Last night, Lawrence Block sent me a link to Fred Cole’s obituary. Mr. Cole was 69 and died of liver disease. I was aware that he had been ill, but was not aware of the extent of his illness.
Much of the coverage of Mr. Cole’s career focuses on Dead Moon, the Portland, OR-based punk band he formed with his wife. The band lasted from 1987 to 2015, and was marked by a raw, sloppy-but-muscular attack that echoed the Stooges and presaged the White Stripes. Most of the group’s work was issued exclusively on vinyl, cut on Cole’s mono lathe that had been used for the single of the Kingsmen’s “Louie, Louie.”
However, the first time I heard the group, I recognized something familiar about Mr. Cole’s voice. After some brief digging, I discovered that he had been the vocalist for The Lollipop Shoppe, the garage band best known for 1968’s “You Must Be A Witch“, a track immortalized on Rhino’s 4-CD Nuggets box set. Cole’s reedy yelp is unmistakable.
And so it’s with a Lollipop Shoppe song that I’ll bid Mr. Cole adieu. I heard this one over the weekend via my favorite garage stream. The song was recorded for the 1968 bikesploitation flick Angels from Hell, which also included pop-psychsters The Peanut Butter Conspiracy on the soundtrack. This is “Who’s It Gonna Be?”
Thanks for the music, Mr. Cole, and a tip of the Mondo Mortarboard to Mr. Block.