The Fabulous Fremonts
The Fabulous Fremonts (Pueblo, Colorado)
Irene Chavez (Guitar / Vocal)
Henry Garcia (Guitar / Vocal)
Vic Macheto (Saxophone / Vocal)
John Rivera (Drums / Vocal)
1964 – Gee Whiz / Watermelon Man (Valerie 2003)
The Fabulous Fremonts formed in the early 1960’s and were headed up lead singer and bass guitar player (and table steel guitar player) Irene Chavez. Irene started playing guitar at the age of 7 and would occasionally join her mother as a duet performing on local radio in Pueblo. Irene – with help from her mother – assembled the Fremonts which included Henry Garcia on lead guitar, Vic Macheto on saxophone and John Rivera on drums. They took their name from a Las Vegas night club ash tray “The Fremont”. They usually performed as “The Fabulous Fremonts” but would also go by “The Fremonts”. In 1961, while attending Central High, Irene entered the GI Forum competition which was a talent and beauty contest. She won the Pueblo competition, the state of Colorado competition and placed third in the national competition in Las Vegas. Vic Macheto and John Rivera both departed the band with Rivera being replaced by drummer John Trujillo.
The Fremonts continued as a trio performing at Pueblo’s Honey Bucket and Tony’s Danceland. Next came the opportunity to cut a record, the Fremonts asked their manager (Irene’s mother) if they could cut a record. A session was scheduled with Valerie Records (the Band Box subsidiary) and the band made the long drive north to Denver accompanied by Irene’s soon-to-be-husband, Tano Roybal. After recording several songs on tape, “Gee Whiz” and “Watermelon Man” were deemed the best and pressed as a record. For around $500 the band received the master tape and 300 records. “Gee Whiz” received local airplay and did chart #38 on the local charts.
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