The Upper Crust’s Nat Freedberg to Release Solo Album, Better Late Than Never, Feb. 15th on Rum Bar Records
Show February 23rd at Union Tavern
“…Lord Bendover (known to his mom as Nat Freedberg) pairs his big rock with witty, sardonic lyrics — it’s AC/DC by way of Warren Zevon or Randy Newman.” Boston Herald
Sometimes with adversity comes a certain freedom. When Nat Freedberg, guitarist, singer and songwriter behind The Upper Crust, The Titanics and The Flies (among other stellar Boston bands) suffered nerve damage and surgery, he was despondent at first when confronting his guitar playing. As he recounts it, “It occurred to me that I’d never been a technical virtuoso to begin with, then I felt better straightaway.” The prospect of ending his decades-long career in music fueled the idea of recording a collection of his unreleased songs, albeit with no real strategy or a real band. Better Late Than Never comes out Friday, February 15th on Rum Bar Records.
Nat went into the studio with two-time Grammy winning producer and drummer Ducky Carlisle. Working in the studio, he was pleased to find that despite his hand problems, he could play guitar better than he’d anticipated after all.
It was like the old joke: “Doctor, after this operation, will I be able to play piano?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Funny, I never could before.”
With Ducky Carlisle (Buddy Guy, Bang Camaro, the Incredible Casuals) producing and a stellar cast of Boston musicians assembled for the recordings (Ducky on drums, Marc Hickox on bass, Kevin Barry (Lucy Kaplansky, Paula Cole) on lead guitar, Tom West (Mandy Barnett, Peter Wolf, Tom Jones) on keyboards, Paul Ahlstrand on saxophone, and Bryan Murphy on trumpet), the sessions began to sound like a record. The resulting album is called Better Late Than Never and will be released by Rum Bar Records.
Freedberg began his musical career with a art-punk trio called the Flies in 1981, moved on to the harder-rock duel-guitar Titanics in the late ‘80s-early ‘90s (which later morphed into the devil-rock-themed Satanics), and then joined a nautical-themed rock outfit called the Clamdiggers, which in turn spawned the aristocratic-themed Upper Crust in ’95 or so. The Upper Crust proved remarkably resilient, surviving more than a quarter century, and in the process earning Nat a reputation as a talented songwriter who, for whatever reason, preferred to play comedic rock in costume. The Upper Crust rocked Conan O’Brien’s show as well as Craig Ferguson’s and toured for years while releasing a string of acclaimed albums.
Now he has stepped out from behind the wig and makeup and made a solo album, working with some of the finest musicians in Boston to back up original material that is not themed about anything in particular… love songs, sad songs, songs about the devil.