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Charlie Farren

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Biography

Charlie Farren was born in Whidden Hospital in Everett, MA, on August 27, 1953, to an Irish family. His father was a native of Belfast and came to the U.S. as a child of nine in 1927 via Ellis Island in New York City. Farren told the All Media Guide: "Everyone in my family would sing in full voice without hesitation. I later was surprised to learn that people were generally shy to sing out. My dad had a Sears Silvertone guitar that I still share with my three sisters...he was the first one to inspire me to play. (We) grew up in Malden, MA, my older sister has a band that played a mix of Gaelic and Jewish music, and they played professionally, which I thought was extremely cool. I was also very moved by the Beatles and remain so moved today. I dabbled with guitar in eighth through 12th grade before becoming a lead singer, giving up the guitar as a performing instrument."

Farren's first band had three different names, the Ancient Mariners, White Knights, and Internationals, they only did one or two gigs, so the names were a reflection of whatever the members thought was cool at the time. By 1970, when Farren was in the 11th grade, his group was called Blue Willow and they performed a mix of originals and cover tunes that, according to the singer "were so obscure that it never helped us get a lot of gigs." His first professional band was Live Lobster, one of the pioneering groups on the Boston scene in 1973 when the Modern Lovers, Duke & the Drivers, the Dead End Kids, Andy Paley's Sidewinders, and other bands were starting to make noise, which would blossom into something huge. A band gaining national status during this Live Lobster phase that would have great impact on Farren's career and was Columbia recording artist Aerosmith. Live Lobster existed from 1973-1975, while the next chapter, a band called Balloon, was Farren's first with all original material. Balloon got airplay with songs like "East Coast, West Coast" and "Listen to the Rock," "the latter song got me noticed and ultimately hired by Joe Perry, who was managed by (local promoter) Don Law," the singer told AMG. As the new singer for the Joe Perry Project, Farren would be the voice on the second album, a 1981 effort produced by Bruce Botnick of the Doors fame, featuring both Balloon regional hits and four compositions co-written by Farren and Perry. After his stint in the Joe Perry Project, Farren formed a new band, the Enemy. They released a single in the Boston area, as well as a track on a Boston radio station compilation and though the band was one of the most popular in the region, with Farren's acoustic music being courted by Atlantic's Ahmet Ertegun himself, it was the hard rock sound of Farrenheit, a trio he formed with Perry Project bassist David Hull, who changed his name to David Heit, creating Farren/Heit, which led to a national release. Keith Olsen produced one album on Warner Bros. that resulted in MTV rotation for the singles, as well as a tour opening for the group Boston playing on 75 sold-out shows from coast to coast. Highlights of the tour included a record nine consecutive sold-out shows at the Worcester Centrum, four consecutive sell outs at both the Brendan Byrne Arena and the L.A. Forum, and a slot at the Cotton Bowl before 85,000 folks at the Texas Jam. The group has also enjoyed years of sold-out regional performances throughout New England.

Farren also performed with his sister, Robin Farren, in the band simply titled Farren, a moniker that got confused with the one-name female vocalist Ferron, thus, Farrenheit fans called the band the Charlie Farren Group. The frontman told AMG that included Muzz on drums, Philip Bynoe on bass (who later went on to play with Steve Vai, and later still with Kevin Eubanks' band), and Igor Khoroshev, who later played keyboards with the original lineup of Yes for several years after replacing Rick Wakeman. "That band is featured on my Greasetown CD. I mention these guys as a comment on the quality of great players that I've always been fortunate enough to attract with my songs."

"The most musically important part of my career has been since (the 1999) album Deja Blue...the Color of Love; music from this CD has been included in network TV shows and has sold in modest but profitable numbers around the world."

Charlie Farren has appeared on Nona Hendryx's 1985 RCA album The Heat, Farrenheit producer Keith Olsen's production of Bad Company's 1986 LP Fame and Fortune, Peter Wolf's 1996 CD Long Line, as well as Joey McIntyre's 1999 release Stay the Same. As guest vocalist with the Black, a band featuring Adrian Medeiros of Tangerine Zoo, Farren sang on the tune "We're Still Standing." Farrenheit composed and produced a song called "The Living Daylights" for the James Bond film of the same name, but lost out to the band a-ha. A comparison of Farren's song, released on The Best of Boston Music Showcase, Vol. 1, and the one by the European group proves it was actually the filmgoers who lost out. Farren's release is legend in James Bond fan circles. Farren works at a technology company, has a wife and three children living north of Boston, and continues to live the rock & roll dream. He releases music important to him on his own F-Man Music imprint. Farren also performs solo and has opened for the Kinks, Roger McGuinn, Huey Lewis, Jethro Tull, Sammy Hagar, Eddie Money, Warren Zevon, and many, many others.

Genre
Years Active:

'90s, '00s