When Kurt Frohlich was kid, he didn’t listen to lullabies at night. Instead, Frohlich was digging The Who.
“I started playing guitar because of Pete Townshend,” said Frohlich, lead guitarist for the Hooligans – one of the hottest bands in The Villages.
Like The Who’s Townshend, Little Kurt grew up to be a big time axeman. That was evident on a recent, warm February night in Spanish Springs Town Square when Frohlich and his band ripped into a scorching version of The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” The band will play Feb. 20 at 5 p.m. in Lake Sumter Landing Market Square.
Spanish Springs Town Square was so jammed with people that night, there was no room for dancing. The crowd was crushed together in front of the stage, singing, clapping and getting off on the hard-driving classic rock majesty that is the Hooligans.
Frohlich – along with Paul Smith, guitar; Landon Perkins, bass and Matt Bloodwell on drums – delivers a kind of chest-thumping rock and roll that defined such groups as The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and The Clash. But the boys can also play the Beatles, Oasis and The Cure.
As demographics change in The Villages, the oldies generation is moving from Elvis and Chuck Berry to Zep, Bowie, Green Day, Radiohead and beyond. The setlists are changing and the Hooligans are sign of that change.
“People here love this music and we love playing it for them,” Frohlich said. That was evident when the band offered Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.” Thousands of people sang the lyrics and the Hooligans loved the vocal participation.
“It’s great,” said Perkins, who plays bass and identified with the unity of the crowd and the music. “All four of us are individual musicians but this music brings us together. We’re just having fun doing what we love. It beats working.”
The group formed a while back when Frohlich came to Florida from Las Vegas, where he worked as a musician for about 15 years. Frohlich was born in Canada and played guitar with such national acts as Marky Ramone and the Goo Goo Dolls.
He still performs acoustic sets throughout Central Florida at such venues as House of Blues and Disney Springs.
The Hooligans, though, are his passion and the highlight of their appearance at Spanish Springs Town Square was an ear-shattering, rocking version of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog.”
Frohlich made like Jimmy Page on lead guitar, while Bloodwell turned on the echo microphone and wailed like Robert Plant. Put it all together with Perkins on bass and Smith on guitar; and these guys did honor to the old Led Zeppelin classic.
That’s how it goes for the Hooligans.
“As long as the people want to hear it, we’re going to keep playing this music,” Perkins said.
Tony Violanti is a veteran journalist and writes for Villages-News.com.