Bob Freed ran AVAP Records from 1981 until his death in 2018. He developed countless artists and engineered, produced and laid down tracks on many records.
Bob provided myriad drum beats, bass lines and guitar tracks. He was also known to pick up and play instruments he’d never seen before.
Bob was not self-taught. Bob already knew. It was inside him from the start. The music just poured out of him.
He also added his voice when needed - providing harmonies, often organizing, inspiring and correcting singers. Bob was not shy about fixing vocal lines and harmony parts. Bob also sang lead on choice tracks.
Bob was recently the musical director for the Dovells and traveled as front of house engineer and road manager for Lights Out.
Alexander Uskuraitis on Bob Freed:
Bob and I were partners in the record label since 1981. We were also partners in a sound company for about ten years. We played together in the band Makeshift for about six years.
In those six years, we scheduled two rehearsals. For the first one, only Tommy the drummer and Bob and I showed up, so we went out for a pizza instead. The second time we tried to schedule a rehearsal I don’t even think Bob and I showed up.
Bob insisted he was not the band leader. It was an anarchy, but we followed him everywhere. An idea would pop into his head, he’d call out a key, and we would be off. We learned as we went along; sometimes he’d even tell us the chords if we didn’t pick it up right away. He was a strong non-leader.
We never had a set list. We tried to create a song list a couple of times. The list was pretty much any song Bob ever heard. It was ridiculous.
Bob would stand by the juke box during a break and listen to a song a couple of times. He’d lead us through it in the next set.
I really don’t think he ever practiced any of the instruments he played. He saw an instrument, picked it up, figured it out, and started playing.
He played bass, drums, guitars and keyboards in bands live and on recordings.
Here are some of the bands I remember playing with Bob in:
- The Poor Boys
- Sleepless Knights
- Dan’s Night Out
- The Dovells
- The Sky Brady Band
- Iggy and the Islanders
- American Standard
- Lights Out
- Whole World Gumbo
- The Alligator Zydeco band
There are more I’ll probably think of later.
I never argued with anyone as intensely as I did with Bob. We’d have screaming matches on band breaks in the parking lot and return to the stage and play together as if nothing had happened. It was part of the magic.
I miss arguing with him.
He was also possibly the most stubborn person I ever met. Close call between him and my dad.
He could hear music; really hear music. Hear the parts that were there, hear the parts that could be there, and hear the parts that had to go.
He could sing harmony to anything, anyone, anywhere.
He was never shy of correcting players and singers.
“Yea, I know you’ve been singing it this way since 1957 but listen to this … you sing this, you sing this. Hear the difference?”
Oh my God, I’ll miss this guy
Bob Freed with Octavia
Bob Freed with JD Patterson
AVAP Records was founded in Cleveland, Ohio in 1978 to provide a vehicle for the band Arpeggio Verdelak to release its material.
The first release was a limited-edition cassette tape, which was featured on Jim Clevo's WCSU radio program.
Arpeggio Verdelak later released 2 songs on a 45 as the Concrete Cowboys. Arpeggio Verdelak also performed as Meatman & the Cleavers and 3-Pound Sledge.
AVAP Records relocated to Philadelphia, PA in 1980. Bob Freed--the founder of Four Star Studios--soon took over management of the label.
See the Discography page for a listing of all releases.