Schneider playing a cowbell at Lovebox, London in 2007.
|Birth name||Frederick William Schneider III|
|Born||July 1, 1951|
|Origin||Newark, New Jersey, U.S.|
Frederick William "Fred" Schneider III (born July 1, 1951) is an American vocalist, best known as the frontman of the rock band the B-52's, of which he is a founding member. Schneider is well known for his sprechgesang, which he developed from reciting poetry over guitars.
Schneider was born in Newark, New Jersey. He has stated that his musical influences included "Halloween songs and nutty Christmas songs" along with "Motown". He attended the University of Georgia, where he once wrote a book of poetry for a class project. After college, he held down jobs as a janitor as well as a Meals on Wheels driver. At the time the B-52's formed, he had very little music experience.
The B-52's got their start in 1976 when founders Cindy Wilson, Ricky Wilson, Kate Pierson, Keith Strickland and Schneider played an impromptu number after drinking at a Chinese restaurant in Athens, Georgia. The group played their first real gig in 1977 at a Valentine's Day party for their friends.
The band's first single was "Rock Lobster" which was recorded for DB Records in 1978. It was an underground success and sold over 2,000 copies in total. In 1979 the B-52's signed contracts with Warner Bros. Records for South America, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. They also signed with Island Records for the UK, Asia and Europe. After the death of Ricky Wilson in 1985, the band went on hiatus. They reformed in 1989 and went on to mainstream success.
Other music ventures
Aside from duties as the frontman of the B-52's, Fred Schneider has released two solo albums. He also worked on a side project called the Superions. The group released a self-titled EP and the album Destination... Christmas! in 2010 and in February 2011 began working on a proper full-length album.
- Fred Schneider & the Shake Society (1984 and 1991)
- Just Fred (1996), which was produced by Steve Albini.
- The Superions (2010)
- Destination... Christmas! (2010)
- Batbaby (2011)
- "Konnichiwa" (2014)
Besides working with the B-52's, Schneider has collaborated with a number of artists. Selected examples include:
- Schneider sang with Richard Barone on Barone's 1990 album, Primal Dream, the track "Mr. Used-To-Be" (MCA). Richard also co-wrote two songs and arranged on Just Fred, and produced Fred's version of Harry Nilsson's "Coconut", released as a single from the Nilsson tribute album For the Love of Harry.
- He was a guest vocalist on the song "The Power of Pussy", on Bongwater's 1990 album of the same name.
- He worked with Captain Planet on the "Eco Rap," an updated theme song used for The New Adventures of Captain Planet.
- Fred Schneider is featured on "Stinky Dinky", Track 9 of RuPaul's 1993 debut album, Supermodel of the World.
- The 1994-produced track "Do The Funky Something" by Godchildren of Soul features Fred Schneider and could be found on the GOS album Anyone Can Join and on the Rufus Thomas compilation Do The Funky Somethin'.
- The 1994 compilation Elvira Presents Monster Hits features the track "Here Comes The Bride (The Bride of Frankenstein)" sung by Elvira. Fred sings guest vocals and co-wrote the song.
- Possum Dixon's 1998 album New Sheets has the song "Firecracker" written by Fred.
- The soundtrack for The Rugrats Movie, released in 1998 contains the track "The World Is Something New To Me" and features, Kate, Fred and Cindy along with other artists.
- He was a guest vocalist on the song National Anthem of Love, on Joe McIntyre's album Meet Joe Mac (2001).
- He provided the vocals for the Foo Fighters cover of "Planet Claire", released as a bonus track on the FF's single "Times Like These" (2003).
- The compilation album Wig in a Box – The Songs From Hedwig and the Angry Inch released in 2003 features the collaboration of Sleater-Kinney and Fred on the title "Angry Inch"
- The 2004 release of the compilation album Trekkies 2 features his collaboration with B-52's part-time keyboarder Pat Irwin "Beam Me Up"
- He worked with Sophie Ellis-Bextor on some songs for her album Trip the Light Fantastic. A song which he worked on and provided vocals for called "Supersonic" appeared on the UK and Australian version of her album. (2007)
- Tiny Masters of Today released the album Bang Bang Boom Cake in 2007 and Fred is featured on the kid's song "Disco Bomb".
- Schneider provided guest vocals on Deni Bonet's 2010 single "Girl Party". The track can also be found on the in 2013 released album "It's All Good". The album was produced by Richard Barone, an Artist Fred and Kate Pierson were collaborating already earlier.
- Fred Schneider appears on the Ursula 1000 song "Hey You!" from the album Mondo Beyondo. Schneider and 1000 would form a one off project called The Fangs, who released a song called "Vampire Vamp" for Halloween 2012.
- Fred appears on two titles of the album "The Inevitable Album" by the artist "Jinkx Monsoon". The tracks "The Ladies in Drag" and "The Bacon Shake" are only available as download, like the whole album. Released in 2014
- Elvira released a 7" single for Halloween 2014 "2 Big Pumpkins / 13 Nights Of Halloween" in the US. Both tracks are co-written by Fred Schneider
- Sang on 'Cheap Leather' with Mini Mansions, the b-side to their 2015 single 'Vertigo'
Films in which Fred Schneider has appeared include:
- Trekkies 2 (2004)
- Each Time I Kill (2002)
- Godass (2000)
- Desert Blue (1998, voice only)
- The Rugrats Movie (1998, voice only)
- The Flintstones (1994)
- Hangfire (1991)
- A Matter of Degrees (1990)
- Funny (1989)
- Athens, GA: Inside/Out (1987)
- One Trick Pony (1980)
- He is credited alongside Kate Pierson on the Nickelodeon cartoon Rocko's Modern Life for the theme song vocals.
- He was a guest on an episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
- He guest starred on an episode of Lil' Bush in 2008.
- He appeared on an episode of The Daily Show on June 2, 2008.
- He appeared on an episode of The L Word in 2006.
- He briefly sang a line in an episode of The Cleveland Show in 2011 (voice only).
Until late 2008 Schneider hosted a show called Party Out of Bounds that aired Friday nights, 9pm to 12am (ET) on Sirius 33 First Wave. On the show, Schneider played a mix of new wave-era dance, remixes and rarities, interspersed with Schneider's own humorous bits and anecdotes.
Schneider discussed his experience of coming out as gay to his mother with Howard Stern on the latter's radio broadcast on February 22, 2010. He said that his mother always knew more about her son than he knew about himself, and he said he came out of the closet while she was vacuum-cleaning. His mother replied with "Oh I know, Freddie" and continued vacuuming without missing a beat. Schneider said his reaction was: "It's like, well, OK. I guess I'll go back outside and smoke some pot."
Schneider is a lifelong vegetarian, and he appeared in a PETA ad campaign discouraging people from eating lobsters.
- In 1975/1976, Fred Schneider personally hand-wrote approximately 100 copies of a short book of his poems entitled Bleb. This is notable as the first appearance of the lyrics to "There's A Moon in the Sky (Called The Moon)", which was then a poem. The B-52's turned the lyrics into a song in 1978. This poem was one of the ones reprinted in his following book "And Other Unrelated Works".
- In 1987, Fred Schneider wrote a paperback book of mostly poetry entitled Fred Schneider and Other Unrelated Works, which was published by Arbor House, New York. The book is approximately 96 pages and out of print. The book was a compilation of new material and reprinted poems from his independent release "Bleb", with illustrations by Kenny Scharf, who also did the cover art for the B-52's 1986 album Bouncing Off the Satellites. Approximately 6000 copies were printed.
- Prato, Greg. "Biography: Fred Schneider". AMG. Retrieved May 10, 2010.
- Interview: Fred Schneider of the B-52's. Survivingthegoldenage.com. Retrieved on 2012-11-28.
- "Fred Schneider Biography". Retrieved 16 May 2016.
- Ankeny, Jason. "Allmusic Guide Biography for The B-52s". Allmusic.
- "The B-52's". Rolling Stone.
- Unterberger, Richie (1999). Music USA: The Rough Guide. p. 133–140. ISBN 1-85828-421-X.
- blogs.ajc.com, Fred Schneider talks B-52s 35th anniversary Access Atlanta. (July 19, 2012). Retrieved on 2012-11-28.
- Brand, Sam (February 22, 2010). "B-52s' Fred Schneider: Gay, Proud, and on the Comeback Trail". Popeater.com. Retrieved December 13, 2012.
- "B-52's Fred Schneider Says Don't Eat The Lobster," Associated Press, March 17, 2014.