Where Are They Now Files: Charlie Farren

Posted on September 2, 2010


Who is that guy? I’ve heard his name! Charlie Farren, the guy from Farrenheit.

Yeah, Charlie had a band called Farrenheit, but the history goes back much further than that. One of Boston’s premier front men, showmen and talents, Charlie Farren is alive and well and serving a fan base that would potentially blow your mind for being so invisible on the mainstream radar. Lets divulge a little bit of Charlie’s history.

The Boston Music Scene is best known for artists including Aerosmith, The Cars and the band Boston themselves among others. Not much of a scene to talk about in the 60’s, but as the 70’s revved up, former high school musicians like Charlie Farren were making the scene. Beyond his mixing it up with virtually unknown bands that changed names and members ridiculously fast – it was 1973 when Charlie formed Live Lobster. Considered one of the pioneering bands for the local scene in Boston, Live Lobster played alongside acts such as the Modern Lovers, Duke and the Drivers and the Dead End Kids. Rocking out the small venues at the time also, was Aerosmith. At a later date, their fates would intertwine.

Live Lobster made more than their mark by performing throughout the Northeast at every venue that would book them. They had their own PA set-up and pulled long weeks of shows for the better part of 3 years, most often playing four to seven nights a week. Not a forty-five minute set – the band played 4-6 sets a night!

While Charlie’s fame as front man for one of the premier club acts with Live Lobster was strong, Live Lobster guitarist Ken Kalayjan and Charlie opted for a louder and harder original direction. This next installation of Charlie’s musical career was called Balloon.

It seemed almost immediate, but long nights and serious efforts were put in to create a fan base that led to airplay and label attention. Local stations like WBCN in Boston and WCOZ in Providence, RI were spinning the Ballon songs East Coast, West Coast and Listen To The Rock.  The band was selling out clubs like Rathskellar’s and the 1400 patron capacity club, The Channel. The band was performing across New England and New York and earned a nod from Atlantic Records for the great songwriting and showmanship. Charlie’s originality in songwriting and vocal style was the key to success. Then, that success took a left hand turn and the label’s interests were swept aside when Aerosmith’s Joe Perry asked Charlie to replace the front man in his solo project – The Joe Perry Project.

Under the guiding hand of Don Law, and I give this to you in extremely short form – the band was together just a few weeks with Charlie when they recorded the album I’ve Got The Rock And Rolls Again. The Record Plant set up a mobile studio at The Opera House and recorded quite a few of the well played first takes for the album. A distant departure from the sounds of Aerosmith, and even the first Joe Perry Project album, to this day fans consider it to be one of Joe Perry’s biggest successes. Recording the two previously mentioned Balloon songs and co-writing several others, Perry was soon to return to Aerosmith, but the duo of Charlie Farren and bassist David Hull was igniting another fire. Together, they became the enemy.

No, really, they formed a post Joe Perry band called The Enemy. Long story short, while it was great and even got a single on the air – the transformation of The Enemy would become Farrenheit – being virtually harassed into signing with Warner Bros. records, (laughingly), the label just had to have them. It was a winning situation for the band and rolls into the time most people remember Charlie Farren stepping onto the musical map.

Farrenheit scored three MTV hits including Lost In Loveland and Fool In Love and open for 75 sold out performances across the United States with the band Boston, cementing their legacy in the rock and roll history books. All of this you’ve read, and this was just the beginning for Charlie.

After the fallout of the first release by Farrenheit and lack of follow-up support by Warner Bros, fans like myself would catch Charlie playing with other artists around New England, including the Charlie Farren Group. Featuring his sister on vocals, renowned bassist for Steve Vai, Phillip Bynoe and Farrenhiet drumming legend Muzz.

As time progressed, Charlie’s songwriting and performing became something closer to his soul and in the late 1990’s, Charlie re-invented himself as a solo acoustic act with his own independent label, F-Man Music. Self-recording and independently releasing his work to his dedicated fan base, Charlie has made a great living with more than 6 solo releases to date. The acoustic and often jazzy sounds have captured a new audience of listeners. Patrons fill small clubs to capacity to hear him perform both old and new songs from his ever-expanding catalog.

But that’s not all! Of late, the news surrounding Charlie Farren includes the FBI! Yes, the project aptly named to represent Farren-Butcher, Inc. Performing side by side with their unique skill sets, complementing one another’s tones; Charlie and Jon Butcher take the stage in New England to sold out shows with an instrumentally stunning performance. One can only guess what Charlie has up his sleeve next.

So there you have it, in brief. A guy you may have only known for releasing a single disc in 1987 has opened for, performed with and alongside people such as Ozzy, Def Leppard, Rush, Boston, Aerosmith, Joe Coker, The Smithereens, Blue Oyster Cult, and even Twisted Sister.

Answer to the question, where are they now? http://www.charliefarren.com

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