"Fred." The very name strikes a chord in the hearts and minds of lovers of great names.
Born in 1908 in Kankakee, Illinois, Fred was named after his father, Fred. Despite his early love of music, he would soon become internationally adored as a star of both the small and silver screens as well as the visual inspiration for one of America's most cherished comic book icons. In fact... oops. Wrong Fred. Sorry.
Fred (the barbershop quartet, not that other guy) was formed in 1991 when four members of Marietta, Georgia's Big Chicken Chorus decided that they were better without all the extra dead weight. Many audiences and professional coaches would argue that were probably wrong.
Seeking a name for the newly formed quartet, the four plucky members spent an hour discussing possibilities before they all became too tired and disgusted with one another to continue. Fed up with all the great possibilities, they compromised on the name "Fred," thereby proving Andrew Carnegie's maxim that "strong men don't compromise."
Despite having performed for less than a year as a quartet, with members who had never previously sung their parts before in any previous barbershop quartet, Fred won their very first district competition, the 1991 Dixie District Quartet Championship. Whether this is because of Fred's unique sense of humor, readily-apparent team chemistry, or a terribly weak field is still the cause of much great debate.
Despite this early feat, it would be nearly a decade before Fred could duplicate their success against real competition on an international level, finally winning the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America (SPEBSQSA) Barbershop Quartet Gold Medal at the 1999 International Convention in Anaheim, California. Shortly thereafter, SPEBSQSA, Inc. changed its name to the Barbershop Harmony Society, no doubt out of embarassment.
Meanwhile, Fred worked hard to win over fans through live and recorded performances alike, with appearances on such wide ranging television programming from PBS's "Can't Stop Singing," a reverent review of barbershop harmony, to FX's "Penn & Teller's Sin City Spectacular," where they sang their unique barbershop take on Eric Clapton's "Cocaine." Following years of dedication to their craft, Fred achieved the greatest dream known to all performing acts: they sold out. Fred happily
performs in commercials for southeastern automotive chain Kauffmann Tire. (Unexpectedly, it turns out that success smells a lot like fresh rubber.)
Never ones to rest on their laurels, Fred has spanned the globe, entertaining unsuspecting audiences with their unique blend of harmony and humor. Now nearing two decades of performing, Fred has threatened to continue to perform until their voices give out.