Javier Pacheco (Fritz), July 5 - 24, 1999

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Mr. Pacheco, I don't know if you have answered this already, but what instrument did you play in Fritz? I know you wrote a majority of the songs, but did you play an instrument? Thanks. (Jamie Amaral, Vacaville, CA, USA)

Click on the picture in left-hand corner [of the first page] and read the article. I played keyboards. First I started with a Vox Organ (same kind as used by the Dave Clark Five) with a Hohner Clavinet on top. Half-way through our tenure I switched to a Hammond B-3 with two Leslie speakers. I usually wrote the songs at home, on a baby-grand acoustic piano.

Hi Javier! You mentioned a comment Stevie's mom made about why you guys didn't "go to Vietnam" - in the past I have wondered how Lindsey (and now you, too) at his age didn't get drafted - didn't have to do a military stint - reserves or something. Can you comment? (Kathy, Akron, OH, USA)

Just lucky, I guess. In 1968, at the height of the Vietnam fiasco, President Johnson (reeling from anti-war protests and revelations about how draft boards across the nation routinely "channeled" minority kids, or those not in college to the Service), ordered a lottery to choose a pool of candidates for the military. Nineteen year-olds would form the first pool of eligibles to be chosen. After the quota had been met for those 19 year-olds, then the next age group would be considered, etc. Every year after your 19th year, your chances of being called would be less. Lindsey, Bob and I were 19 when the first lottery went into effect. We all pulled high numbers (over 190); mine was around 260, Lindsey's was around 200. That year, I believe 180 was the highest number the lottery reached before all quotas were met. Then, each following year our chances of being called grew less and less. We all sighed a collective sigh of relief!!

Thank you for this! I have often wondered about the FRITZ days. As fans, we've only gleaned bits and pieces of those times from SN/LB interviews. My question: You've mentioned repeatedly that Bill Graham's interest in the band was kept from you. How did you ultimately find out about it? Also, knowing the man had an unquenchable drive, by what trickery was he kept at bay? Surely he would have gone straight to the band if he felt he was being stonewalled by your manager ... (Tim Bucci, Springfield, IL, USA)

Our manager simply told Mr Graham that the band was bound for big things in Los Angeles. You have to realize, Forest grew up in L.A. and had moved back there. For some months he was booking us into concerts and dances from his CMA post in the City of Angels. He was employed by one of the biggest agencies in the world. In the long run, he wasn't going to handle us but wanted a known agency to do it. But he still wanted to remain influential on the sidelines. He knew this would not have happened if we had known about Graham's offer.

Conversely, we were a hot, new young band, but not so tremendous that Graham just had to have us. I guess he was satisfied that Forest (a former employee of Graham's Maillard Agency) was telling him the truth and left it at that. I found out about this lie years later through a person who had worked at Maillard.

Do you see yourself perhaps ever working with Stevie or Lindsey again in the future in any way? Thanks! (Julie Wallach, New York, NY, USA)

I really don't like to engage in speculation, but I will say that I have dreamed those dreams, of reunions, of laughter and camaraderie, therefore, I cannot rule anything out. I would of course welcome them again, and if we could work creatively together, so much the better. Often I had wondered if they would ever consider producing that FRITZ material. Everything is possible in this world, it depends upon our own imaginations. A great deal of time and experience has separated us, but you never know what happens when old friends meet again...

I apologize about drawing the discussion away from Buckingham & Nicks, but would you describe your keyboard setup onstage with Fritz? Also, I'm interested in your musical background---what led to your stint as keyboardist in Fritz & earlier bands. (That looks like a Vox Continental organ in the Fritz photo?) Additional question: Did you know that Peter Green has made a comeback the past few years, playing blues guitar once again with a band called The Splinter Group? Based on what you said about the Green-era Fleetwood Mac & your attraction to it, would you go to see Green play again today? (David O., Los Angeles, CA, USA

Under the question about what instrument I play, I have answered that. There was a man from San Jose who fashioned his own high-impedence, 200-watt amplifiers with preamps that boosted the sound through two 15-inch JBL speakers. Brian, Lindsey and I each had our own tower (about six-feet high), not to mention the P.A. system, which was an additional two towers. I used those powerful speakers for the Vox and Hohner. Thereafter, I relied upon the two Leslie speakers (unmodified), with the Hohner plugged into the organ, but there were often times when you could hardly hear the B-3. We were loud!!!

Yes, I'd go see Mr. Green play today!

Hi Javier! I read in one of your responses that you didn't think any Fritz demos were out. On a demo tape of Stevie's that I got through a trade there are "Fritz Demos" which are just songs with guitar and Stevie singing. I heard they were recorded in a bar, and the band is in the back ground playing pool. They actually sound pretty good. Some of the songs include "Amber", "When Will We Love Again", "See the World Go By", among a few others. Is Stevie playing guitar on this, or is it a band member? And were you aware that these were in circulation? One more question - Did you know Stevie's best friend Robin Synder-Anderson? Just plain curiosity on that last one :) Thanks for doing this! I have really enjoyed reading your responses. I look forward to reading your 'memoirs' and buying some Fritz recordings. Do you have an idea when they will be released? Thanks again! (Jackie, Lock Haven, PA, USA)

Hello Jackie.

I didn't know about the existence or circulation of those songs and the titles are unfamiliar to me. I also don't recall Stevie singing or recording in a bar while we played pool! Stevie usually played guitar while she sang and composed, so it may just be all Stevie on that tape. Marty is sending me a copy and I will let you know if it brings back any memories.

I had a big crush on Robin. I used to sneak into Stevie's bedroom (a section apart from her parents' house) just to talk with Robin. Stevie would let me come and visit now and then. Robin was so cute! I was sorry to hear she had passed away some years ago. I didn't even recognize her picture in those silly cards, but the name I remembered. She was a real sweetie!!

Thank you for your kind words. I can't tell you exactly when that book will be out, but trust that it will be sooner than you think. Right now, I'm trying to get another book published.

Thank you for your time and, for being so candid... Who in music inspired you and the band during that time? Did you ever experience moments of what the Spanish-speaking world calls "duende" onstage? Thanks so much!! (l.c., Atlanta, GA, USA)

Whoa, L.C., that's what I call a deep question!! If you've been reading along here, you may have picked up the musical influences of the era as I referred to them in various contexts. We were young, remember? Everyone had different favorites, that's what made us unique. I tended toward blues, later jazz. Brian and I shared an appreciation for Ten Years After, Mayall, Hendrix, Winwood, Yardbirds; Lindsey shared some of those preferences. I grew up with Spanish-speaking radio, from Orquesta Aragon to el Mariachi de Tecalitlan. Difference is, I suppressed my Mexican roots until I was 20. I finally realized I couldn't be someone else, I couldn't be an Anglo, and I also didn't want to become a Jerry Garcia, a great rock player but with no sense of ethnicity. I had to be me. And, I couldn't escape my origins, as poetess Lorna Dee Cervantes once wrote, "My name hangs about me like a loose tooth."

As far as my experiences of "duende"--we lived in times of great historical change, of learning and growing experiences. Part of that learning came in the experimentation with psychedelics. Flashes would come over me that could take me anywhere. Because I grew up scared of the darkness and frightened into believing in the "Boogie Man," I did harbor ideas of spirit forces around us. For this reason, I abstained from taking any psychedelics on stage, particularly if it was an important concert. Bob indulged on occasion and I could hear him getting off the beat. I had to stay focused at all times. But even sometimes under a heavy pot rush, I could envision spirit forces around us, this happened on a number of occasions. Once, at Lake Tahoe after a performance I settled into a joint and (because of the altitude) got three times as ripped as if I were at sea level, where I live. It was like being on LSD, the room started to move, the wallpaper was dancing. In that state, you can believe I was conversing with a number of inner "duendes."

Onstage, if you're in the right mood, a number of duendes can pop out at you through the inner-play with the colored lights and strobes.

[As a follow-up to an answer on page two,] I have answered the question that had to do with the Fleetwood book:

Debunking the myths in Mick Fleetwood and Stephen Davis, Fleetwood: My Life and Adventures in Fleetwood Mac.

From the beginning, Lindsey began playing guitar (not bass) in Fritz. It was mutually agreed after guitarist Brian Kane joined that Linds would continue playing guitar on the folksy and slow material (including use of banjo for the Bonnie and Clyde theme) in order to allow Lindsey room on guitar. Lindsey had no guitar licks for the so-called “raunchy rhythms”--the hard rock facet of my writing--Brian was best suited for that type of lead playing. We did go out of State once, in Salt Lake City. We were very much on the verge of breaking out of the “local scene,” contrary to Fleetwood. FRITZ arrived at a professional stature far out-growing the Peninsula. We were doing large concerts, our presentation was comprised of 95% original music, our management team was located in Los Angeles. That doesn’t sound like a band stuck in the local scene.

About the S&L romance, it was the worst-kept “secret.” All was pretty much out in the open. We did have a policy in the very beginning that it was better not to indulge in a relationship with her because it could be potentially divisive. “Stevie, ever sensitive thought no one in the group liked her because they thought she was too ambitious.” What we really thought was that she wanted to sleep her way into the band. Stevie claimed, “these guys didn’t take me seriously at all.” That was because in the beginning it was apparent her voice was no match for the tough demands of the music. She had no chops, she was hitting the music challenges head on, but Lindsey’s stronger voice was better suited for many songs.

First paragraph on page 146 is incorrect. We didn’t get the phone calls directly for all performances. Our then manager, Dave Forest was the one who would hear from interested parties, and he would relay their particular requests to us, as in this case, the preference for “the chick.” But this did not cause anyone to go into a tailspin, as Fleetwood alleges. To us, getting gigs period (no matter what the reason), was good enough.

Second paragraph, wrong! Dave Forest was always the manager of the group until he tried selling us the Shiffman and Larson team. Eventually FRITZ got these professional managers in Los Angeles, through Forest’s heavy prodding. I had objected strongly because this new management came at the price of 60% royalties on all songs going to Shiffman and Larson.

“Within a few weeks they were romantically linked as well.” Heck, they were romantically linked from the last year of FRITZ. Now, if you want to split hairs and say that it took living together for the real romance to blossom, I might indulge you somewhat. But Lindsey and Stevie had many opportunities to link up romantically while in FRITZ--particularly since they shared motel rooms on every out-of-town gig.

Fleetwood incorrectly gives the impression that the Fritz break-up occurred way before the dynamic duo had decided to team up. Their pairing (and the encouragement from outside influences) was one of the biggest incentives for them to bust out! Their plans to relocate were well in the hopper way before Fritz drew its last breath.

Geez. I remember looking at this book before. I read page 144 and then put the book down. The dull misinformation and lack of depth disgusted me. The story of their drug consumption, ego flare-ups and wasted times was also too much for me to stomach. One of the reasons I hadn’t followed S&L’s exploits was to distance myself from all sour memories, to let the past stay in the past. Who would ever care about a band called FRITZ? Mick’s book brought home to me the question of the trade-offs--the cost of success. At what price success? What does this kind of success do for one’s spirituality? Would I survive their kinds of pressures? What kind of person would come out at the end? Remember, I lived in Los Angeles nearly ten years. After living there for that length of time, I realized that my first impressions of L.A. were right. The environment in Southern California is quite distinct from the Bay Area. Its like two different countries. I didn’t go bopping around Laurel or Topanga Canyon looking for S&L. Not only that, based upon what little they said in their bios, it seemed to me that these glaring omissions were coming from quite different people. I didn’t think I knew this new Stevie or Lindsey anymore. And my life has traveled along totally different tracks, into other music worlds. Its taken up to the last seven years for me to even let go of those memories and at least face their music with new ears.

Funny thing is, not long ago, I dreamt one day I’d have the opportunity to tell the “other side,” straighten the little twisted details, provide a broader picture. The time for that is propitious because I can write about a lot of this dispassionately, without rancor or cynicism.

You have stated that Lindsey's parents were down to earth and "decent" people... were Stevie's parents "snooty"...or did you just not have as much contact to make a judgement? (~Laura~, Morristown, TN)

We all had less contact with the Nicks household. Stevie’s folks were definitely “snooty.” I had just enough contact to figure that one out. The Mom much more than the Dad. When I met the father he was a tad friendly. But he was so busy working in the corporate world that you hardly ever saw him. The few times I visited Stevie’s house were in the late evening. Since she lived in a section set apart from the house one could walk into her room unnoticed by the folks.

You also said to look at Stevies roots..her father was very successful do you think he demanded that from Stevie? Being raised in that environment where you felt her only contact with Latin Americans were of maids and gardeners...did Stevie ever appear to be prejudice of those people who were different..say Latin,Black ect... (~Laura~, Morristown, TN)

Of course her father (by his very efforts in the world) demanded she become successful at whatever she attempted. Her falling out in college was somewhat of a disappointment to her parents. And its not that Stevie was outwardly prejudiced. It’s all in a person’s life preferences, shaped in part by environment. She was no different than most white upper-middle class families living in sheltered suburbs devoid of diversity. She just didn’t know anything about African-Americans, Latin Americans, Platinum Americans. Zilcho. Like most of her peers, her perceptions were clouded by the usual generalities--media stereotypes and the dogged misinformation dredged from the limited educational experience of the time.

Like cats and dogs, mice and men, people always stay with the familiar.

Obviously the World's State of Affairs had a profound affect on you...but did they appear to affect Stevie and Lindsey...being from well-to-do back grounds... were they "in touch with reality"? (~Laura~, Morristown, TN)

Good question. No. They didn’t know much about politics. They were in touch with their own immediate reality, but they didn’t read much, hadn’t any interest in world news. Politically, they were quite naive, just like most of the well-to-do. As comedy group Culture Clash once said, “Hate breeds violence, and violence breeds ignorance, and ignorance breeds Republicans.” Its a wonder they ever allowed me to introduce songs with political content into the group (well, no one else had tunes to show). But then I figured perhaps they really didn’t know what I was talking about. In the late 80s Stevie once admitted her concerns over someone “breaking” poor ‘lil Jackson Brown’s precious fingers (because of the political stances in his songs). Both L&S steered very clear of any politics in the time I knew them. I flaunted my new-found Marxist or Maoist convictions at them and they just blew me off like you would shrug a fly.

After they “made it” perhaps they were anxious to distance themselves from this contextual whirlpool in their interviews. If they didn’t say much about the past, perhaps there wouldn’t be more questions about this early period. Perhaps revelations about this time period would be all too embarrassing for the new Rock aristocrats.

S&L didn’t have a position vis-a-vis the political world they lived in. They grew up “normal,” no hard knox, no ugly America. They didn’t grow up being told they were less, or a “minority.” They didn’t lack for positive media images and role models. They never had to worry about aggressive, ethnic jokes, or teachers gagging at your name or counselors with low expectations, or just being underestimated & ignored.

On the subject of Stevie's performances...was she sincere in her performances or did you consider it to be fake...in other words...you felt she over did it...and she was being something other than what she was...did you just wish she would be herself or what? Was she a sincere person or you know just did what she thought people would connect with? Did you ever doubt her sincerity? (~Laura~, Morristown, TN)

I said I only objected to her theatrics in one song. We eventually dropped that tune like we dropped a number of other copy tunes, replacing them with original material. I did not play “policeman” with her singing style. She was sincere in her output and I didn’t doubt she was doing the best job she could.

You also mentioned Sally Durbin...you got the impression that Lindsey would marry her...after SN and LB hooked up...did you ever get the impression they would marry or did you have a gut feeling they were doomed to fail? Or were they soul mates? (~Laura~, Morristown, TN)

Nobody could imagine if they’d last a year or however long they’d last, we were all too young. We all were smack dab in the age of that “unbearable lightness of being.” Actually, I did assume SN&LB were soulmates until I started peering into Mick Fleetwood’s book. What a revelation. All is not so well at the top!

The statement that you made about Brian writing a song about the SN&LB leaving where the lyric was straight on about Stevie ...Did she "really ruin everything she touched"...were you guys resentful because she broke up the "dude" bond?...Do you think Brian resented the fact that Stevie put a "wedge" between the guys and the fact that he was the key to getting her into the band and then he was left high and dry? (~Laura~, Morristown, TN)

Well, I think Brian was the most bitter about Stevie playing everyone of us, and he saw this messing around as just a way for her to consolidate her position in the band. In the earlier discussion about courting I forgot to include him as another member who went out with Stevie. That’s right. I think she started with him. He was the first! I don’t know the details, but I know their courting lasted much longer than mine. We weren’t resentful that she broke up the “dude bond,” we were resentful that she broke up the band, period. There was no attempt to salvage anything. Her ambition included swallowing Forest’s lies, hook, line and sinker; pushing for the move to Los Angeles; pulling for the Shiffman and Larson lopsided publishing deal; discarding all we had worked for.

I mentioned elsewhere that my reservations were I thought her voice couldn’t handle the material. Well, now with FRITZ gone she didn’t have to worry about any of that, she was in a place where she would have more control than ever before.

Do you have a family? If so...do you care to tell us a little about yourself? (~Laura~, Morristown, TN)

Not really. Save that for the big bio. Basically, music has kept me sane. I have no kids. I could have had two. My romantic life reads like a tragic novel. I married a Puerto Rican woman in 1982. There were a number of reasons why it didn’t work out. She was offered a good teaching job at Rio Piedras, and I was hesitant to leave the mainland. In 1994 I met a Venezuelan industrial heiress in an AOL chat room. I was terribly lonely and we were married before really knowing each other well. She turned out to be a violent manic depressive with a history of serious drug abuse. We lasted twenty months. Free at last, (God almighty) I am still looking... As a lover of music and a practicing professional, I have had to pay the price for living a bohemian existence, for reading the radical tabloids, for opening my mind, for writing pointed poetry, music, for not opting for a normal 9-to-5 existence. Everything has a price. There are times (recalling Hesse’s Steppenwolf) when I peer through endless store fronts to see “normal” people enjoying their mundane lives. And for a moment I wish I was that person laughing hysterically through the beer. Part of the rationale for going to grad school was to prove to myself that I could do it. Unfortunately, the university kills creativity. What a price to pay! But I’ve rebounded, my life has had its great creative triumphs, I have had my moments of audience acceptance, I know my strengths and weaknesses. I did not become a rich man, but I did find riches. I thank God for the opportunities I’ve had. No regrets, just thank God I’m still here. And I ain’t done yet!


The Newspaper, April 1969
Click for a larger version.

Since you knew Stevie's best friend Robin...what was their relationship like in those days...We know at the time of her death and the years that followed Stevie "went crazy" and basically had a hard time dealing with her death...Were they like sisters? (~Laura~, Morristown, TN)

Oh yes, Stevie had Robin, and there was another woman (forget her name) with which Stevie was very close. She roomed with I think it was Gloria at SJSU. Robin and the other woman (Gloria?) were like sounding boards for Stevie. She could confide in them about all her trials and tribulations. Stevie parted ways with Gloria but I know she liked Robin a lot. Yes, they definitely were close, like sisters. Robin spent a lot of nights at Stevie’s house. Its a shame about her premature death.

I take great issue with that statement (made above about Mick's book), especially since before, it was mentioned that Stevie was "friendly" with everyone and went bowling, etc with the guys...that she was considered somewhat of a wallflower...but, now...she's sleeping her way into the band! I understand he was annoyed with Mick's book, and maybe thought Stevie was feeding Mick those lines, but I really think that statement was no more honorable than many made in Mick's book. Frankly, I am beginning to think that this band might have been more dysfunctional than FM and it was very much an "all boys club" (made out of a hell of a lot of very little, immature boys with big egos and small compassion--Lindsey EXCLUDED, of course) where the girl suddenly turned into a slut ( who couldn't even "hit the high notes") who broke them all up when she happened to fall in love with one of the members of the band. But, I'm not mad at seeing my idol disparaged...really, I'm not. (Posted to The Ledge by Regina)

One reason why I asked Marty to slow it down was my concern that I was writing too fast and leaving things out, or perhaps not fully answering questions, or in this case, not making things absolutely clear. Outside of some entries in a diary, a few letters, and my own recollections, I have little with which to cull exact details from 30 years ago. I wish Bob or Brian were here to help, but its only my memories for now. There is much, much more to get to in order to fully flesh out this group.

So let’s take those issues slowly, one at a time. Remember, we’re talking about of period of time roughly from late summer of 1967 until mid-1971. Musically, we went through great changes at this time--from copy band to original music. From teen dances to big-time concerts. As individuals, we also went through our own respective growth and development. We always operated like a family, we did like each other as friends, we maintained this closeness throughout the great majority of our days. When Stevie first comes into the band, its about late Summer 1967. She didn’t descend into FRITZ like a mesmerizing deva. She was a little shy, not overly extroverted (that’s why I used “wall flower”--it may have been a bit exaggerated, but compared to Stevie later...). When she first came on, she was still seeing her high school bo, Dave Young, ex-varsity football star. But in my relating about her courtships, I had forgotten to mention that she also had relations with Brian, o.k? That came to me later in these very sessions. I am not exactly sure when that took place, it must have been in the beginning right after she and Mr Young parted ways. It was very discreet. As a band we all did some socializing together. Remember, I mentioned that there were also concerns in the first year about whether she would be able to handle the vocal demands made upon her. She had never before been asked to sing hard rock. You had to have strong pipes merely to be heard in a band with as much amplification as we had. Despite our initial reservations, by mid-1968 Stevie’s position was secure--we just worked around her situation, allowing more easy material to contrast the other music, Lindsey taking on the more demanding vocals. Stevie could bring in her material and do it. The arrangement seemed to work and as her voice got stronger she too began to do more hard rock vocals.

In the beginning it was hoped that there would be no serious pairing off with her, in order to avoid any divisive problems. And when Stevie got friendly with Bob (1968), this was kept very discreet. And her short, passing interest in me (early 1969) was very discreet. When she began to get intimate with Lindsey (mid-1970) this was also hush-hush. We were not an all-boys club--we had started in 1966 with a female vocalist--there were no open rivalries for Stevie’s affection, it wasn’t like that. We handled it the most mature way you could imagine. But it was only when Lindsey and Stevie started becoming reclusive and divisive, then we started to be concerned--yet no one made a great big deal about it. No “board of inquiry” was convened. As far as I can recall Stevie and Lindsey were never confronted as a couple, even though they made decisions as a couple. Sooo, talk about dysfunctional! C’mon, no one could be more dysfunctional than the FM band. We didn’t have the pounds of cocaine (over time) to “bring out” all our innate neuro-schizo-ego qualities. Lil ole pot was all we did. Nobody was fighting over her. Lindsey had gotten very mad at me once because I was critical of her--but that was over musical issues, not personal grudges. And if anyone was immature and had a big ego in the band, it was me, o.k? I’ll cop to it. I wouldn’t besmirch the other guys--Brian and Bob were very easy-going persons, they were not out to get anyone. Yes, I was the meanie, the big bad perfectionist, the most critical one. I could be very undiplomatic, often lacking any tact. I was arrogant, self-righteous, but it got to the point where nothing I said mattered anymore. I had a big stake in all of this because of my number of songs, but perhaps I just got too overbearing. Stevie didn’t like any criticism, and because of this, we had our problems--she would play her “little girl victim” act whenever she wanted her way. She could always ply the voice of the sweet, cuddly baby whenever she wanted someone to do her bidding. This only fueled my ire. I had a very sarcastic tongue. But she could be so manipulative. Its not like she was being besieged in the band. She held her own--often had everybody sticking up for her side, including Brian. Brian, Bob, and Lindsey always had a lot of compassion and often tried to quell potential flareups because of their concern for fostering band unity (while I in turn, was too busy with the “trees” and too careless to see the whole “forest”). As I already conceded, because I dared criticize and argue with her, and she quickly assumed her tearful victim stance, then I became the “bad guy.” I failed to heed many of Brian’s wise admonitions to think of the whole band and “go easy,” to not rock the boat. Alas, I was much too proud and hard-headed.

After the band broke up, Brian wrote that song (“I Don’t Know” in Cmin) and shared it with me. Frankly, this revelation blew me away! Here was my older and wiser peer suddenly unleashing a flurry of his own invective:

“At first I thought I knew you
Standing there, that familiar face,
Golden, flowing beauty,
shedding light throughout the place;

You spoke such words of soft,
I knew I must believe in you
Beauty in your eyes
as deceitful as your guise;

Ya ruined everything you touched
with your golden hand of Midas;
You whispered that you loved me,
now you want to let it be,
you’re tired, you’ve had enough;

You’ve got me on the run, yeah, you’ve had all your fun
No longer now, I’m here to say:
I was a fool, a costly thing to do
now I’m going to have to pay.

My mind’s made up but my knees are weak
I know what I have to do;
Have to run from everything,
not stop for anything just to get away from you,
just to get away from you.”

Fall 1971, we home-recorded it with soprano singer Leila Thigpen, Brian’s guitar, my B-3, a drummer and bass player. We discussed the romantic goings on in the band that I hadn’t even been much aware of. So the inner workings behind the scenes were not even realized until after FRITZ crumbled. Yes, we had written to each other in songs about issues, but the big picture of fleeting romances and their probable reasons was not examined until much later. Its a judgement call, if you want to blame me for the band breaking up. For many years afterward I did blame myself, I shouldered the responsibility for the demise. These realizations came soon after we disbanded. I had written new songs even then, but there was no longer anyone to hear them. “Silent Song” was composed in 1971:

“Building castles in the sand
watch the tides bring them down.
See the power of a man
as he cries when he drowns.

And the sea of a silent past roars within my ears,
And I’ll be on my way at last, to wash away my fears.
I will sing my own songs,
learn to right my own wrongs...”

I had drowned in my own incomprehension of what really went down. My personal karmic “pay off” would be to wander into a myriad of bleak bands where continual in-fighting and ego-squabbles destroyed what little unity and musicality there was. I would have to personally experience such rough people with great lack of compassion, diplomacy and tact, in order to understand the destructive nature of it all. Only then could I realize how important unity is toward forging an harmonious ensemble. Believe me, I learned my lessons well--or, as they say, “paid my dues.”. And with the further passing of time, I began to reflect that there were still other reasons why FRITZ had to come to an end. Therefore, while I still concede to you that I made ample mistakes, I realize now there were other factors as well that would have played themselves out regardless of my negative contributions.

I have not been implying that Stevie Nicks by herself was responsible for the total break-up of FRITZ. I have endeavored to look at all angles and share as many as come to mind here. From distinct music preferences, to the legitimate desire to change instruments, to the alienating Lindsey/Stevie pairing, to outside influences (showbiz people, including general world chaos, if you will), to my own bickering, I believe I have laid out an ample canvas of situations. Its up to you to decide where you think the greatest rub occurred. I said that Lindsey and Stevie were a pair that pulled together--I did not say that Stevie was pulling all the strings.

I have never put all the blame on one person. And I am not changing the story as I go along. I am merely putting emphasis of things that may not have been stressed at the beginning of this Q&A exercise. I expect you the reader to put things into a complete, orderly context at the end of this Q&A experience, and not to rush to make quick judgements. I did not sign on to do this with the intent of stepping on any toes. I came on to provide sincere answers to legitimate questions. My interest is in arriving at truth and understanding by trying to illuminate this small period of time that is in question. It is expected that at the end of this process, we shall all be the richer and wiser for it.


The FRITZ Q&A Sections Wed., Jul 14

When dreams, ambition and great luck converge you are placed into a high-stakes position of power. “The grass is always greener” ‘til you’re standing all over it, then its the next grass,...and the next grass,... We all had ambitions, but we differed on how to arrive at our goals. Lindsey embodies that Western spirit of living for the future (“Don’t Stop Thinking about Tomorrow” and “Don’t Look Down”). He isn’t the only Libra I’ve worked with who practiced that lifestyle, “If it ain’t working, go on to the next thing,” rather than “try and fix what you have now.” In the Americas, the present is what’s most vital--its all-important to live for today.

Brian Kane once related to me an incident he experienced with a college professor. I don’t remember the problem exactly, but to arrive at a solution, the scholar advised Brian, “You have to weigh what you want with what you believe.” This little philosophical tidbit has lingered around me because I’ve had to apply it many times in my life, probably even before I heard it put to words. The story of my life: to question everything, look at it, converse with it, understand it. For instance, the act of writing about events and people in the band. Let’s take a short stroll through some of the themes again. This business about singing to each other (shedding soul feathers in public) began as early as 1968. Below, I am presenting lyrics to three of my songs written primarily to the band in those days. We recorded this first tune in a studio in San Mateo. I have the ten-inch 33 1/3 rpm demo disc that contains the following song, plus another original, “You Don’t Get Young” and Jackie De Shannon’s “What the World Needs Now is Love.” Stevie sings lead on “Wondering Why.” Lindsey does the other two songs. There was no secret about for whom the songs were intended. This was a haunting and musically-progressive ballad with a unique modulating melody. To date, the music hasn’t aged.

WONDERING WHY (1968)

Guess you never knew life afterall
'cause when you hear the truth you feel so small,
you played the fool and now you've lost it all,

Set me free,
now let me go home
let me be, let me be on my own.

You don't care much about me anyhow, it won't matter to you now, in the end
you never were my friend and I,
I never really knew you, not all these years,
we sort of played a little game together,
all this time,
you weren't mine;

We learned to kid ourselves, yet making it look so fine,
we've stayed together so long.
wondering why, wondering why, why

After Lindsey and Stevie became an item, and as a result of my perceptions about their behavior (they thought of themselves as the stars of the group), I wrote the next song. We did this for awhile and then scraped it. It would be replaced by better original pieces. Narcisssus is Lindsey.

Bold Narcissus (late 1969)

Bold Narcissus,
look into a shallow pond
Bolder Empress,
the present sees what lies beyond
in the valleys of dispair
does it leave you hanging there;

Behold the prophecy that confidently put you there,
put you in your chair (This part was cut from the song)

Bold Narcissus,
you can reflect that which you see
Bolder Empress,
patterns you set will define
the woman you’ll be
if you want to be

This last song was featured in our concerts and I have a recording of it. It is a blues structure with an elaborate intro and middle arrangement created collectively by FRITZ. Stevie belted this one! It was a big challenge and she rose to the occasion.

PRODUCT OF THE TIMES (late 1969)

We're making the same mistakes,
we're not the leaders of a line
we've only made outside changes,
we've hardly even moved the time.
And now it might sound real crazy,
but we're a product of the times.

It's hard to rearrange, so hard to change a frame of mind.
But nothing stays the same. And it doesn't take much to he blind.
Those who stay the same, become a product of the time

I'm not trying to make you love me.
Not trying to fit you to my style.
If you'd only understand me,
I'd feel better all the while.
We can explore each other, and find the meaning of the child.

People are starving, oh, can't you hear the baby cry,
People are dying, oh, . . can't you hear the baby crying.

Doesn't matter where you came from,
doesn't matter who you are.
if you can't find love around you,
you haven't traveled very far.
Oh, the last thing we can sing about,
is where, oh where, ...do you start?

Product of the times, ... Product of the times.

After reading your responses to my questions....do you blame Stevie for the break up of the band? You said Stevie's ambitions were to fall hook line and sinker for the LA big wigs? Was Lindsey just taking sides with Stevie...or did he fall hook line and sinker as well? Do you honestly think Stevie was trying to sleep her way to the top? And that Lindsey was just one more fly in her trap? Did she care at all for the band and their members? Did you and Stevie actually date? Did she just date the guys or was she actually intimate with them...there is a big difference. Did Stevie ever seem to be the motherly type...did you ever think one way or the other that she would ever have a family? Do you think Stevies concerns are naive and insincere...hence the Jackson Browne comment? Assuming that Mick's book has many flaws (duh) are you inclined to believe anything that is said in that book about Stevie and Lindsey's relationship?...could they not have been soul mates and Mick's perception and another writers lack of knowledge...made the book seem one sided? Do you have any thoughts one way or another about Stevie being in the top 15 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women In Rock? (~LauraTN~, Morristown, TN)

Inquiring minds, pressing to know. Yes, I messed up when I said that about Stevie wanting to go to L.A. and left out mention of Lindsey. Of course, he was also steering in the same direction as she. As I said before, at first, Stevie's position in the band was tenuous because we weren't sure ourselves if she was going to cut it. At the end of FRITZ when I was sitting there with Brian talking about what happened and why, and we discussed this thing about her seeing each member, thus, the "sleeping her way to the band" scenario crept up. It seemed to make sense to me, within the dynamic of the music ensemble she was the weakest link, therefore the most vulnerable. I really don't know her motives--it could have been nothing more than her seeking camaraderie. Lest I disparage anymore of her fans, let's just say we were young and impressionable. I do believe she cared for the band. I have stressed over and over again that she contributed her all to the organization, that after awhile her position (due to her contributions) would be secure.

I believe Brian was the only one outside of Lindsey with whom she got intimate. Bob and I merely dated her.

No, Stevie didn't assume a mother-figure in the band. Quite the opposite, as I have already described earlier. In the first year, we'd talk baby-talk to her ("Hi Tee-vee!")

I don't think her comments about Jackson were insincere, merely naive. Regarding Mr Fleetwood's book, I would be more inclined to believe Stevie and Lindsey themselves on how their relationship fared. Mr Fleetwood's own interest in Stevie may have clouded his perception of events.

My thoughts about Stevie being in the Top 15 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women In Rock? That is great, thanks to her efforts and loyal fans like yourselves. It is a well-deserved distinction.

Hello Javier, it is so kind of you to answer our questions. In the newspaper photo, I noticed that Stevie is wearing jeans. What can you tell us about her sense of style during her Fritz days? Did she perform in jeans a lot, or did she favor the chiffon skirts and lacy shawls that fans are more familiar with? Did she always wear her hair long and straight? And (on a completely different topic) have you suffered any permanent hearing damage as a result of playing with loud rock bands? Thanks! (Maria, Roswell, NM, USA)

Well, that changed, depending upon the type of place where we performed. In the early days Stevie usually wore her hair long and straight as you see in the pic. Jeans were not a regular costume. Rare. She dressed up in short skirt and black boots, etc, when it was a concert or similar engagement. Stevie usually used good taste in her wardrobe. I don't recall her ever wearing something that was too grungy or out-of-character. The shawls were around then, too. Toward the end, at the big shows, she was dressing even more spectacular--nicer outfits.

Yes, I suffered ear damage as a result of FRITZ super-loud concerts. It was slight at first, but later got exacerbated by the piercing cow bells and high-pitched trumpets of salsa ensembles. Nowadays, I must wear earplugs to protect myself. If it gets too loud, my hearing gets to a ceiling (sirens go on inside that blare "TILT"!) in which I can no longer process loud decibels.

Both Stevie and Lindsey have said that shortly after moving to LA they had to return home for almost a year because Lindsey had mono. Did you have any contact with them during their return to the Bay area? (Mariella, Los Angeles, CA, USA)

Yes I did, on several occasions. I mentioned earlier that we got together several times after the break up. I have a home recording that was made after FRITZ. It was Stevie, Lindsey and myself. We recorded a song “Ivory Walls” (about an insane asylum), “Next Time Around” (the song was saying “maybe in the next life we’ll meet again”). I believe that was made just before Lindsey and Stevie left to go down south. Later, when I had heard that he had taken ill, I went out to see Lindsey. His Mom had since moved to a new house in Sharon Heights. Lindsey had his tape machine and he was putting things together but was unable to work for long periods of time due to the disease. It must have been the most miserable time for him, not being able to be very active, feeling exhausted after any amount of exertion. Also, the uncertainty of not being sure if this was going to go away. Six months, nine months, his time for recuperation must have seemed like an eternity.

Please forgive us for our lack of restraint in dissecting some of the topics brought up as a result of this Q&A. You have debunked several myths that we've been hearing for years and some of us are resistant to change ;) You have been as critical of yourself as any of the other bandmates...maybe more so. On to the questions...You mentioned a line from the Buckingham Nicks album, 'Races are run, some people win, some people always have to lose' and said it was about Fritz. How did you come to that conclusion? Are there any other B/N songs that have to do with Fritz? If you've heard that album, what are your impressions of it? It must have been difficult to listen to, especially the first time. (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA, USA)

How did I know? I think Lindsey tipped me to that. But just read the lyrics: “So many different types of people,”...Unfortunately, I gave the album away, so I don’t even remember what was on the rest of the disc. It was a song about a break up, about people going their separate ways. I know Stevie had feelings for the band. During their setbacks (Lindsey’s mono, waiting to see if the album makes it, etc) I don’t doubt that they even might have had second thoughts about leaving FRITZ. But the tone of that song was, “Hey, we’re recording. WE’VE MADE IT.” Anyway, I wanted to move on with my life, so I gave the record away and said adios to the past.

I sort of asked this question indirectly through Marty a few weeks ago before this forum started, but I thought I'd ask it directly for the record, so to speak. One "Robert Aguirre" is thanked in the liner notes to Lindsey's 1984 solo album, and in the liner notes to Fleetwood Mac's 1987 album. He appears again, credited as co-writer with Lindsey of "Say We'll Meet Again" on Lindsey's 1992 solo album - perhaps raising questions about whether or not that song might even be partially about Lindsey's feelings for ex-Fritz mates, but I digress. What IS my question? I realize this calls for speculation on your part . . . (you mentioned earlier that you thought Bob Aguirre had stayed in touch with at least Lindsey after they'd relocated to LA) . . . would you be inclined to believe that the aforementioned is the same Robert Aguirre from Fritz? (Les, San Diego, CA, USA)

No doubt in my mind, that’s Bobo, I mean Bob. I wouldn’t be surprised. He hung out with Lindsey, followed him to Los Angeles. I really don’t know how much time they spent together--it was certainly more than a little while. Bob had written some things. An early, early FRITZ song “Sad Times” included his lyrics which I put to music. He collaborated on lyrics from time to time. Unfortunately, I haven’t heard "Say We'll Meet Again". I will look for it. The words were probably Bob’s, put to music by Lindsey. Bob was really shaken by the break-up. And if you ask him today, he’d probably lay the blame squarely upon my shoulders. Why do I assume that? Because I think the break up affected him the most. He had no where to go after FRITZ. And I would assume he explored many routes trying to bring us back together again. But it would probably be FRITZ-minus-Pacheco. He hasn’t bothered to look me up since the band broke up. In 1972 or ‘73, there was a faint FRITZ reunion of sorts at Bob’s house on Diamond Street, San Francisco. Brian tipped me at the last minute that Lindsey and Stevie were going to be there, so I called my girlfriend and rushed up there. Bob opened the door and his grin turned to chagrin when he saw me. He was not happy to see me, I realized right then I wasn’t intended to participate. Everyone was polite but things were very superficial and the party seemed to quickly dissipate. In 1978, when I saw Lindsey and Bob again (San Carlos), it was mainly because Linds wanted to see me, Bob was just dragged along--something about a shopping in the Bay Area for a BMW for Bob--at that time, he was working for Linds. Robert dangled a cassette in front of me--it was an Aragon High School concert we had done (that I had taped). I hadn’t heard it since 1970, I almost didn’t recognize my own songs!! He refused to share that cassette with me, EVEN THOUGH HE HAS BEEN SITTING ON MY ORIGINAL REEL-TO-REEL TAPE WHICH I LENT HIM AND HE NEVER RETURNED ALL THESE YEARS. While he promised me a copy, I never heard from him again (Gee, thanks). I didn’t get to have my own copy until I ran into Bob Fogel (mutual friend) in the early 90s. HE was kind enough to let me dub the tape with my songs. I don’t even know what else Bob kept of mine, c’est la vie.

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