The Max Fred Band, also known as MFB, is an all-acoustic trio based out of Kansas City, Missouri. The band consists of lead vocalist Max Fred on guitar, Joshua Tate on upright bass and vocals, and percussionist Keith McGeeney. This group of talented visionaries meld storytelling, vocal harmonies, and an inimitable percussion into a style with broad-based folk-rock appeal. Together, this threesome exudes a synergy of Americana, country, and alt-folk. MFB is all about creating honest harmonies, honed in the Heartland.
Originally from Topeka, Kansas, frontman Max Fred grew up in a musical family. At an early age, his parents introduced him to the sounds of Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and Marvin Gaye. The exposure to these classic bands helped form the foundation of his creative evolution.
Nirvana, N.W.A., The Misfits, and Smashing Pumpkins also played significant roles in Fred’s artistic development. As a child, he began learning drums. However, it would eventually be the guitar which became Fred’s instrument of choice. Over the years, he has played in several different bands such as Shunga Nunga, Wakamojo & The Stringbucklers. In 2009, Max earned his Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Theater from Washburn University.
The pulse of MFB originates within the beats of percussionist Keith McGeeney. His parents made sure to expose him to acts such as the Grateful Dead, Rolling Stones, and The Beatles. The genres of classic rock and the modern jam also helped McGeeney form his technique. He has been playing professionally for ten years in and around the Kansas City area. He has a trademark sound which stems from his use of an assortment of percussion instruments such as the djembe, and even going as far as using old clothes washboards. Keith’s use of such a unique palette of tools gives MFB a distinct stylistic rhythm.
Topeka-native Joshua Tate is the band’s bassist, lending his backup vocals and lyrical prowess to the team. Tate’s family inspired his creative development and a wide array of tastes in genres. He gives credits to his mother for his classical, big band, swing, country, and jazz influences. From his father, Joshua received inspirations of The Doors, Grateful Dead, Harry Nilsson, and The Beach Boys.
Over the past ten years, he and Fred jammed in basements, long before either of them had performed live. Joshua moved to Oregon and played with the band Poor Miner’s Union until Kansas called him home. In 2015, he joined Max and Keith as MFB came to fruition.
Max Fred Band’s artistry and thought-provoking lyrics result in a high-energy collision of bluegrass, country, folk–rock, and Americana. They have also played extensively throughout the Midwest and received much support from other bands in the local music scene around Kansas City, Lawrence, and Topeka. Max states, “We’ve loved playing with the Creek Heathens, Sugar Britches, and The Steamboat Bandits.”
In their debut album, Something More, Max and Joshua showcase their strong songwriting ability, while Keith displays his percussion expertise. This ten-track debut album consists of both mid to high-tempo melodies, vocal harmonies, and an authentic acoustic percussion. All the songs on Something More, are composed by Max Fred and Joshua Tate. Additionally, Max Fred Band is self-produced and remain independent, along with their DIY attitude. Max says, “Writing a song is an excellent opportunity to share feelings and emotions with the listener, and we want our songs to connect emotionally with our fans.”
With the formation of MFB, this talented trio has evolved as performers and are starting to spread their sound across the globe. They have had airplay on many radio stations such as KKFI 90.1 FM, and they continue to do live shows throughout the Heartland. Max explains, “We make sure always to have live shows scheduled, and we’re playing many times a month.” He continues, “this is our first studio album, yet it is very close to what you will hear in our live shows.” The Max Fred Band is a trek through lyrical tales penned with intense emotion and pure, unbridled energy. Max, Keith, and Joshua aim to have their songs portray meaningful messages – all while giving their fans a chance to dance. The tunes they craft and hone are as honest as the day is long in the America’s Heartland.