pianist – recording artist
Fred Boyce Händl, born in Bliesdorf, Germany (1972), raised in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Tutor, pianist, recording musician, Zappa nut and House Concert Artist. Owner at The Yellow Hippo Studios.
Fred Händl started playing piano at an early age, first taught by his father, he later had private lessons from three different teachers, before he went to the Conservatory of Music in Tilburg.
His first recordings are from the cassette-tape-era. Few of the many recordings he made as a youngster still remain. What does remain, Fred keeps as far away as possible from the internet. “These are pretty much just for me. I do like to listen to them, every once in a while. I regret not having kept more tapes, but I was a teenager in the ’80’s and I needed the cassettes to make mix-tapes.”
In the early ’90’s Fred played guitar / bass and trumpet in several punk and avant-garde bands (Freq.L, Panus Bolus and Flux’ being the most noteworthy). In 1994 he started recording his first solo album Re-Provision, a curious collection of genres as he calls it, finishing it in 1995. This 28 track disc is still (but only) available on request.
After his guitar adventures, he turned to his first love, the piano. And in 1996 he recorded his first album entitled: Moon and Stars and Moon and Stars and All That Jazz – recorded at The Daltoon Studios in Eindhoven. “I was pretty fond of those recordings at the time, but I am happy most of them have become digital dust. Some tracks from that album I still perform live, though: Milk and Toets – I like those.”
Fred recorded and released several more albums in the years after that (For Piano – 2001, Too Close To Coffee – 2001, Orange – 2003. Then, life happened.
The quiet years
Between pretty much 2003 and 2014, Fred started working at an office and his musical endeavours were pretty much non-existent. After office hours, he would teach piano a couple of evenings in the week, but no noteworthy musical landmarks. “Teaching music in the evening and slacking off at the office by day is something I never thought I would like, until I had it. Life is not so bad.” Fred said in 2008, just before his life would involuntarily take a drastic turn. He quit his job, changing it for one with a 20 minute commute, instead of an hour and half one. He hates it and quits. A couple of years of moving from shit job to unemployed to the next shit job to unemployed again follow. “It really sucked, it did. I was teaching in the evenings and that was pretty much the best time of the day. And I decided that becoming a full-time piano teacher would be so much better than all the crap that happened to me the previous couple of years, so I decided to give it a shot.” Fred now (present day) has a successful piano practice in The Hague.
“In 2014, so many things happened at the same time. I had set up my piano practice, had enough students and was even looking for a studio to rent. I would find one not a year later.”
Fred, an avid fan of Frank Zappa since the early ’90’s, starts looking for transcriptions of his (Zappa) music, finds some, and decides to make some arrangements for piano solo. His first YouTube recording of anything Zappa is: Let’s Make The Water Turn Black. Soon followed by Son of Mr. Green Genes and a not so elegant rendition of Blessed Relief. “I knew the songs, but I had never even imagined I would / could play ‘m – never tried, I had.”
Then, things happened. And they happened fast. In 2015 he joins the band Zappatika and tours with them and Ike Willis several times the coming two years, playing Festival Moo-Ah! and Zappanale in 2016 with Denny Walley, Ike Willis, Craig ‘Twister’ Steward, Jeff Hollie and Ed Mann on the main stage.
In 2016, he leaves Zappatika, but he continues to tour with the Zappa Early Renaissance Orchestra (Z.E.R.O.), on tour in the North West of the U.S., Moo-Ah! again in 2017 and more in the U.S. (a tour with Z.E.R.O., supported by Prairie Prince, Ike Willis and Craig ‘Twister’ Steward. In 2019, he performs once again at Moo-Ah!, playing the music of Frank Zappa for piano solo.
In 2015 he releases his first CD with the music of Frank Zappa, followed by another one in 2018 and his third one in 2020.
“I have no idea of how it all happened so quickly, but it has been a rollercoaster. Ike Willis once told me, when on tour the first time in the UK: ‘Freddie, enjoy .. and know that it will only get better’. I couldn’t believe him. That was 2015, but so far, Ike was right.”
Since 2020, Fred has been touring solo twice a year, mostly in the UK and has been performing his Zappa for Piano Solo show in The Netherlands.
In 2021 he released Tovarishchi, an album with his own compositions. Currently he is working on his fourth CD, featuring the music of Frank Zappa. The CD was planned to be released in December 2022, but the recordings have been delayed due to personal reasons. It’s now planned to be released in the summer of 2023.
Summer 2023 is also the time he will be performing at Zappanale again. 😊🎹
You can find and follow Fred on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Bandcamp.
If you want to book him for a concert, please use: firstname.lastname@example.org to contact him directly.
Here are some videos of Fred performing.
Watermelon in Easter Hay (F. Zappa)
Oh No (featured in the 2020 movie Zappa)
More videos of Fred on YouTube.
Thank you 💛