Fre Ballesteros, Visionary

Fre Ballesteros was a significant part of the documentary The Ultimate Song, which explored the role of music in the struggle to end poverty.

The film also featured Bruce Springsteen, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, Sara Hickman, Wayne Kramer, Brian Blade, Warren Haynes, Ice T, Steve Earle, Jackson Browne, and many other great artists.

Fre’s words, which conclude the film, also provided the title:

“If we were a part of ending that poverty, the feeling would be incredible, to know that we had a part in that. The music is from the heart, from the soul. To see something like poverty be lifted off the face of this earth would be the ultimate song.”

Fre Ballesteros, saxophonist for the Boxing Gandhis, died at age 61 on August 21. His spirit will live on forever.


Lee Ballinger, CounterPunch’s music columnist, is co-editor of Rock and Rap Confidential author of the forthcoming book Love and War: My First Thirty Years of Writing, interviewed Honkala for CounterPunch. RRRC is now available for free by emailing Ballinger at: