A band based in Queens, New York who perform a faithful but distinctive interpretation of classic Jamaican rocksteady and early reggae, the Frightnrs made a name for themselves on the New York music scene with a pair of acclaimed EPs that led to their signing with Daptone Records. Just as they were poised to make their big break with 2016's full-length Nothing More to Say, the group instead found themselves staring down tragedy as their frontman, Dan Klein, passed away mere months before its eventual release.
The Frightnrs' story began in 2010, when Klein, a former punk rocker who had developed a passion for Jamaican sounds, met musician Chuck Patel at a party. The two compared notes, and found they had shared a love of vintage rocksteady, and Patel was impressed with Klein's vocal style, which could easily slide from a tenor into a high but emphatic falsetto. With Klein on lead vocals and guitar and Patel on keys, the two teamed with Chuck's brother Preet Patel on bass and Rich Terrana on drums, and the Frightnrs were born.
The group began playing club gigs in New York, and in 2012 they released a five-song EP, produced by Jayson Nugent of New York ska revivalists the Slackers. The group soon earned a powerful ally in Victor "Ticklah" Axelrod, a musician and producer who worked with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra. Axelrod produced an EP for the Frightnrs, Inna Lovers Quarrel, that was picked up for release by Mad Decent, the label founded by superstar DJ and producer Diplo. Gabriel Roth, founder of soul revivalist label Daptone Records, had worked with Axelrod and was impressed with his work with the Frightnrs. Daptone stepped up to release the Frightnrs' next record, a single with the group covering Etta James' soul classic "I'd Rather Go Blind," and then struck a deal with the group for its first full-length album.
However, once sessions for the album began, Klein seemed to be off his game in the eyes of his bandmates, and he began to lose weight and had trouble walking. Klein was soon diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease sometimes known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease." Despite Klein's diagnosis, he and the Frightnrs were able to complete their debut album, and Daptone released Nothing More to Say in September of 2016 to widespread acclaim. Sadly, Klein died on June 6, 2016, shortly after attending a concert by Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. The surviving members of the Frightnrs initially pledged to continue without confirming who would sing for the band in the future. In October 2017, an alternate version of their debut was released under the title More to Say Versions. It consisted of Alexrod's Dub versions of each of the songs. ~ Mark Deming