Interview with members of Freddy and Co

Four original members reunite for 2024 concert in Chicago.

I first saw Freddy Jones Band in February of 1991. They were the opening act, and I was selling merch for the headliner. I caught FJB’s set and was hooked. There was something special there in the three-guitar sound, two main vocalists and an incredible music energy from the band members.

Four of the original five members are reuniting as Freddy and Co. As one would imagine, the name inspired from the alt-Dead tours led by Bob Weir and John Mayer. The show takes place at the Park West in March, one of the most acoustically perfect venues in Chicagoland.

We wanted to see what the guys were up to since FJB split up in 2000.

Songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist Wayne Healy moved to Atlanta in 2003 and been in real estate for nearly twenty years. But he’s still involved in the music scene. “I had a little crappy band down here,” He explains, “but it was just so fun. It was all guys my age. We started off and we tried to have a Clapton band and our our backup singer got hired away by one of these Yacht rock bands, and now they play venues like Red Rocks. Yeah, they’re awesome and then we had a band that was kind of based around the Horde Festival. So we would play music by bands that were on the Horde Festival which was fun and you know we kind of had like a regular once a month Thursday night gig. Just really fun, really guys that I loved being with so it made it really fun.”

Guitarist Rob Bonaccorsi moved to Oak Park, Illinois, and he’s been running an Italian Deli in Elmwood Park, IL for the past twenty-four years. By coincidence, he connected with Nick Kitsos, a former drummer for Poi Dog Pondering. Together with brother Jim Bonoccorsi, who’s had a variety of jobs and currently serves as CRO of Webit Services, an IT Managed Service Provider, they perform locally as the Bono Bros, with Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn, IL as one of their home bases.

Drummer Simon Horrocks is the only band member who stayed in the music business full time. “I went to go work for the guy who managed us through 1996, Charlie Brusco, and he had a bunch of classic rock bands that he represented and still represents, like Styx and Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd, and I went down and was working with him.” That experience took him first to Atlanta, then to Los Angeles where he started a company called Affix Music, a music, licensing company. “I had that company for sixteen years and that kind of led me out to LA and reconnected with some old Chicago friends and put together Golddiggers. “I went to go have lunch with a friend of mine, Dave Neupert.

Neupert told him “I’m looking at this building and East Hollywood this kind of forgotten part of town and it’s a hotel is like a small hotel and it was above. a strip club”. Originally was like in above a tavern on Route 66 and the place called Golddiggers because the guy who owned the strip club was a big Dean Martin fan, and the background dancers were called the Golddiggers on his variety show. It turned out that behind it was old giant 6000 square-foot soundstage that had been filmmaker Ed Wood’s old soundstage. I had lunch with another friend of mine from Chicago, Dave Trumfio, who has studio space around town, and told Simon, “I’ve been buying these buildings on the east side of town and building out recording, studios, and renting them out on for producers, writers, artists – so it’s almost like we work for the music industry.” Horrocks inquired and found that Trumfio was booked solid so he put the two Daves together and now has a studio to go along with the hotel, bar, and performance space.

Healy tells how the Freddy and Co. gig came together, “we have a pal who runs the Theater on the Lake (in Chicago) and so he’s a friend of a friend, and he wanted us to do the gig there. As soon as I told Nick at Jam Productions, a long-time Chicago concert promoter, that we had an offer for something else, he came he’s like, ‘Hey, how would you like to play Saturday night before St. Patrick’s Day at the at at Park West?’ I was like wow. Because when I previously talked to him a lot of times, what they’ll have on a venue is ‘holds’. There are four or five bands that say ‘yeah, we might be able to come in on Saturday night,’ and then as someone wants to confirm the date you ‘challenge’ those holds and so he literally called me back in a half hour and he cleared everything off, and he wanted to do the date so it was really great. We’ve known those guys really our whole career, and it just felt really felt really good that the big guys in town, Jam wanted us to play.

Really, to be honest, this is our first gig as Freddy and Co, so it was really great that Jam wanted us to play at the Park West and we’re thrilled.”

– Wayne Healy

Better still, the guys are going to be joined by Chris Neville from Tributosaurus, an amazing Chicago area concept band, on vocals and keyboards. Plus Paul Bolger from Mr. Blotto, a four-decades long friend of Healy’s will also sing a few songs. “It will be fun for fans of our music to hear a little different spin of some things, plus old favorites, and some ‘playing by the rules’ stuff. It’s going to be a fun, fun night.”

Jim Bonaccorsi is truly looking forward to the upcoming show. “It’s so great to play music with these guys, its been over four years since we played, so very excited to make music together again. Also to perform with our special guests Chris and Paul. And to see all of our family, friends and fans!”

I asked them, how are they preparing with everyone living in different cities. Rob explained, “We’ve been talking pretty regularly for the last two or three months if not longer. I’m pulling together logistical song list, song ideas, and then (three weeks before the show) everybody’s gonna fly in I’m looking forward to that, just getting together in the same room and tossing ideas and actually playing.”

Wayne hopes this will become an annual or semi-annual event. “Just come to town once a year and do something like this.”

Jim Bono on how performing is different these days than back in the 90s. “There is a new level of confidence and ownership of the music. Everyone is bringing their decades of musical experience into the room.”

We covered more topics that did not fit into the space allotted for this article. Below are the original interviews.

Listen to my conversation with Wayne Healy and Rob Bonaccorsi

Listen to my conversation with Simon Horrocks