, and 40-year-old DIY pioneers in the '80s." In 1966, one of Cole's early bands, the Weeds, drew attention in the garage rock scene for a single called "It's Your Time," which would eventually end up on a volume of the esteemed Nuggets compilation.

In 2007, after Dead Moon broke up for the first time, Fred and Toody started Pierced Arrows with drummer Kelly Halliburton, going on to release a pair of studio records (their second, Descending Shadows, came out on VICE Records). In 2014, Dead Moon reunited sporadically for live shows, until Loomis' death last year.

Voodoo Doughnuts Recordings, which issued a Dead Moon live album earlier this year, remembered Cole shared a statement via email. "We are at a loss for words on the passing of such a remarkable human being," They wrote. "He was the real fucking deal. No one lived life to its fullest like Fred did. The true embodiment of rock and roll. Our love and thoughts go out to the wonderful Toody and their children at this time."

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