Fred Cole, frontman for the long-running and cultishly beloved Portland underground rock trio Dead Moon, has died. Cole’s wife Toody announced on the website of their current band Pierced Arrows that Cole died of cancer in his sleep last night. Cole was 69. Here’s the announcement:
Cole was playing in bands for decades before starting Dead Moon. He began with the garage rock band the Lords in 1965, and “You Must Be A Witch,” a 1968 single from his band the Lollipop Shoppe, is a minor garage rock classic. Cole married his wife Toody in 1967, and 20 years later, they founded the band Dead Moon with drummer Andrew Loomis (who died last year). Dead Moon made a raw, fuzzed-out, intense form of garage-rock that fit nicely with the wilder edges of punk and underground rock.
Dead Moon toured relentlessly for many years, releasing 10 albums and building a small but fervent fanbase. They’ve been covered by bands ranging from Pearl Jam to Grouper to Japandroids, and they were the subject of a 2004 documentary called Unknown Passage: The Dead Moon Story. Dead Moon broke up in 2006, and Fred and Toody Cole went on to form a new band called Pierced Arrows. Below, watch a few videos of Dead Moon playing live.