FREEEZ  

Ingrid Mansfield Allman

John Rocca and Peter Maas

Gordon Sullivan

 

The band comprised drummer Paul Morgan, bassist and vocalist Peter Maas, keyboardist Andy Stennett and vocalist John Rocca. Gordon Sullivan and Geoff Warren supplied guitar and saxophone parts respectively, whilst former member Jean Paul Maunick, departed in order to start his new group Incognito. Hailing from Essex on the outskirts of London, they tried unsuccessfully to sign with a major label. They eventually started their own called Pink Rhythm, and released their first single Keep in Touch an instrumental which sold over 35,000 copies. After the inevitable renewed interest from major record labels they signed to Beggar’s Banquet, which at that time was a small company, as they allowed them total creative control.

Another club hit Flying High, was the result of the union with their new label, and managed to sell more that it’s predecessor. They gained even higher record sales with the release of Southern Freeez, a song about a dance performed in some of the nightclubs at the time, and it even reached the top 10 of the UK national charts during February 1981. It was the first of their singles to feature female vocals, which were performed on this occasion by Ingrid Mansfield Allman. Their self titled debut album containing 9 tracks was soon released thereafter, although some of their other singles such as Anti-freeez, Mountain Man and Stay did not appear on it. Filled with confidence at their success, Peter Maas pursued American rap and electro producer Arthur Baker to get him involved on their second LP. Much to his surprise Baker agreed to do so, as the band had made a huge impression on him and the New York club scene. The group ventured to America, where they performed PAs in nightclubs such as The Funhouse and Zanzibar, and were shocked at the positive response they received from a crowd notoriously hostile to foreign acts.

Their second album Gonna Get You was a complete departure from their earlier sound, as it featured synthesizers and drum machines quite heavily, which meant that Morgan didn’t even appear on it. This may certainly have unsettled their die hard funk fans, but did not prevent the track I.O.U. becoming a number 2 hit in England, and a big seller across America in 1983. Nor did it stop the high chart position of their next single Pop Goes My Love. The band embraced the new era of electronic dance music enthusiastically, and reaped the rewards of their gamble.

Rocca eventually went solo, doing well with his single I Want It To Be Real in 1984. But although Freeez released three more LPs in as many years afterwards, the group dissolved in 1987. Rocca left the music business alltogether in the 1990s, while other members such as Peter Maas have set up a recording studio in North London, in order to write and produce for new artists.

The music of Freeez still thrives to this day, as modern artists such as Brandy have sampled their songs, such as I.O.U. for her 2003 hit Full Moon.

* Updated 15/9/17

7 inch single on Beggar's Banquet

Debut album from 1981

Second album from 1983