Fred owned Tombstone Music, a guitar and amp shop, in the suburb of Clackamas. He recorded his own band and pressed his own records. He owned a record press. Dead Moon toured the world. Fred Cole was a role model for Portland's early DIY culture. (For a more detailed history of Fred Cole's life in music, here's wikipedia.)
Fred's actions touched me directly in many ways that I wasn't aware of initially. Two stories come to mind immediately.
Back in the mid 1980's, Fred employed a kid named Kelly Manahan at Tombstone Music. And that's where Kelly learned his guitar shop skills. He also drew the famous Dead Moon logo. These days, Kelly is one of the owners of Centaur Guitar. My old studio, PermaPress Recording, shared a lease with Centaur. Tombstone is no longer running, but you sure can feel it's presence when you're in Centaur Guitar. In 2007, I needed to find a new location for my recording gear. I may not have survived that studio move without the building lease partnership I had with Centaur. It's not right on the surface, easy to see, but Fred deserves a little bit of credit in Centaur's and PermaPress's existence. Centaur was their spawn....and I was the weird neighborhood kid that clung along.
The second story that comes to mind involves The Nice Boys. They were the first post-Exploding Hearts band featuring Terry Six. Their other guitar player, Gabe - was he still going by Amphetamine Blue - really wanted to have some Rickenbacker 12 string on their record which I was recording at my first little studio in SW Portland, Studio 13. And Fred loaned one to us! I heard some controversy later about the return of the guitar.....but that's an amazing person....A guy who owns a guitar shop and he loans a guitar to a neighborhood punk for a recording session. That's truly, truly, truly beyond generous.
Of course, there's the music too....But I wanted to tell you a couple of around town stories I have of Fred. If you can find them, ask any old Portlander about Dead Moon and most people will tell you an "in the bar" Loomis story.....But you'll also hear a lot of stories about Fred and his amazing heart.
Fred had that effect on lots of people.....that's why Los Angeles is paying him tribute. It's an honor to get to play a tune on this special night. I'm looking forward to hearing Toody, Fred's wife and Dead Moon's bassist, play too.