Veteran San Diego musician and visual artist Erik “Rick” Froberg, best known for his work as guitarist and lead singer with the band Drive Like Jehu, has passed away, according to a bandmate. He was 55 years old.
Guitarist John Rees shared, “Rick passed away suddenly last night (Friday) of natural causes.” Instagram, “His art made life better. The only thing he loved more than art and rock n’ roll were his friends. He will always 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.”
A longtime Encinitas resident, Froberg was born in Los Angeles and played with Reece in several San Diego-based bands, including Pitchfork and Hot Snakes. Separately, Froberg also played with the bands Last of the Juanitas, Thingy and Obits.
The Los Angeles Times credited them with “bringing math rock’s kinky, over-the-top sound into the mainstream”.
As a visual artist and illustrator, Froberg created album art, promotional artwork and merchandise designs for all of his bands as well as Reece’s band Rocket from the Crypt and Swami Records labels.
In 2022, the Trash Lamb Gallery in San Diego’s South Park neighborhood featured an exhibition of posters Froberg created for the area’s underground music scene, titled “Let My People Go: Art and Illustration 1988 to Present.”
Froberg was also known under the pseudonyms Rick Fork and Rick Farr and performed on over 20 albums. His last full album with Hot Snakes, “Jericho Sirens”, was released in 2018.
His group Obits broke up in 2015 but released the live album “Die at the Zoo” in 2021. It was recorded in Brisbane, Australia in 2012 while the band was on tour.
Two weeks ago on Instagram, Froberg posted several new photos of himself and told fans, “Hot Snakes, by the way, is working on a new record – very close – so stay tuned.”
The reunion show of seminal San Diego band Drive Like Jehu at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion may have been the greatest show ever on this site – FM 94/9’s Tim Piles talks with John Reiss, Rick Froberg and San Diego Civic Organist Carroll Williams . (Thanks to @x0xMaximus for additional footage: http://spreckelsorgan.org)