Dead Freddie
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Dead Freddie

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1980 | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1980
Band Rock Punk




"Lithuanian American power poppers Dead Freddie defy their own demise: The Secret History of Chicago Music"

Short-lived early-80’s power-pop outfit Dead Freddie have enjoyed a second life in the 2010’s. They have roots in the South West-side Marquette Park neighborhood, where in the 60’s the original members attended Donelaitis Lithuanian School and Nativity BVM Elementary. In the mid-70’s, Vainis Aleksa and Donatas Ramanauskas were inspired by theatrical local act Mist, and by 1978 they were playing community events as a cover band (The Beach Boys, Iggy Pop, The Who) with Ramanauskas on vocals and Aleksa on guitar. Aleksa soon started writing originals, and at a party in ’79, Dead Freddie found their first line up: brothers Al and Vitas Plioplys joined on lead guitar and bass, bringing in their friend Juozas Mikuzis on drums. The band loved the Sex Pistols and The Clash, as well as locals such as power poppers Off Broadway and weirdo punker Skafish, and they played their first gig on April 8, 1980, at the Lithuanian Youth Center. Since not everyone in Dead Freddie was 21, they rarely played clubs; eventually they booked shows at Cubby Bear & Huey’s, but hundreds of kids would pile in to see them at The Knights of Lithuania Hall near 44th and Western Blvd. In 1981, Ramanauskas finished a Master’s in Chemistry and moved to Detroit for a job, but Dead Freddie didn’t disband until 1982, when Aleksa graduated from UIC and headed to Germany. Ramanauskas, who now works as an ink formulator, tried to reunite the original lineup in 2000 and 2005, then put together a new Dead Freddie in 2011: he sings and plays accordion with Gintas Buinevicius (drums), Joe Wood (guitar) and Stephen Foley (bass). They cut their EP “If I Knew What I Wanted” in 2016 and a self-titled LP in 2018, and they gig often-they opened for goof-punk legends The Dickies in 2017 and for Off Broadway this year. “Dead Freddie” maintains a link to the band’s 80’s sound, with elements of Classic Rock, Punk, Ska, Garage, Glam, and even Lithuanian Folk.
-Huge thanks to Donatas Ramanauskas and Radio Ruta SpencerBy Steve Krakow, A.K.A. Plastic Crimewave - The Chicago Reader


What do you really know about that guy who once lived down the block? Especially if he’s older and your paths didn’t usually cross. He seemed like a regular guy growing up in the 60s and 70s on Chicago’s southwest side, in the Lithuanian enclave known as Marquette Park. The years rush by, and then you see him again at a Lithuanian event and say hello in passing. That guy was my one-time neighbor Donatas Ramanauskas. When I ran into him, years later, he was involved with the Lithuanian Scouts. He was married with two grown daughters. He seemed like a good, clean-cut, responsible man leading a normal, low-key life. I would never have guessed that he had another, not so ordinary, existence!

It was Ruta Grigola Spencer who notified Draugas News that a Lithuanian band named “Dead Freddie” was featured in the June 18, 2019, issue of the Chicago Reader. (The Chicago Reader is an alternative weekly newspaper, covering Chicago’s music, theatre, and art scene.) The piece was titled, “Lithuanian American power poppers Dead Freddie defy their own demise.” Dead Freddie was featured in a section called “Secret History of Chicago Music – Pivotal Chicago musicians that somehow have not gotten their just dues.” A line art drawing of the band members accompanied the article. There he was, my ex-neighbor, Donatas Ramanauskas, and another guy I knew, Vainis Aleksa. I had no idea!!!
So, I contacted Donatas to get the full story. It all began with a hugely popular 70’s rock band, KISS, and their tribute band named Mist. They inspired Ramanauskas and Aleksa to start their own group. Ramanauskas (vocals) and Aleksa (guitar) started playing in 1978 at community events as a cover band, playing songs from The Who, The Beach Boys, Iggy Pop, and the like. In 1979 the group was fully formed adding members Juozas (Joey) Mikužis (drums), and brothers Vitas (bass guitar) and Algis (lead guitar) Plioplys. Jeff Wolowiec, a friend from Quigley South High School in Chicago, came up with the name. No hidden meaning – they just needed a name. Most importantly, Ramanauskas said, the name should not begin with the typical “The…” And so Dead Freddie was born.
All the original Dead Freddie members shared a Lithuanian heritage and participated in Lithuanian activities: folk dance groups, youth choirs, and Lithuanian Scouts. Most attended, the then-functioning Nativity BVM school and the Donelaitis Lithuanian Saturday School. The latter school was located in the McKay public school across the way from Lithuanian Nativity BVM Parish.
The band members learned Lithuanian folk and patriotic songs at the Donelaitis School. Their musical tastes developed with time: they followed radio’s top 40 hits and then later WXRT – 93 FM radio, a still respected Adult Album Alternative (AAA), Blues/R and B, Soul radio station. In addition to playing the guitar, Vainis Aleksa was the group’s principal songwriter. The original band was influenced by the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, and Ramones. Currently, the band’s influences are more varied, covering Punk, Metal, Classic Rock and Country music. Donatas Ramanauskas, the group’s vocalist and occasional songwriter, also plays the accordion, initially incorporated into their music in 2016. Dead Freddie is presently considered to be a Punk Pop band with some SKA influence. Punk is a louder, more aggressive form of Rock music. The pop influence makes it more melodic. SKA, according to Wikipedia, originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s and is a precursor to reggae, combining elements of Caribbean mento and calypso with American Jazz. A unique sound for sure!
Success – not Excess
The first Dead Freddie performance took place on April 8, 1980, at the Lithuanian Youth Center (Jaunimo Centras a.k.a. J.C.’s) in the Gage Park neighborhood. Also featured was another local Lithuanian band, Lazy Axe. Its members included Al Kupcikevičius, Vytas (T.D.) Markevičius, Jonas (Jon) Aleksa (brother of Dead Freddie’s Vainis Aleksa), Stan Pawlak and Roger Staudohar.
A few months later on July 4, 1980, the band performed at the now-closed Knights of Lithuania Hall on 44th Street in Brighton Park. The 6th International Lithuanian Folk Dance Festival was in full swing in Chicago that weekend. After 10-12 hours of rehearsal, with another long day of rehearsals scheduled the next day, about 600, still energetic Lithuanian folk dancers and their friends, from all over the world, crowded into the Knights Hall. Records must have been broken since the occupancy limit for the Hall was about 200. Dead Freddie’s exposure grew. They went on to perform at the annual Lithuanian Days on 69th Street. Other gigs included the famed Cubby Bear, Huey’s and the Marquette Theatre. By 1982 the two founding members, Ramanauskas and Aleksa, got jobs outside the music world. They left Chicago for Detroit and Germany, respectively, and the group disbanded.
I asked if the band had any issues with alcohol or drug abuse, which is sadly common in the music world. Seeing friends go down that road had an impact on the band. Ramanauskas also credited their Lithuanian Scout training, with keeping them on the right track, especially the 10th rule: “Skaistus ir Blaivus” (Remain Chaste and Sober).
The Revival
In 2011 at the Lithuanian Scout camp Rakas in Custer, Michigan, Laura Lapinskienė reminisced about Dead Freddie and suggested they play again. Aušra Petry dared Ramanauskas to get the band together as a fundraiser to help defray the cost of a planned Lithuanian Scout trip to New Mexico. However, none of the original members, except for Ramanauskas, were able to return. So, new members were found. In 2011, the lineup included Ed Saulis (who played through 2016), Tom (Mulz) Mulhern (through 2013), Regina Ramanauskas (Donatas’s daughter who plays intermittently) and Terrence (TJ) Petry (through 2013).
In 1966 Ramanauskas and Aleksa were selected to be part of a small Lithuanian cub scout choir led by Faustas Strolia and Vytas Gutauskas. The Album “Tra-Lia-Lia” was released in 1968 commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Scout Movement in Lithuania and internationally. On the cover (Left right, top row): Robertas Kėželis, Donatas Ramanauskas, Vainis Aleksa, Algis Mikėnas, Juozas Ivanauskas. Bottom row: Eugenijus Kriaučeliūnas, Lucius Aleksa, Henrikas Varaneckas, Antanas Eringis, Audrius Gutauskas. The album is still available for purchase at the St. Casimir Fest held annually at the Lithuanian World Center in March.
I had the opportunity to chat with TJ Petry about his playing with Dead Freddie. In 2011, he was a high school junior and was already in a band when Donatas Ramanauskas recruited him. Ramanauskas was TJ’s Lithuanian Scout Troop leader, so how could he say no? Actually, it was an easy “yes.” TJ likes Punk and Heavy Metal and said the experience was a blast. The other young band member was Regina Ramanauskas, also in her late teens. When I asked him about groupies, TJ laughed and said, Donatas Ramanauskas’ wife Rasa was a loyal supporter. He recounted that during their second performance the band dedicated a song to her. TJ had to leave the group when he went off college as the four-hour drive every Saturday for practices would have been too much. TJ just saw Dead Freddie perform in December 2018 at a club named Cigars and Stripes in Berwyn, Illinois. He recalled that the band sang a Lithuanian folk song “Kaip Gražu Miške” (How Beautiful it is in the Woods) to the mostly American crowd. It was well-received. The song refrain “ha, ha” got everyone singing. Dead Freddie has two other Lithuanian songs in its repertoire: “Ant Kalno Mūrai” translates as “Stone Castle on the Hill” and figuratively “Warriors on the Hill.” It’s about a young man and his friends riding on horseback to court a young lady only to be rebuffed. The other Lithuanian song, “Trys Milijonai” – “Three Million” is Lithuania’s sports anthem, rooting for the underdog, and refers to the approximate population of Lithuania.
Here’s some breaking news: a new, original Lithuanian love song, written by current band member and songwriter, Gintas Buinevičius, will soon be introduced. Buinevičius, who joined Dead Freddie in 2013, is pictured at the far right in the Chicago Reader’s line art drawing of the band members offering a link between the original five members and the current band lineup.
Over the years, other band members included Ziggy Mikužis (Joey’s brother) (2012- 2013), Julius Lie¬tuvninkas (2013-2015), Leonas Putrius (2013-2016), and Nick Du Bois ( 2015-2016). Max Crawford of Poi Dog Pondering, laid down trumpet and trombone on two songs on Dead Freddie’s self-titled LP “Dead Freddie.” Others performed for one show. Interestingly, both Putrius and Buinevičius had seen the original Dead Freddie perform in 1981, never thinking they would one day be part of the group. Another interesting connection: Buinevičius also played with Lithuanian singer/songwriter, experimental/piano rock, eclectic musician Vyto B in Vyto Beleška’s Virtual Reality 2009 line up. Vyto B was also featured in the Chicago Reader’s “Secret History of Chicago Music” in the September 4, 2013, issue.
Current lineup
The current Dead Freddie lineup includes Stephen Foley and Joe Wood (both of whom joined in 2016), Gintas Buinevičius (joined in 2013) and the one original member, Donatas Ramanauskas (since 1978). Buinevičius and Wood have played in a few bands together, including The Repeats and The Spindles.
“Dead Freddie”.
Dead Freddie has been playing at various clubs mostly in the Chicagoland area including Fitzgerald’s, Underground Lounge, and Live Wire. Most recently they performed at O’Neill’s Pub on June 29 in Lombard, Illinois. They opened for Off Broadway in February 2019 and The Dickies in March 2017 at Reggie’s Chicago. An out of state show in 2016 took them to the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio.
On the Air
The band has made quite a few live radio appearances including WXAV (St. Xavier U), WZRD (NE Illinois U), WLUW (Loyola U). They have gotten radio play on SiriusXM satellite radio station “Little Steven’s (Van Zandt) Underground Garage, on the monthly Friday Night show “Goldie’s Garage,” hosted by Genya Ravan. Their songs “Mary’s Waiting” and “Cliché” were featured with positive reviews by the host. They were also featured on June 22, on WGN Radio on the Mike Stephen Show – “Outside the Loop.” Steve Krakow, the author of the Chicago Reader article, discussed Dead Freddie on air. You can hear the full interview on Dead Freddie’s Facebook page, posted June 23, 2019.
Dead Freddie has two music releases: a six-song EP (Extended Play) “If I Knew What I Wanted” (2016), recorded at Bricktop Studios, Chicago, and a 12-song LP (Long Play) “Dead Freddie” (2018) recorded at Sonic Palace, Oak Park, Illinois. Heads up: they self-funded these releases and are looking for an independent label to pick them up.
The Dead Freddie LP was recently reviewed by Mike Tomano’s Music is My Life, who wrote, “An excellent collection, produced by the always musically adventurous Matt Mercado.” (Mercado is a sound and mixing engineer and owner of the recording studio, Sonic Palace. He was also a band member of Daisy Chain, Mindbomb, and Supermercado.)
Today a measure of success for Dead Freddie is competing successfully for recognition with other younger musicians. Plus, they’re having fun. You can acquire Dead Freddie CD’s and vinyl records through CD Baby at or directly thru their website:
To find out more about the group, follow them on Facebook and sign up for their newsletter. Check them out live: upcoming performances are on August 8, 2019, at Montrose Saloon in Chicago and on October 26, 2019 (a Halloween themed show) at DZ Records in Hickory Hills, Illinois. To book them for your special event, contact Donatas Ramanauskas at

By Audrone (Audrey) Kizys - Draugas News

"Dead Freddie"

This Chicago pop punk band is rooted in that town’s original late-’70s punk scene, even before Strike Under, Effigies, Naked Raygun etc., but somehow, have only been releasing records more recently. Their sound is full of the Windy City’s over-the-top-hard-punk-with-melodic-undertow tradition, and rarely strays from said formula. That said, it’s just plain great then as now, and it’s fun to listen to these two records just to see how they’ve grown. The IIKWIW six songer features material from their 1979 set–all of which smokes!—and DF follows in its predecessor’s footsteps. Great!! (
By Jack Rabid. Editor/publisher
Big Takeover Magazine, 356 4th St, 2nd fl., Brooklyn, NY 11215 - Big Takeover Magazine

"Dead Freddie"

Dead Freddie is Chicago’s punk, rock, pop band. The current members of the band are Gintas Buinevicius (drums, guitar and backing vocals) Gary Vacha (guitar), Karl Sperling (bass), Sam Steagerman (trombone) and Donatas Ramanauskas (lead vocals and accordion). The core of the group has been together since 2013 and the original group was founded in 1980.
Dead Freddie is a fun band to listen, it’s as simple as that. They offer up a forceful combo of rock and punk with other elements sprinkled in all over, like ska for instance. You will hear all of their influences bursting through like the genius of Bowie and the distinct punk rockers the Clash. After all, what are we without our influences?
They do have their sound down and one that I enjoyed immensely on their self-titled debut. I received the colorful light purple/white splatter 12” for my listening pleasure, making it and eye and ear candy delight. It also comes with a download card so you can drop it into iTunes and stream it when you are on a leisurely cruise or on your way to the office and need something else besides coffee to pump you up.
Side one kicks things into high gear with “CLICHÉ,” a rather quick little ditty, but effective, clocking in at 2:15, however there are some tracks that go beyond the 4 to 5-minute mark. Right from the start they put their stamp on their style, music, and overall approach. I am hooked already and anxious to hear more.
“Mary Left” has an irresistible rhythm to it that you will find hard to forget then when “Pocket Judy Crash Course” starts it shows their quirkier punk side, which I found very appealing. There is plenty of tongue in cheek lyrics in that track and the album sleeve provides the words for the tracks. I always found that aspect of LPs a bonus and it makes the experience more real. It’s kind of like jumping right inside the album and your suddenly with the band, absorbing every word, and you can picture them jumping around and making all the right facial expressions to push the lyrics over to that last step, where it all clicks inside your head.
Side Two opens with the lament “She Won't Play House.” So, the singer decides picking his favorite music will drown out the disappointment and when that’s over he picks up his instruments to take the place of it. It is just traveling down the road to leave it all behind, and why not? The girl just won’t play along.
Speaking of quirky again, “Stage Brain” is as crazy as it gets instrumentally and with lyrics. The stop and go of the music are rather impressive and it works well with the choice of lyrics, all the while reminding you to pay attention with a rousing HEY YOU WAKE UP! Directly after that little ride “Cartoon Woman” has a definitive retro sound that did remind me of The Clash. There was one of their influences on display in all its unencumbered glory. I appreciate the nod to all the influences especially when I can relate and enjoy the same artists.
The album closes the curtain with the longest track “Save Me From Myself” clocking in at 05:41. It starts with a strumming acoustic guitar and some restrained vocals which carries through right to end and some orchestration is added in for texture and that added layer of polish about ¾ of the way through. This is a big step away from everything you just heard. I took it as signal that this band has the talent to play what they want. Don’t let the “punk” tag sway your judgement, this a talented band that has their chops down. To me punk is more of an attitude than the singularity of a genre, the raw emotion of it translates through the music. Some of the tracks show those leanings more than others. The main point here is the Dead Freddie is great band with plenty of juice and talent to pull off what they want. Their self-titled debut is a real keeper and I am interested to see if they use all of those talents to evolve into something else, if and when there is another album.
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-TFOV Founder - The Final on Vinyl

"“Dead Freddie” Dead Freddie"

Long-time rockers Dead Freddie return with a bang to kick 2020 into shape and remind listeners that creative, intentional and immersive rock is still alive and thriving.
Blending the raw energy of punk and the expressive depth of tone more commonly found in eighties rock, with some superb songwriting that introduces a plethora of absolute anthems, this self-titled full-length project is an indie-rock dream to turn up loud.
The bold and straight to the point Cliche starts things off, that punk rock energy filling the room as fast-paced guitars and drums rain down. It’s an instrumental aura that stands tall throughout the album, often bringing in a dash of Mad Caddies – the bounce, the horns, the arbitrary optimism and carefree performance (When I’m Bound an early example and highlight). Alongside this though, that leading vocal, and indeed the songwriting style and these stories, helps give Dead Freddie an authentic and engaging sound all of their own.
As things go on, the band impress all the more so for their clear awareness and the eclectic, interesting arrangement of the collection. For example, with Mary Left we get a slightly more mellow yet creatively meandering set-up, and a vocal-line that tips its hat to Michael by Franz Ferdinand.
The sound is great, really refreshing and the kind of thing you’d happily trudge through the mud for to catch a live show on the other side of the festival field (hopefully those days return to us sometime).
Other highlights include Double Handle, a beautifully chaotic, call-and-response type anthem with some uniquely colourful solos. Conceptually this is one of many moments in which the band seem to tackle familiar concepts but in a new and revealing, clever way.
Going To The Dance also stands out for its acoustic softness and the intimate, minimalist nature of the set-up. Great vocal unity during the latter half – a little Kaiser Chiefs-like it seems.
Pocket Judy Crash Course then stands out for its minute-long instrumental and the fine fusion of Gypsy-jazz and rock. Then we get the power and melodic satisfaction of She Won’t Play House – not to throw in too many comparisons, but this has a slight No Doubt vibe to it. As suggested, the eclecticism and variety throughout the album lets it really hold tight to your attention.
The final quarter brings some mighty high-energy, knees-up moments that again beg for you to witness them in a live setting. Louie’s Place and Stage Brain are particular favourites. Then at the very end, the acoustic passion of Save Me From Myself sees things get notably personal, laying bare vulnerabilities performance-wise and lyrically.
A fantastic album, in short. Twelve original tracks that deliver hints of influence from across the board but seem authentically distinctive on the songwriting front – the band have their own writing style, and their musicianship is second to none. Brilliant.
Visit the Dead Freddie Website for more information. Find & follow the band on Facebook.
By Rebecca Cullen - Stereo Stickman

"“Dead Freddie” Dead Freddie"

CLICHÉ is the first effort off of Dead Freddie’s new self-titled LP, and it immediately calls back to acts like The Stranglers and The Adverts. Melodic pop-punk with driving beats and a robust bass line sound absolutely timeless here, while the passion and charisma of the lead vox will immediately draw fans in to the rest of the disc. When I’m Bound begins with some Cars-esque keys and a hint of ska-infused horns. The rapid tempo will keep fans on the edges of their seats, while the chorus tells a story out of The Misfits or Aquabats’s playbook.

Going To The Dance is an interesting composition on this album. It’s the bands first foray into a longer-form single on the release. The bit of extra time that Dead Freddie give themselves here yields considerable dividend. There’s a bit more plumbing of pub rock and AOR styles with just a hint of the earliest goth acts (e.g. Siouxsie and the Banshees, 45 Grave) that can be picked up here.
Pocket Judy Crash Course has a bit of a pirate-punk meets hardcore-punk style. Imagine a jam-up of the Nekromantix and Gogol Bordello alongside some of the intense bass work of Jay Bentley. She Won’t Play House is one of the high-water marks during the second third of the album. Mix up a bit of rockabilly with Fear and you’ve got an idea of where Dead Freddie is hitting on SWPH.
Cartoon Woman keeps the same bouncy sound of Pocket Judy Crash Course, while Princess Pilot has a delightful instrumental/vocal/clap dynamic. Save Me From Myself winds things down with a wistful, longing sound. Little more is needed to conclude this release than a guitar and touching vocals.
Top Tracks: When I’m Bound, Going To The Dance, Save Me From Myself
Rating: 8.6/10
James McQuiston is an author at NeuFutur Magazine - NeuFutur Magazine


Who says punk rock is just for kids? Once the power of the energy-laden genre has its teeth in you there is no escape. Punk bands, on the other hand, are not known for their longevity. Our recent find Dead Freddie took the standard time off but has since reformed to create fresh sounds and continue the fun.
The band dates back to 1980 when two lifelong friends, Donatas Ramanauskas and Vainis Aleksa, after being sucked into the punk scene by legends such as the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Ramones. They knew that is where they belonged and Dead Freddie was born. As is the case of so many Punk bands, the flame burned fast and hot, dying out by 1982. Life got in the way. College, marriages, kids, and day jobs put the band on indefinite hiatus. But there is no holding the punk gene down. In 2012, Dead Freddie came together again with some fresh faces and a fresh take as Chicago’s Punk Pop Phenomena.
The most recent release by the band is the self-titled Dead Freddie album. The vibe seems to still be alive and well. The high energy sound is kept fresh by taking elements from Garage, Glam, Ska, and Power-pop and meshing them all together for the new Dead Freddie sound. The distorted guitars and group Oi vocals that start the opener “Cliche” let us know that there is no slowdown in the new music. Other genres creep in that shows off the mass of classic influences the band has taken in over their years.
The drum heavy “Mary Left” keeps the energy maxed out as the pounding beat will jump start any hearts open to the music. The group chorus has that classic punk effect of causing the listener to want to sing along and be part of what is happening here. “Double Handle” keeps this rolling as well with some exotic instrumentation thrown in for good measure.
The fun is contagious on “She Won’t Play House”. Another track that will have you singing along by the second verse. This gets even stranger with “Stage Brain” as noises seem to come from everywhere, even a punk rock accordion.
By the time we get to the closer “Save Me From Myself” it seems that Dead Freddie is ready to let us off easy with a mellow number that provides a head swaying effect with acoustic guitar strumming, accordion pulls and no drums. This is the break we all need to let our hearts return to a normal beating pattern. Relax, but not for long.
Keep up with more energy from Dead Freddie at:
By Keith Profeta - Indie Band Guru

"Prepare for a Garage-Glam-Power-Pop-Punk Extravaganza, Dead Freddie’s Self-Titled New Album is Now Available!"

Chicago Punk Pop Phenomenon Dead Freddie originated in the year 1966 when a group of Cub Scouts organized to raise funds for the Lithuanian Scout Movement.
As a result of that experience, Donatas Ramanauskas and Vainis Aleksa became lifelong friends. The band, Dead Freddie, formed in 1980 after a 1978 epiphany brought about by the music of The Ramones, The Clash and the Sex Pistols. In the true spirit of punk, the band burned hot, it burned fast and the fuel was burning out by 1982.
Fast forward through decades of college, marriage, kids, and jobs to the year 2011. It was that year the band was approached, or challenged, to play a fundraiser for the movement. Despite other band members saying no to this opportunity, Donatas couldn’t resist. He brought together a group of younger and older musicians to prepare a set of Dead Freddie material.
The new lineup includes: Gintas Buinevicius on Drums, Guitar and Backing Vocals, Gary Vacha on Guitar and Backing Vocals, Karl Sperling on Bass Guitar and Backing Vocals, Sam Steagerman on Trombone and backing vocals and Donatas Ramanauskas on Lead Vocals and the occasional Punk Accordion.
Packed full of energy, intensity, and charisma, Dead Freddie deliver an unrelenting wall of infectious sounds that are guaranteed to pump you up in the modern age while staying true to the essence of Punk’s spirit from the 60s and 70s.
This album is meant to be turned up as loud as possible. Your body is meant to and will be moved. Your spirits will be boosted and your mood refreshed. In fact, Dead Freddie might get you so fired up you could find yourself turning your living room into a mosh pit.
Infused with meaningful history, loved by audiences at clubs and festivals, supported by radio stations locally and beyond, Dead Freddie creates timeless music and a timeless experience that is highly enjoyable, energetic and potentially addictive.
I highly encourage you to jam and support the new album.
Listen to Dead Freddie on Spotify.
Connect on the official website.
by Joshua (J.Smo) Smotherman - Indie Music Discovery

"Dead Freddie-Dead Freddie, 8 April 2020"

Active in the Chicago-area pop-punk scene in the late 70’s and early 80’s, back then they went by the moniker, Dead Freddie Band, and branded themselves as Chicago’s Punk-Pop Phenomenon.
Fast-forward forty years, several iterations of the band (which included a slight tweak to their name, dropping “Band” and going with the simple, Dead Freddie), and when the dust settled it left a current makeup which includes: Gintas Buinevicius (drums, guitar, backing vocals), Gary Vacha (guitar, backing vocals), Karl Sperling (bass guitar, backing vocals), Sam Steagerman (trombone, backing vocals) and Donatas Ramanauskas (lead vocals, punk accordion).
Following up the 2016 EP, If I Knew What I Wanted, is their eclectic and spirited full length self-titled LP, Dead Freddie.
Opening this raucous affair is, Cliche, a throwback punk piece that immediately feels like the Ramones cut a track with early-era Green Day. Donatas Ramanauskas’s delivery is confident and on point and displays a veteran punk character. The track is total fun and has crossover appeal to those who think they don’t like punk…
“When Jesus comes again he’ll have his hair greased back
And all of the children will be ready to attack
They’ll pull out Grandpa’s Maltese Cross
And then they’ll really sing ‘cause they felt the loss
Every day is so cliché, every day is so cliché…”
High-octane horns and guitars create a gloriously goofy tribute to S&M’ers everywhere in, When I’m Bound, which has a very Goldfinger-esque energy to it.
OUR FAVORITE TRACK… An endearing and youthful tale of young co-eds long ago, the contrast between the acoustic guitars and the punk melody in, Going To The Dance, has a distinct Tarantino soundtrack vibe to it. It’s our favorite on the album.
Classic, minimalist pop-punk in, She Won’t Play House, creates a killer break-up track with just enough spunk to make you chuckle as you leave your lover (love the claps in the chorus)…
“I got my ducks lined in a row
It seems this tear’s too big to sew
And if I could I would keep driving down this road
But what’s the point when it’s all about to explode
She won’t play house…”
Digging the tone and panning in Cartoon Woman’s nostalgic solo at 1:40.
OUR “OTHER” FAVORITE TRACK… The left-field acoustic ending in, Save Me From Myself, gives us a substantive glimpse into the depth of Freddie. However, this melancholy piece of nostalgic regret is not a downer, it’s simply telling the story as it is…
“But all I do is hide inside
As my heroes stand in mirrors and search for truth
And those aware pretend to care and steal from my youth
You’re not talking about my generation anymore…”
A totality of fun. Wildly enthusiastic. Perfectly and wonderfully verbose. A talented brand of cross-over punk. Dead Freddie’s self titled album offers both the fun and the skill, the humor and the jam, the accordion and the guitar! In this 12-track nod to pop-punk, this group has not only created a wildly creative collection of multi-rock-genre songs, they’ve executed said songs in a charismatic and professional manner.
Excellent performance credits. Engaging writing. Pro-level production. And, let’s not overlook Ramanauskas’s Bowie-esque timbre and absolutely non-weathered ability to front this high energy bunch. In sum, what we have here is a punk-lover’s dream, particularly for those who love slightly nuanced jams which are slightly left or right of center. Give Dead Freddie a listen below.
David Bowie meets Goldfinger… - The Ark of Music

"Off Broadway, Phil Angotti Band, The Evictions, Dead Freddie at Reggie's Rock Club"

Mike Tomano's Music Is My Life
March 10, 2019 at 6:04 PM ·
Off Broadway, Phil Angotti Band, The Evictions, Dead Freddie
Reggie's Rock Club
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Review & Photos by Mike Tomano
Chicago power-pop legends Off-Broadway headlined at Reggie's Rock Club in Chicago, Saturday, February 23rd. In a set that drew heavily from their major-label releases, 1979's On and 1980 follow-up Quick Turns, the band was in terrific form; immediately bonding with the capacity crowd. Guitarists John Ivan and Rob Harding and bassist John Pazdan were having a ball, playing with the exuberance of teenagers and the maturity of seasoned pros. Drummer Ken Harck's solid pocket proved why he remains one of the area's most revered drummers. Cliff Johnson's vocals were as reliable as ever ( as were his raunchy antics and politically-incorrect between song banter. Rock & Roll, Baby!)
In addition to well-known hits, including Stay In Time, Bully Bully and Automatic, the band also treated the audience to a typically-catchy tune that hasn't been recorded (yet) called Holiday.
Taking the stage prior to Off-Broadway was the prolific Phil Angotti, who played a variety of originals and some surprising covers. Angotti, who, since his days in The Beatle Brothers, has churned out albums of consistent high quality, was joined by drummer Joe Camarillo and bassist Tom Ryan. The Phil Angotti band's set included two glowing tributes to his late-friend and fellow-popster Jim Ellison of Material Issue; a moving original, The Best Teardrop, and a rousing rendition of MI's Valerie Loves Me. With the recent passing of Peter Tork, their charged-up cover of The Monkees' For Pete's Sake was a home run, washing nostalgia over the singing crowd.
Wearing his influences on his sleeve (Beatles, Squeeze); Angotti's songs are sincere reflections of his artistry and honed pop craftsmanship. Melodic hooks, top-notch playing and clever lyrics delivered in Phil's fine vocals (reminiscent of Glenn Tillbrook) make for tunes you wish to revisit. His latest release is called Such Stories.
Third on this diverse bill was the hard-rocking young trio The Evictions, who wasted no time stating their mission. A wall of sound overtook the club; equal parts thunderous bass, fuzzy guitar and ferocious drumming. The Evictions channel the spirit of The Stooges, Blue Cheer, Mudhoney and The Ramones. Guitarist and vocalist Johnny Wator's angst-ridden vocals and power-riffs soared over the anthemic tunes anchored by bassist Chris Polish's wall-shaking rumbles and Joe Sowinski's manic-yet-precise Keith Moonish drumming. The Evictions are a band to watch. Their new album is due out soon. Check 'em out at
The fortunate folks who showed up early were treated to an energetic performance by Chicago's Dead Freddie. Clad in black suits adorned with Christmas lights, fronted by accordion-wielding vocalist Donatas Ramanauskas, Dead Freddie revved up the crowd with their catchy ska-tinged-punk originals. The band had the crowd dancing and cheering throughout their performance, which included smart originals like She Won't Play House, and their fiery finale When I'm Bound. Complimenting Ramanauskas, drummer Gintas Buinevicius, guitarist Joe Wood and bassist Steve Foley were trumpeter Gabriel Rodriguez ("on loan from Bumsy and the Moochers") and trombonist Samantha Stiegerman.
Dead Freddie began in the late 70s on Chicago's south side. Disbanding in '82, the current line-up formed in 2013. Their recently released album, Dead Freddie, an excellent collection, produced by the always musically-adventurous Matt Mercado (Mindbomb, Supermercado) is available at
Off-Broadway was part of a magical time in Chicago rock history. The mid-to-late 70s saw them forging the melodic brand of "Chicago Sound" hard-rockin' power pop along with Cheap Trick, Pezband and The Shoes that would continue with Material Issue and Enuff Z'Nuff into the 80s, 90s and beyond. Off-Broadway's performance at Reggie's proved that torch is still the ones who brought the match. And that is no Bad Indication.
Mike Tomano's Music Is My Life is a multi-media project dedicated to all forms of music. This page shares news, insights and videos. Enjoy! - Mike Tomano's Music Is My Life

"Dead Freddie in Goldie's Garage, November 16, 2018"

On November 16, 2018 Genya Ravan (aka "Goldie") said:
So here’s “Cliché” with an artist called Dead Freddie. I’ve been waiting for Dead Freddie stuff and here it is!-again, the song is ‘Cliché”.
Whoa: Dead Freddie is the Chicago Punk Pop Phenomena-that’s what they say-and the current members of this band are Gintas Buinevicius (drums and backing vocals), Joe Wood (guitar and shouting), Steve Foley (bass) and Donatas Ramanauskas…I don’t know, is that Greek?-it looks kind of Greek, but anyway…lead vocals and accordion-what a great axe, the accordion! The core of the current group has been together since 2013. - Little Steven's Underground on Sirius XM Satellite Radio

"Dead Freddie in Goldie's Garage, March 17, 2017"

On March 17, 2017 Radio Host Genya Ravan( aka "Goldie") said:
“Dead Freddie-You rock! You REALLY, REALLY ROCK! Oh, we’ll hear from them again.” - Little Steven's Underground Garage on Sirius XM Satellite Radio

"Dead Freddie at Val's Halla Records, March 4, 2017"

From Mimi Betinis of Pezband on March 14, 2017:

“I had the pleasure of catching a set of Dead Freddie at Val Halla's record shop a couple of weeks ago.
The group's material was not the ordinary rock band stuff by any means but rather quirky, up-tempo and punkish with melody on top of that unusual stream. And that is what you will find interesting about Dead Freddie.
The vocal treatment is far from the norm, the rhythm section is strong and with interjections from Donatas' white electrified accordion, it makes for an interesting mix of elements. It's enjoyable musical entertainment which you will not be disappointed with. Good live act and a nice CD to boot.” - Mimi Betinis of Pezband


The first recording by Dead Freddie was self-released in November 2016, a 6-track EP titled “If I Knew What I Wanted”.  It contains classic tracks from the original 1980 material, plus three new tracks composed by the current line-up. Take the elements of Garage, Proto-Punk, Punk, Post-Punk, Ska and Power-Pop then splice them all together to create a high-energy, yet melodic, sound that pays homage to these earlier genres then adds a modern edge. Dead Freddie Band, active in the late 70’s and early 80’s, was influenced by bands from the early Punk movement such as the Sex Pistols, Ramones, Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders and The Clash as well as by proto-punk artists such as Iggy Pop and Lou Reed, glam rock performers such as T-Rex, David Bowie and Mott the Hoople plus just a hint of Ska from The Specials and English Beat. At a local level, the excellent Power-Pop groups of Chicago and the Midwest of that era, such as Cheap Trick, Off Broadway USA, The Kind, Loose Lips and Pezband, inspired and informed the early Dead Freddie sound and remain part of the “DNA” of Dead Freddie’s music today.

Performing on the EP:

Gintas Buinevicius: Drums, Guitar, Backing Vocals; Leonas Putrius: guitar; Nick DuBois: Bass; Donatas Ramanauskas: Lead Vocals

Recorded & mixed at Bricktop Studios Chicago by Pete Grossman, mastered at Mastermind Productions by Trevor Sadler

The self-titled "Dead Freddie" LP was released in November 2018.  It contains twelve original tracks, combining six tracks from c1980 and the remaining tracks from 2014-2018.

Performing on the LP:

Gintas Buinevicius: Drums, Guitar, Backing Vocals; Joe Wood: guitar; Stephen Foley: Bass; Donatas Ramanauskas: Accordion and Lead Vocals.  Special appearance by Max Crawford, on trumpet, on "When I'm Bound" and "Louie's Place".

Recorded and mixed at Sonic Palace Studio Oak Park, IL by Matt Mercado, mastered at Mastermind Productions by Trevor Sadler.

Dead Freddie's third release (2nd LP) titled "The Devil Is In The Details" dropped on 12/1/2023.  It contains eight tracks, seven originals and one cover. Three tracks date back to material from c1980 and four tracks from the "modern era". The cover is by Lithuanian composer Vytautas Kernagis

Performing on the LP:

Gintas Buinevicius: Drums, Guitar, Backing Vocals; Gary Vacha: guitar; Karl Sperling: Bass; Nick DuBois: guitar and Donatas Ramanauskas: Accordion and Lead Vocals. 

Recorded and mixed at Sonic Palace Studios Chicago by Matt Mercado, mastered at Mastermind Productions by Trevor Sadler.



Dead Freddie is the Chicago-area band known as the "Punk Pop Phenomena".  Drawing inspiration from proto-punk, punk, ska, new wave, garage and power pop gives the band its original sound that pays homage to their roots while creating a new, accessible sound of the now.
The band has its origins in its line-up dating from the late 1970s, experiencing the actual origins of the music that impacted not just the music, but the very fabric of the culture at the time.  And while the current line up has evolved from where it started, the core of their original music remains as the DNA of all that has followed in creating the Dead Freddie "Vibe", splicing together and respecting the old while embracing the new.  

Dead Freddie is:
Donatas Ramanauskas-Lead Vocals, Punk Accordion
Gintas Buinevicius-Drums, Guitar, Vocals
Gary Vach-Guitar                                                                                                              Nick DuBois-Guitar                                                                                                              Karl Sperling-Bass Guitar

Influences include Iggy Pop, Lou Reed; Sex Pistols, Ramones, Clash, Buzzcocks, Elvis Costello; Beatles, Rolling Stones, Who, Led Zeppelin; David Bowie Talking Heads, Roxy Music, Mott the Hoople.

The band self-released "If I Knew What I Wanted", a six-song EP of original songs, three from 1980 and three from 2104-2016.  More recently, the self-titled "Dead Freddie" LP dropped in October 2018.  Also self-released, the disk has twelve original titles, a blend of legacy material and songs written by the current line-up.  The most recent release, "The Devil Is In The Details" dropped December 2023.  This 8-song LP has three "legacy" tracks c1980, four more recently composed tracks and one cover song, a Lithuanian cabaret classic, "Kaip Gražu Miške" by Vytautas Kernagis (1951-2008).

Band Members