Rick Froberg, the singer and guitarist in post-hardcore bands Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes, has died at the age of 55.
Longtime collaborator John Reis, who played with Froberg since the mid-Eighties when they were members of the San Diego band Pitchfork, confirmed Froberg’s death Saturday on Instagram.
“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.”
Born in Los Angeles and raised in Encinitas, Froberg first began playing music as a teenager in San Diego-area bands before forming the quartet Pitchfork with guitarist Reis in 1986. That outfit released one album, 1990’s Eucalyptus, before Froberg and Reis splintered off into Drive Like Jehu, a post-hardcore band that infused the genre’s noisy template with complex time signatures and extended song lengths.
With Froberg serving as singer and rhythm guitarist, Drive Like Jehu released two albums in the first half of the Nineties, their 1991 self-titled LP and 1994’s Yank Crime, with the acclaimed latter album gaining a cult following in both the math rock and emo communities.
Drive Like Jehu broke up in 1995, at which point Reis focused on his punk act Rocket From the Crypt — which Froberg, also an illustrator and visual artist, contributed album art to — but the two once again reunited at the turn of the millennium to form Hot Snakes. That group released three studio albums in the first half of the Aughts, including the 2004 standout Audit in Progress.
Hot Snakes went into hiatus in 2005, at which point Froberg formed another group, Obits. That band lasted five years before Hot Snakes reunited again in 2018 for Jericho Sirens. Just two weeks ago, Froberg posted on his Instagram that the Hot Snakes’ fifth album was “very near done.”