"All we need is music, sweet music"
As far as mid-life crises go, Fred Gale’s was quite tame. After a long hiatus from the music scene, during which he devoted himself to family and medical career, Fred decided, nearly two decades ago, to reassemble various elements of past rock-n-roll bands and throw himself a birthday party. Without much arm-twisting, Fred (guitar) enlisted high-school buddy Gary (vocals and sound engineer), college friend Allyn (vocals), medical-school chum Rich (bass), and medical colleague Bob (drums). Allyn recruited her two daughters Shana and Niambi (vocals), and Richie signed up his long-time friend Mark (guitar). With the addition of five more singers, including Heather and Derek, “The Regressions” were born. Over the years, new members have come aboard, notably John and Rusty on keyboards; Marty on percussion; Richie’s daughter Anna and Gary's son Eric on vocals; Bobby, Don and Brian on horns; Ricky on a little of everything; and soundmeister extraordinaire John.
Since 2000, The Regressions have played fund-raisers, college reunions, birthday and graduation parties and other events from Vermont to suburban Washington D.C., including stops at the Copley Plaza in Boston and the Hammerstein Ballroom and Columbia University in New York City. Since May 2006, The Regressions have been invited yearly to perform during Boston's Project Bread’s “Walk for Hunger,” which annually attracts tens of thousands of participants and raises millions of dollars. The band has played for hospitalized veterans at the Brockton MA Veterans Medical Center and has put together events to help fund research for Rett’s Syndrome, to support medical trips to Colombia for cleft-palate surgery for impoverished children, and to raise awareness about the impact of and stigma surrounding mental illness.
The Regressions are a multigenerational band of diverse backgrounds and wide interests. They are all bound together by a shared love of music and a shared respect for the time and energy needed to make that music sound right. The Regressions are a family band in every sense of the word—at one time or another, eight of the band members’ children have performed on stage with their parents and the rest of The Regressions.
Over the years, The Regressions family has embraced each other during times of joy, such as weddings and the birth of children, and supported each other during times of hardship, like illness and parental loss. Vocalist Shana Oshiro started as a teenager in the band and now brings her two young children to rehearsals and events. Shana sums up the personal bonds within the Regressions like this: “There are few people to whom I feel more closely connected as a real family. I’ve spent about half my life singing with the Regressions. There is so much love in the room when we are together (even, like in all families, when we’re getting on each others’ nerves!). We’ve celebrated accomplishments and milestones, and really been with each other through the best and worst of times. I can’t say much more,” Shana concluded, “other than it’s been a blessing in life to have this group as a family, and I love them all.”
Without seeking to do so consciously, The Regressions have brought together an abiding love of music with a deep commitment to public service. Drummer Bob Gilman finds the merger of these two passions very meaningful: “As a plastic surgeon, I have led missions to Colombia for two decades, with a team that provides free surgery for children with cleft lips, cleft palates, and burns. And with The Regressions, I have been blessed to help with other wonderful causes. I am thankful for these opportunities to help make the lives of others a little better.”