Dennis Hardy "Fergie" Frederiksen (born May 15, 1951, Grand Rapids, Michigan) is an American rock singer, best known for his work with Angel, Le Roux and Toto during the 1980s. He got his start in the mid to late '70s fronting Chicago pomp rock bands MSFunk and Trillion and was also the background vocalist for Survivor. He contributed to hit singles in three consecutive years all with different bands: Survivor's "American Heartbeat" in 1982, Le Roux's "Carrie's Gone" in 1983 and Toto's "Stranger in Town" in 1984.

Biography

Frederiksen started his musical career at the age of 13, and he played clubs and pubs at the age of 15 with a group called the Common People in Grand Rapids, MI. In 1975, while he was still attending college at Central Michigan, Frederiksen was asked by his friend Tommy Shaw to replace him as the lead vocalist for the band MSFunk, as Shaw was leaving to join Styx. Frederiksen was with MSFunk for a year before disbanding in 1976. While living in Chicago, he formed a local band called Trillion with keyboardist Patrick Leonard. Trillion's debut album was released in 1978 and was produced by Gary Lyons (co-producer of Foreigner's debut album); all but one of its nine tracks were co-written by Frederiksen. The band went on to tour with Styx briefly, and Frederiksen left the band soon after. In later interviews, he cited his having to commute back and forth between college and recording as the main reason for the departure.

After completing school, Frederiksen started focusing mainly on session work; primarily movie soundtracks. He sang two tracks - Samantha and Sound Of The City - on the Village People musical Can't Stop The Music. He also recorded a solo album in 1981 with his friend Mark Christian under the alias of David London. The album landed in the hands of Angel keyboardist Greg Giuffria, and Frederiksen became the band's new lead singer. It was in this line-up of Angel where Frederiksen met bassist Ricky Phillips. The two became long-time friends and have collaborated on many projects. This line-up never completed an official album, recording only three songs during band sessions. These tracks were later released on the Angel Rarities collection.

Frederiksen tried out for Kansas auditions in early part of 1982, but John Elefante eventually took over the lead vocal spot. It was around this time that Frederiksen was also considered as the new lead vocalist for the band Survivor by its founder Jim Peterik. Ultimately, the band stuck with original lead vocalist Dave Bickler, and Frederiksen provided background vocals. The band's third album Eye of the Tiger was released in 1982, with Frederiksen credited simply as "Fergie". It jumped to #2 on the Billboard charts. The album's second single, "American Heartbeat", included Frederiksen's backing vocals and charted in the top 20.

Frederiksen eventually received a call from manager Budd Carr, who let Frederiksen know that Jeff Pollard had recently left Le Roux and a lead vocal spot had opened up. Frederiksen became Le Roux's new front-man. So Fired Up, the band's fifth album (recorded at Studio In The Country in Bogalusa, LA) was released in 1983. It included the hit song "Carrie's Gone", which Frederiksen wrote shortly after breaking up with then girlfriend Carrie Hamilton (Carol Burnett's daughter). The band was dropped from RCA Records, but are still together and touring, and were recently inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, Frederiksen reunited with Ricky Phillips to start a brand new band called Abandon Shame. The band worked primarily on unreleased songs written by Greg Giuffria during the Angel sessions.

Phillips, who was friends with Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro, gave him a Frederiksen demo. The band, who were in the midst of recording their fifth album Isolation, invited Frederiksen to come audition for the lead spot. After edging out Eric Martin, he got the job, and the band finished recording Isolation, which was released in 1984. It included the hit song "Stranger in Town" and went Gold. (Frederiksen made no contribution to either the writing or performance of "Stranger in Town", but was a supporting actor in the promotional video for the song, playing the role of the murder victim.) After touring with Toto through 1985, Frederiksen was fired from the band, mainly due to his difficulties with performing in the studio. He has repeatedly cited his brief tenure with Toto as the highlight of his career.

Following his expulsion from Toto, Frederiksen took to touring as "Toto", using a setlist which included many Toto songs that predated his time with the band. This angered the real Toto, who had already taken out a restraining order against Frederiksen's predecessor, Bobby Kimball, to stop him from doing the same thing. (Toto and Frederiksen were reconciled in 2007, at which point he joined them on stage for a few guest spots on their tour.)

After 11 years in the music industry, Frederiksen unofficially retired and started focusing on the restaurant business with his father. He returned to music in the mid-90s and released a solo album in 1999, later explaining, "I tried to do without music but I was miserable." The album, Equilibrium, was critically acclaimed in Europe and Japan. In 2002 he toured with Voices of Classic Rock.

In June 2010, Frederiksen announced he had been diagnosed with inoperable cancer. Medical treatments for the disease have made it difficult for him to do recording sessions, and initially he planned on retiring again. However, his friend Alex Ligertwood pushed him to continue, and in August 2011 a new solo album by Frederiksen, Happiness is the Road, was announced for an October release.