Midway thru last year our own Lord Echo took off for a work trip to New York - he'd been hired as extra guitar firepower by producer Victor Axelrod, for an album he was producing for NYC reggae/rocksteady outfit The Frightnrs at Daptone Studio. The fruits of those labours will be out very soon (Sept 2), but sadly, the band's singer Dan Klein won't get to see it.
The Frightnrs previous output includes a debut EP in 2012, and more recently releasing an EP in 2015 on Diplo's Mad Decent label, and a great lilting reggae cover of I'd Rather Go Blind by Etta James, their Daptone debut.
From Brooklyn Vegan: "Earlier this year, there was a benefit show in Brooklyn for Dan Klein, frontman of Daptone-signed Queens band The Frightnrs, who was battling A.L.S. (aka Lou Gehrig’s disease.) Dan sadly passed away at age 33 in June. A NY Times profile offered more details:
On June 8, a weakened Mr. Klein begged his family to help him attend a show by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings in Prospect Park. Excited by the gig, he texted friends, including Mr. Roth, who had performed with Ms. Jones. “That horn fugue was wicked,” he wrote to Mr. Roth at 12:30 a.m.
Later that morning, Mr. Klein died in his sleep.
Twelve days later, the surviving band members gathered at Daptone’s offices, deeply shaken but determined. “Dan said a couple of times: ‘Please do not stop. We can’t let this go to waste,’” Preet Patel said.
Mr. Terrana said that Mr. Klein drew on his dark wit for strength to the end. “He said: ‘Please use my death to your advantage. I’m not going out without a bang,’” Mr. Terrana recalled.
The surviving members plan to continue their mission to explore styles beyond rock steady, perhaps with revolving singers. When the album arrives, they say they will go through the awkward process of promoting it, though they’re unsure when they will perform again, or how they will bill themselves. “It may be ‘the Frightnrs featuring … (a singer),’” Preet Patel said.
That album has since been announced. It’s called Nothing More To Say, and it’s due out on September 2 via Daptone. You can listen to the reggae-tinged title track below.
As that NY Times article points out, Dan’s death sadly isn’t the only tragedy The Frightnrs are dealing with. Preet and Chuck Patel’s father Naishadh was recently struck by two cars while trying to cross Route 80 in NJ and was killed. “He bled to death in front of our mother,” Preet Patel told the NY Times.
That Times piece also has the final interview with Dan Klein. You can read the whole thing here.
From Daptone: "The Frightnrs escort Daptone into the world of long-playing reggae with both the sweetest and the roughest record of the decade.
Crafted under the meticulous eye of black-belt reggae mastermind/producer Victor Axelrod (AKA Ticklah), Nothing More to Say is a rocksteady masterpiece the likes of which has not reared it’s head since the golden era of Studio One.
However, you’ll find no imitation here - none of the faux-Jamaican cliches of lesser reggae bands. Like all things Daptone, this record is above all soulful and honest.
With the exception of two soul covers (both from the Daptone catalog: Bob & Gene’s "Gotta Find a Way” and Saun and Starr’s “Gonna Make Time”,) the record is populated by original compositions of the highest order. They are simply great songs, and though their treatment here is masterful, each one of them has the melodic and lyrical substance to hold it’s own in any genre."