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When the couple Edgar and Monika Froese returned to their home city of Berlin from a trip to London in February 1970 little did they know thatRead More...
1. Tangerine Dream, founded by Edgar, was about to sign its first recording contract.
2. Subsequently writing itself into the annals of music history.
3. Or that a future long-term member of this soon-to-become pioneering group had just been conceived during that very trip.
Jerome Froese was born on November 24, 1970 in the district of Schoeneberg, West Berlin. Jerome spent his formative years in a tidy two-and-a-half-room apartment on Schwaebische Strasse, a few minutes from the city centre. Given his surroundings, Jerome inevitably encountered musical instruments from an early age be it Grandma's old upright piano, then-Tangerine Dreamer Peter Baumanns Farfisa organ, or even a cutting-edge EMS VCS3 analogue synthesizer that was making its presence felt in the living room.
While Tangerine Dream's first recordings made little impact in its home country, influential cult BBC radio DJ John Peel nominated 1973's "Atem" as his pick of the year, hailing the music as being new and unique. Entrepreneurial Brit Richard Branson sat up and took note, signing the group to his fledgling Virgin Records label. Success soon followed as Phaedra, Tangerine Dreams international debut for Virgin, went Top 5 in the UK Albums Chart. The album is considered a recording milestone to this day, being the first to feature electronic bass sequences, courtesy of a mighty Moog modular system. Young Jerome did not play an active role in the Phaedra recording sessions; instead he played with Manor Studios resident dog, a friendly beast fittingly named Bootleg!
Other countries followed in the wake of this British breakthrough as Phaedra and its successors took France, Australia, and other territories by storm. Tangerine Dream extensively toured the globe; Jerome tagged along, often spending his nights snuggled up in a flightcase while his father's band busied itself onstage making musical history with vast amounts of exotic electronic equipment.
Jerome was inextricably linked with Tangerine Dream since its albums up until 1982 always featured a photograph of him cunningly concealed somewhere within the artwork. The most prominent example is probably the inner sleeve picture of Edgar Froese's second solo album, Epsilon In Malaysian Pale, where Jerome can be seen standing on a green pillow, clad only with a hat and a feather. Richard Branson was so fond of this photograph that he used it for the album's entire release campaign, even keeping a copy on the wall of his London office.
Jerome was privileged to meet several world-famous recording artists as a result of Tangerine Dream's ongoing success, including Iggy Pop, David Bowie whose son, Zowie, played with Jerome on occasion; Stevie Nicks who thought Jerome looked nothing like his mother; and Brian Eno who met up with Bowie and Edgar for jam sessions in a dilapidated old cinema, to name but a few.
Jerome first visited the USA in 1977, coinciding with Tangerine Dream's second major tour there, following which he started school, leading a more normal life for the next five years. Music continued to play its part, however, as Jerome started to play guitar and piano. When his fingers ached from too much practice, he reverted to playing air guitar AC/DC and Blue Öyster Cult being particular favourites at the time!
During 1982 and '83 Jerome again joined Tangerine Dream on tour, visiting Australia and Japan for the first time. Kangaroos and koala bears vied for his Australian affections, while in Japan he was fascinated by (often useless) technical gadgetry and the local girls rather than the group's musical endeavours. Even so, Edgar gave Jerome his first electronic keyboard in 1983, a Korg home organ with pre-programmed rock/pop-, jazz- and easy listening-style accompaniments. The young teen spent many hours experimenting with this instrument, driving everyone in close proximity nuts!
Having finished elementary school Jerome chose to attend a boarding school in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, remaining there until 1986. While further advancing his own guitar skills, Jerome studied classical and rock piano for a couple of years, also developing an interest in playing drums, laying the foundations for his future musical endeavours. Yet Jerome's first stage performance had nothing to do with music; immersing himself in the school's drama class he played a judge and a pimp! His second stage 'act' was more musical as he explained the functions of guitar effects pedals with practical demonstrations for his final exam.
In April 1986 Jerome accompanied Tangerine Dream as an onlooker on tours throughout the UK and North America before returning to Switzerland to finish his studies in another boarding school in the French-speaking part Montreux. Here he concluded that girls always preferred guitarists, which gave him an even greater incentive to master the instrument ;-)
Returning to Berlin in 1987, Jerome honed his musical skills further, taking on various jobs to expand and update a small basement studio that had previously consisted of discarded Tangerine Dream equipment and lain dormant for most of the year as Jerome could only tinker during school holidays. When Tangerine Dream struck an endorsement deal with Atari and Steinberg around that time, Jerome cut himself in on the action, bettering his music technology skills as a result.
1989 saw Jerome's studio production debut, performing a guitar solo on Tangerine Dream's "Lily On The Beach", the last album on which he would only play guitar.
Having received an offer to perform a concert in East Berlin in February 1990 following the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, Jerome offered to step in to help out on guitar since Tangerine Dream had lost its then-third stage member following its 1988 North American tour. Warmly welcomed by all concerned, Jerome was promptly recruited as the group's third keyboard player as well. And so it was that the barely 19-year-old lad came to be on stage with Tangerine Dream on the receiving end of a rapturous reception from a 7000-strong audience on February 20, 1990. The rest is history Jerome has remained an integral part of the group for 16 years, one of its longest serving members after its founding member, Edgar Froese.
2005 saw Jerome finally embarking on a musical journey entirely of his own doing; his first solo album, "Neptunes", perfectly showcases his diverse compositional, performance, and production skills.
Jerome plans to release a follow up "Shiver me Timber" in april 2007.
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