After successful tours in the UK and US East coast, Fred Abong will soon be touring the West Coast and Midwest with Kristin Hersh and playing several live dates with the influential art-punk band Throwing Muses in support of his new ‘Pulsing’ EP, a six-track offering released in spring of 2019.
It is fitting that Abong should join Throwing Muses on these first live dates since their 2014 American tour. Perhaps best known as bass player in Throwing Muses during the ‘Real Ramona’ period, Abong also co-founded the Grammy-nominated alt-rock band Belly with Tanya Donnely. But Abong has been immersed in academia for the last nine years, completing a Ph.D. in Humanities and then working as an adjunct professor in the Religious Studies, Philosophy, and English Departments at various universities.
In early September, Abong will be opening shows for Kristin Hersh’s West Coast and Midwest tour. There, he also takes part in her electric trio, together with Rob Ahlers, who is drummer in Hersh’s other band 50FOOTWAVE.
Abong’s latest ‘Pulsing’ EP follows up his ‘Homeless’ EP, released in 2018 and preceded by the well-received lead track ‘Firefly’. His solo music is alternately described as “ragged Replacements” and “Elliott Smith with balls”.
“This EP was inspired by life and life events. You can fill in the blanks here to your satisfaction – relationships, loss, death, ecstasy, identity, longing, transformation, frustration, desire, love, hate, etc.,” says Fred Abong.
“Songs are only one possible manifestation of the inspiration that informs existence; and if that’s true, then maybe focusing less on the specifics of the inspiration behind someone’s songs and more on the pervasiveness of inspiration in each of our lives would be of more benefit and utility. Your own life, in other words, is just one song after another. You should listen to those first. If you want some company after that, then by all means give the songs on Pulsing a listen.”
Prior to being in Throwing Muses and Belly, Fred was active as a drummer and bass player in numerous bands centered on the Newport, RI hardcore punk scene, which gave rise to bands like Vicious Circle and Verbal Assault. Partly because of these DIY roots, Fred left the music ‘business’ after the release of Belly’s ‘Star’ in 1992, choosing instead to quietly and independently pursue his own music.
Abong recently contributed bass on Kristin Hersh’s new ‘Possible Dust Clouds’ album, released in late 2018 via Fire Recordings, as well as working with Rhode Island-Boston collective The Pull of Autumn, for which he contributed ‘Vanishing Spell’ and ‘Equinox’.
Even earlier, he worked with Tanya Donelly, former bandmate in both Throwing Muses and Belly, on the song ‘Snow Goose and Me’ for her 2016 ‘Swan Song’ series, a track that ABC News dubbed “a moody, expressive bit of songwriting that will demand repeat listens”.
5. Meet Me
6. The Wire
TOUR DATES (with THROWING MUSES / KRISTIN HERSH)
Aug. 23 Boston, MA – City Winery (with Throwing Muses)
Aug. 24 Boston, MA – City Winery (with Throwing Muses)
Aug. 30 San Diego, CA – Soda Bar (with Throwing Muses)
Sept 06 Pioneertown, CA – Pappy + Harriet’s
Sept 08 Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar
Sept 09 Albuquerque, NM – The Launchpad
Sept 10 Denver, CO – Hi-Dive
Sept 12 Omaha, NE – Slowdown
Sept 14 Minneapolis, MN – Cedar Cultural Center
Sept 15 Milwaukee, WI – Shank Hall
Sept 17 Cleveland, OH – Music Box Supper Club
Sept 19 Pittsburgh, PA – Crafthouse
Sept 20 Columbus, OH – Rumba Cafe
Sept 21 Indy, IN – Holler on the Hill Fest
Sept 22 Chicago, IL – Schubas Tavern
Sept 25 Seattle, WA – Tractor Tavern
Sept 26 Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
Sept 29 San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill
Nov. 10 London, UK – The Jazz Cafe