Initially gaining fame as lead guitarist/singer for emo powerhouse Taking Back Sunday before striking out on his own as the Color Fred, Fred Mascherino was born on July 27, 1975, and grew up in Coatesville, PA, a part of metro Philadelphia.
He went on to earn a degree in jazz performance from nearby Temple University, and in addition to his formal education, Mascherino found some of his earliest musical inspiration from punk groups like Dag Nasty, the Descendents, and Jawbreaker. Getting involved in the local Philly scene, he played guitar and sang for the punk band Brody from 1992-1999, a time during which he also became good friends with a guy from the group Clockwise named Ed Reyes. Brody released one 7" and one full-length album in their time together, and following their demise, Mascherino founded the emo-leaning indie rock outfit Breaking Pangea alongside Will Noon and Clint Stelfox. The first Breaking Pangea show occurred in January 2000, and after three releases on two record labels (Undecided Records and Equal Vision), the trio went on its last tour in April 2003. That last round of shows included dates with Taking Back Sunday -- which featured Mascherino's old friend Reyes -- who weeks later extended an invitation to him to replace departed guitarist/singer John Nolan. (Weirdly enough, Nolan went on to form Straylight Run with one of Mascherino's former bandmates, Will Noon.) Mascherino quickly accepted and joined up with TBS on the summer's Warped Tour. Just as Nolan did before him, Mascherino provided complementary vocals to lead singer Adam Lazzara and became integral in the band's songwriting process. But after two well-received albums -- 2004's Where You Want to Be and 2006's Louder Now -- the creative process grew tense, personal enjoyment had faded, and Mascherino ultimately decided to leave the band in the fall of 2007. He had already been working on solo material for some time before his departure (some songs dating back to the Breaking Pangea days), but things didn't really start coming together until a song ("Heading Back East") was included on an Equal Vision compilation. The first shows played under the name the Color Fred -- a name picked from Taking Back Sunday fan suggestions -- were in January 2005 and solely consisted of him and a guitar. By early 2007, the Color Fred (based out of New Jersey) featured a live backing band, which included bassist PJ Bond and drummer Steve Curtis. Mascherino's debut record as such, Bend to Break, was released on Equal Vision in October 2007, featuring a sound not so entirely different from Taking Back Sunday. ~ Corey Apar, Rovi