Rick Froberg, Singer of Artful Intensity, Is Dead at 55

Eric Gerald Froberg was born on Jan. 19, 1968, in Santa Monica, Calif., to Eric and Sylvia (Phillips) Froberg. His father, a business consultant and entrepreneur, legally changed the Swedish family name from Froberg to Farr in 1979; Mr. Froberg used the ancestral surname professionally, though he sometimes signed his artwork “Rick Farr” or “Rick Fork.”

His parents divorced soon after his birth, and he never had a relationship with his birth mother, who died in 1992. His father married Lynne Wacker, a sales training manager for Hooked on Phonics, in 1973. The family lived in Glendale and Playa del Rey before moving to Carlsbad when Mr. Froberg was 8. He lived primarily in the North County area of San Diego until he moved to Brooklyn.

He married Amelia Halverson in 2003. They divorced in 2015. In addition to Ms. Neubacher, he is survived by his father, his stepmother and three younger brothers, Christopher, Justin and Gregory.

In 1999 Mr. Reis formed a new band, Hot Snakes. Dissatisfied with his own vocals, he sent a cassette to Mr. Froberg, who agreed to join even though they lived on different coasts. In contrast to Drive Like Jehu’s distortion, Hot Snakes favored a clean guitar sound and short, efficient tunes, Mr. Reis said, “letting Rick’s voice and the attack of the pick carry the power.”

Mr. Froberg also sang and played guitar from 2006 to 2015 in the Brooklyn band Obits, which released three albums on Sub Pop. The name was Mr. Froberg’s idea, said Sohrab Habibion, Obits’ other guitarist, a comment on ageism in music.

Painters, photographers and filmmakers can grow old, Mr. Habibion said, “and jazz musicians and classical players are allowed to get long in the tooth. But rock ’n’ roll is stuck in this youth culture rut, so we wanted to put a stake in the ground and say that middle-aged people could make rock music that was relevant, vital and worthy of being part of the cultural conversation.”


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