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Music of the MAC, Vol. V: Central Michigan

[A brief editorial note: travel and work responsibilities prevented my getting this out in a timely fashion yesterday. My apologies; next week will be on track.] 

Hustle Belt is, of course, a blog devoted to Mid-American Conference sports. But there's more to the MAC than just sports: there are 12 (+1) universities turning out thousands of students a year. And some of those students go on to  careers of (at least mild) renown. So to shine a spotlight on some MAC success in the world of entertainment, we're running a weekly series, "Music of the MAC." So, without further ado, this week's act, from Central Michigan:

DENNIS "FERGIE" FREDERIKSEN. Growing up in Grand Rapids, Fergie Frederkisen started out by playing in various bands while in high school. From Grand Rapids, he went on to Mount Pleasant, where (according to his LinkedIn profile -- yes, he has a LinkedIn profile) he attended on a gymnastics scholarship. While he was in college, Frederiksen was asked by his friend Tommy Shaw to take his place as a member of the band MSFunk, because Shaw was leaving to join Styx. After finishing school, he began focusing on session work and movie soundtracks, contributing two songs to Can't Stop the Music, the Village People's musical. But he wanted to return to the world of rock bands, finding success in the early 1980s with three different bands in three years -- Survivor (backing vocalist), Le Roux (lead vocalist), and Toto (lead vocalist) -- and contributing to charting singles with each one. Perhaps the best-known of Frederiksen's contribution was Le Roux's "Carrie's Gone," which he wrote shortly after breaking up with his girlfriend, Carrie Hamilton, the daughter of TV star Carol Burnett. Unfortunately for Le Roux, although "Carrie's Gone" charted, it wasn't enough to keep RCA from dropping them, and the group disbanded shortly thereafter.

LeRoux - Carrie's Gone - Fergie Frederiksen (Toto) (via jovnif)

UPDATE: I was lax in my research. A CMU actor-turned-musician after the jump.

JEFF DANIELS. Yes, that Jeff Daniels. I didn't realize this until ChippewaBlue pointed it out in the comments, but Jeff Daniels, in addition to being a rather famous actor, is a musician. Daniels grew up in Chelsea, Michigan (where he and his family still live today) and studied theater at Central Michigan. (He also did summer theater study at Eastern Michigan, so perhaps the folks in Ypsilanti can claim him, too.) Daniels is most famous as an actor, but in recent years, he's expanded his horizons: he's now a playwright and theater and film producer as well, having founded the Purple Rose Theater Company in Chelsea (he's written eleven plays for it) as well as making movies through Purple Rose Films. But, most importantly for us, he's also released five albums of stripped-down, folksy music with a comic bent, often drawing on his experiences from the acting world. Unlike many actors who fancy themselves musicians, Daniels has been playing and writing for thirty years -- this isn't a vanity project. Without further ado, here's a performance of "Uptown Train," from his third album, Together Again.

The Ann Arbor News | Jeff Daniels previews his new CD (via mlivevideo)

And that does it for Central Michigan. Next week: Eastern Michigan.