Fred Negro is a singer, a musician, a cartoonist, an artist, an actor, an impresario, a poet, a songwriter and a complete rat-bag. Fred, St Kilda's best known local personality, is widely considered to be the 'fair' city's mayor, however 'instigator' might be a more accurate word.
In primary school Fred Negro creates his first cartoon; The Man with no Head.
The Negro family can be traced back to cave dwellers in Southern France from the Neanderthal period (pre Aussie Rules). More recently the Negro name appears in the city of Ferrara in Southern Italy; one of the first records is from 929; the bishop Carlo Negri di Pietra Santa. Fred denies this but only because he can't pronounce the name and he hates the Church. However anyone who knows Fred knows he likes to wear frocks and funny hats so the genetic link is clear.
Fred was born to, and raised by his parents Fred and WiniFred, and Mrs Talbot from number 15. They were so poor they couldn't afford a diverse range of names having exhausted their alphabetic savings on Fred's big brother, Dez. Fred and Dez roamed the wide open plains of Richmond according to police records from the period. No one suspected what heights this tiny Fred would reach except his Mum and Dad who locked all the chairs in their bedroom room if they had to leave him alone in the house.
Fred Negro, age 16. No criminal record at this stage.
In 1975 Fred moved to the beach-side suburb of St Kilda, the perfect place to begin his life long love affair with music. Fred loved Sunday afternoon shows at the Esplanade Hotel. Maybe it was the sight of large bikers dancing with drag queens to the dulcet tones of Inner City C&W legends, The Dead Livers? Or maybe it was $1 pots of beer? What is undeniable is that beer, music and cross dressing became permanently linked in the brain of young Fred.
In 1979 Fred was having his hair cut when the scissors went in too deep and he formed his first band - The Editions - regulars at St Kilda music venues such as the Prince of Wales Hotel (POW), The Ballroom and Bananas.
Fred Negro quickly became infamous for trashing his drum kit at the end of a set and spitting over the singer's head into the audience. This wasn't popular with the rest of the band!
Fred co-founded The Editions. Here they are in 1979, Fred's Elton John phase.
Fred Negro was producing artwork for the band handbills under the title 'Living Dead Grafix'. It wasn't long before he was creating posters for most St Kilda venues.
Some of I Spit On Your Gravy 'attempting to get clean'.
In 1983 Fred was asked to drum in a new Punk band but quickly became the singer. I Spit on your Gravy became one of the best loved, if notorious, bands in St Kilda. Gigs were typically drunken anarchic catastrophes and people couldn't get enough. With the exception of the Ballroom which was shut down when the Liquor Licensing inspectors turned up on a Tuesday night. To entertain the audience, while the guitarist changed a broken string, Fred had begun a 'little dick' competition. They arrived as he was hitting the penises of competitors with his ruler, "Too big!" The judge agreed it was funny but...
Fred became the cleaner and in house artist at the Esplanade Hotel (the Espy) in 1985. Despite using the hotel as his personal playground this went on for a decade. During this time Fred produced graphic art for St Kilda's POW (Prince Of Wales), Espy, Venue, Grosvenor, St Kilda Inn and the Ballroom. He began creating art for 3PBS and later 3RRR (mid 90s); Melbourne's 2 iconic independent radio broadcasters.
In 1989 Fred began Pub Strip for Inpress; a street magazine focused on inner city Rock. Pub Strip is a diary of sorts, laden with friends, bands, gigs (especially his own), anecdotes, jokes and whatever was happening in the pub where it was written and drawn. While it was an entertainment it was also always a promotion of his own ceaseless performing.
In 2016 Fred put together his first solo art exhibition at Pumpkin Lane gallery in St Kilda. St Kilda’s Alright was a showcase of Fred's original artwork including acrylic paintings, drawings, special pub strips and other illustrations. The exhibition was hugely successful with Fred selling 80% of his art. This helped to establish Fred as a painter and not merely a cartoonist or illustrator, and assist him to be seen in a new light by the public.
The Fred Rug! Designed with James Lomas. Email us if you want one.
The Negros are an industrious family. Fred's brother Dez, also a renowned singer, had a fence building company; Negro Erections P/L. Fred spent many, many happy hours working with erections but it had nothing to do with this business.
Fred is not paid by Kellogs and has never been a Victorian Police officer.