Freddy Fox and the Hotrods
Freddy Fox and the Hotrods features your favorite hits from the 50s-80s in an entertaining style.
More information about the band, originally from the Gyp Hill Premiere in 2014 by Mike Courson.
Cue the music and the voiceover begins: The date was February 28, 1983. A group of guys got together and they started a band. Their main emphasis was to entertain and have crazy fun – a theatrical, musical trip through time. In October 2003, they disbanded. Now, they are uniting.
In other words, the band is back. After 11 years away, Freddy Fox and the Hotrods has reunited. The band broke up in October 2003 but a series of events have brought the group back together.
In December, Butch Muehleisen passed away. Muehleisen ran the light board for the band’s shows in the early years and also designed various posters and flyers for the band. At Muehleisen’s funeral, front man Fred Prosser ran into several members of the band.
“I just made a few phone calls and said let’s get together and jam and see what happens,” Prosser said. “The two of the members I didn’t think were going to do this, they’re the ones who said they didn’t want to get together and jam, they want to get it back together!”
Not that the idea of getting the band back together had not crossed Prosser’s mind. He saw the musical “Jersey Boys” live in Chicago and again in Wichita. More recently, Clint Eastwood directed the movie based on the life of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
“I related to a lot of it: the members fighting, a lot of the heartache, a lot of the financial things, woman problems, and family issues,” Prosser said. “I related to a lot of those things. They fought over a half-a-million dollar debt, that’s why they broke up. In our case, my body just quit.
“Every time I saw that show I just cried my eyes out. It wasn’t a sad cry, it was an ‘oh my gosh, I’ve still got one left in me. I can still do this.’”
Finally, Fred’s son, Troy, recently started a Freddy Fox Facebook page. The idea was to share memories and photographs of the band’s glory days. Instead, that furthered the push for a reunion.
So far, the goings have been smooth for the “new” band: Prosser on saxophone and vocals; Neil DePew is on keyboards and vocals; Brian Stecklein on drums and vocals; Troy Kirby on guitar and vocals; and Cassie Kirby on keyboards and vocals.
“I was freaked out,” said Prosser. “I was totally blown away. I figured it would take us three or four full practices to get the rust off and start sounding good. We worked up 12 songs. For the most part, it was like we never quit playing. I was just totally amazed.”
Expectations are also high for the band. At their peak, the Hotrods played an average of seven or eight concerts a month. That figure grew to about three times a week during the summer months as the band traveled mostly throughout Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma at various festivals, fairs, and street dances.
“About 60 percent of our show is music,” he said. “The rest of it, you have to come see it. There are costume changes, skits, there is all kinds of stuff going on.”
So far, the band is a work in progress. One of Prosser’s friends has loaned out a studio where the band can practice. Though nothing is set in stone, the Hotrods are putting together a set list, some dance moves, and skits for a show.
The one big difference between the band of the past and the band today is the number of shows. Prosser expects the Hotrods to play just once or twice a month.
Though the reunion is still young, Prosser is thrilled to have the band back together and excited about all the possibilities. Everything has lined up, he said, since Muehleisen found a trunk with various Freddy Fox memorabilia about six months before he died.
“He had no idea he had a health issue,” Prosser said. “He just happened upon some old stuff. On the spiritual side, I am convinced without a shadow of a doubt that this is ordained. God had a hand in this and everything is going so well. He blessed me with all these people and excitement.”
Follow the band via its Facebook page at Freddy Fox and the Hotrods, or email [email protected]