Five Firsts: Fred Boak of the Chandler Travis Philharmonic

June 18th, 2013, 10:00 am by Greg
Fred Boak

Fred Boak (photo by Cliff

NAME: Fred Boak
Philharmonic (and Chandler Travis Three-O)

INSTRUMENT: Voice, Vuvuzela and Valet to Chandler

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … The Beatles’ Let It Be – pretty sure I got both the 45 and the LP at the same time. I definitely remember being totally entranced by “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” (the flip of the “Let It Be” 45) and the fact that the single and album versions of “Let it Be” were different – oh, that Leslie guitar solo!

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … I like to say Frank Zappa (at age 15), though I saw both Woody Herman & His Young Thundering Herd and Maynard Ferguson play shows at the local high school, plus a whole bunch of classical shows, and I think even Nick Seeger at some Boy Scout event before that. But on my own, paying with my own money … Frank. Great lineup, too – Terry Bozzio on drums, Adrian Belew on guitar, Patrick O’Hearn on bass, Tommy Mars & Peter Wolf on keyboards, Ed Mann on percussion – the same lineup as in the “Baby Snakes” movie.

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3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … My parents’ piano. I took lessons for a few years, too – helped me learn how to read music, for sure, but I could never coordinate my right & left hands well enough. I tried both cello & double-bass in my elementary & junior high years, too. Oh, and somewhere I still have my first recorder – a wooden one, without the “cheater” double-pinky holes – that I got when I was in kindergarten.

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … Pretty sure it was “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” – definitely some Christmas tune. At age 3 & 1/2 or 4 & 1/2, for the senior citizens’ group at Freedom Plains Presbyterian Church (LaGrangeville, NY), where my father was the minister for 30 years. There used to be a reel-to-reel recording of that performance, too – but I have no idea what happened to it. Hopefully, it’s in my basement somewhere.

5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … Rivendell. They had been called Pendragon before I joined. I think this was eighth or ninth grade. My audition was basically at a party – I sang along to Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” including the big scream at the end … voila, I was in the band. We played a few danceable tunes, lots of art-rock (Genesis, Yes, Kansas, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd) and our one original was called “The Transexual Song.” One of our first gigs was at a local Boy Scout event, playing on the big stage of the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie with a tiny little PA. But I remember we got to hang out in the dressing room before we went on stage, and that was extremely cool.

Today is Fred Boak’s birthday, and he’ll be celebrating all week long with a batch of Chandler Travis shows around Nippertown. The Chandler Travis Three-O heads into Dogwood in Beacon at 8:30pm on Wednesday (June 19), followed by a stop the Dream Away Lodge in Becket at 8:30pm on Thursday (June 20). Then the bulks up to become the Chandler Travis Philharmonic for shows at Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs on Friday (June 21) and also at P.S. 21 in Chatham at 6pm on Sunday (June 23). Happy birthday, Fred.