Javier Pacheco (Fritz), July 5 - 24, 1999
It may or may not surprise you to know that Lindsey in particular was unhappy with Fleetwood's book - termed it a "cheap shot," and expressed disgust with inaccuracies, falsehoods, and the "lack of dignity" he thought the book portrayed. (It seems that the others in the band generally may not have been too thrilled with the book either). I'm wondering, since you've mentioned the possibility of writing memoirs, if you would seek out some input from ex-Fritz members when writing about those years to avoid some of the navel-gazing and pitfalls of Mick's book? Also, and perhaps this is a silly question based on the frankness of your answers here, but would you be at all concerned about ruffling the feathers of ex-Fritz mates in that kind of publication? (Les, San Diego, CA, USA)
Oh-oh, judgement call! This is an interesting question. Well, I know very
little about FM. Hard for me to even tell how far Mr Fleetwood burned his
bridges. Perhaps he has a penchant for yellow journalism. I am wondering
what Mick’s intentions were if he didn’t even bother to share any contents
before going to press.
Popular musicians are public entities, and people are going to want to know
if they are religious, apathetic, agnostic, whatever. Historically, we
inquiring minds have also been pushing the envelope (is it the fault of
ambitious reporters, or the curious public?) wanting to know more and more
insider details about their beloved icons. I know all musicians hate to air
their dirty laundry. Its one of the most difficult things to tackle when
describing the inner workings of a music ensemble. Nobody wants to bring out
the dirt. For instance, the drug consumption topic. Nobody wants to divulge
this information. You are considered a rat for focusing on potentially
embarrassing situations like that. And yet, what if this consumption is part
and parcel of what makes the band tick? We live in a culture of drug
consumption. Eric Clapton came out and admitted he was mainlining and that
just finishing a gig (with the same lineup of tunes) every night was a major
accomplishment! He was talking primarily about himself although the other
members were also implicated.
As an ethnomusicologist, I have written about urban musicians (traditional
and modern) in many contexts, and there are certain areas where one does not
tread unless there is prior advice and consent. As writers, we may want to
“spice up” our writing with juicy gossip (as Mr Mick might have done)--its up
to the readers to judge whether this inside information is apropos, whether
it really aids in the understanding of the characters in question. I
wouldn’t think of putting out a serious study of FRITZ without at least
consulting with my colleagues. But that reflects my scholarly and ethical
upbringing. I would want to include all available perspectives, not just my
own. I would want to be thorough, and I would also want to check with the
others before opening anything in “Pandora’s Box” that might unleash needless
storms of controversy. Now, some of you might argue that I am not consulting
anyone and I am making a lot of strong assertions here. Don’t worry, I think
you’ve heard the worst--there are no more skeletons. There are a number of
good things about FRITZ yet to be revealed. Also, this is a one-on-one
spontaneous Q&A session. It is not a scientific inquiry. If and when I get
around to the phase of putting this information (and more) into book form I
will first attempt to get the opinion and participation of my peers on its
contents. I would still want to give my own gritty opinions, regardless of
whether they “ruffled feathers.” But the last thing I would want to hear
would be that the book was inaccurate, or that it contained “cheapshots” or
falsehoods. I would want to be very thorough and fair.
Did you get the opportunity to meet Stevie's grandfather, AJ? You mentioned that he was kind of a legend in country music. I'd always heard him described as sort of a failure who was disappointed at his lack of success. Did you ever get the chance to hear him perform? (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA, USA)
No I didn’t. Stevie once played a couple of his songs for us, long time ago.
I don’t know if he ever traveled to California to see his family. Stevie
talked glowingly about him and so I assumed he was a kind of legend. I can
think of over a dozen musicians who I know are living legends because of
their great talent and proficiency. Unfortunately, they didn’t get
“discovered,” did not become household words or greet overnight success.
They remained stellar figures only to those few lucky enough to come into
contact with them, those few who enjoyed their musical gifts.
This is a fluff question, but I'm curious...did Stevie ever wear stage costumes during her stint in Fritz or did the platform boots and chiffon come later? Was she a jeans & t-shirt type girl back then? (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA, USA)
No Tracy, it really depended on the type of date we were playing. She could
dress down if it was just a two-hour private party at Joe Blow’s house (an
acquaintance). She usually wore clothes that were comfortable and well
suited to the stage. When we got to the big stages, when it was time to play
with the “big boys” Stevie did wear flashy clothes. I remember that for
those Los Angeles dates she had on elaborate costumes, yet, nothing too
risqué or flamboyant. On the whole, I would venture to say that her taste
for clothing was quite impeccable. I cannot recall ever dealing with a
situation in which she was out of context with something she wore. She
always had good taste in clothes and normally dressed conservatively, not
extravagantly, for the times.
What happened when Lindsey decided to pursue his musical interests instead of staying with the swim team? You mentioned that his coach went ballistic. Did you witness that event, or did Lindsey tell the group about it? (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA, USA)
He told us about it. It happened several months after we had formed (Cal,
Jody, Bob, Lindsey and myself). It was time for varsity swimming. His coach
wanted Linds to spend all free time in the pool. Lindsey had to tell him he
wanted to try music and the coach gave him his famous ultimatum. Linds was
quite upset about it, upset about the rude tact of his coach. There would be
no room for any compromise. This only strengthened his resolve. Though he
loved swimming, Lindsey was very enthusiastic about playing music, he felt
this was what he wanted to do. His parents wisely understood that and gave
him room to follow his interests. Had they sided with the coach, we would
not have been allowed to rehearse at the Buckingham’s garage.
Can you tell us anything more about the short time you spent with Lindsey in 1980 (I hope I have the date correct)? (David, Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Lindsey gave me his number in 1978 when he visited my house in San Carlos.
In 1980 I had moved to San Francisco, teaching and taking graduate classes
down the street at SFSU. He came over with the understanding that we would
visit, jam on our instruments and maybe share some material. I told him I
had some original material--tht I would like to give him musical stuff to
use. He recommended I first listen to Rumours and Tusk, in order to get
acquainted with the style. I hadn’t heard either album yet. This I did, and
I also wrote a song called Pioneers that I thought he might like.
He arrived around two in the afternoon. We embraced like two brothers. I
didn’t have a small amp for him so we drove over to a music shop nearby and
purchased a Fender Champ Amp. At first nobody noticed us. Lindsey was
trying out some guitars in the store and whatnot. I looked at a few
keyboards. By the time we were ready to walk out, the whole store was
buzzing about “That’s Lindsey Buckingham!” “That’s the real Lindsey
We had our little jam. I was playing my Baldwyn Hamilton (upright piano). I
taped it on cassette. We warmed up with some songs of mine that Lindsey had
heard before. Then I showed him my new material. We had a great time
jamming. The room where the piano is located is at the end of the house
(Grafton Street, in Inglewood District) near the street corner. There is a
bus stop there. The shades were drawn so you couldn’t see inside. People
were hanging out, some even missed their buses in order to hear the heavy
music coming from the grey house. My lovely lady Alicia cooked us a steak
dinner and we stopped around six to eat. After that, Linds looked at his
watch and said, “Gotta run.” Again, we parted with a hug, like brothers. I
gave him a copy of the cassette we had recorded and he opened his trunk to
put the guitar case away. Inside the car trunk was a big cardboard box
stuffed with all kinds of cassettes. He just threw my tape on top of the
pile. Apparently, he had done a number of rounds, jamming with lots of other
musicians, recording ideas left and right. Well, needless to say, I don’t
think he ever referred back to that recording we made in San Francisco. He
didn’t use any of it, but that’s o.k. (In case you ever read this, I still
owe you some money, Lindsey, and I do intend to, expect to pay you back!!!)
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer all of these questions. I was wondering if when you knew Stevie in Fritz if she was considered extremely attractive, and if she was, whether you think this affected the way others perceived her as a serious singer/songwriter (i.e., did that make people not take her seriously). Also, I was wondering how Stevie, and the whole band for that matter, dressed for gigs. Did Stevie use any sort of theatrical clothing like she did in FM? Did anyone else in the band? Thanks!! (Kelley, Corsicana, Texas, USA)
Depends on what time in our 3 1/2 years you’re talking about. The best I can
say of Stevie at the very beginning of our FRITZ hiatus is that she was
considered a “cute chick.” She was 19, and cute. Not sexy, nor sultry, nor
fancy or shmancy, just cute. Please keep one thing in mind. Its one thing
to be up on the same stage doing the music, looking around but mainly
fixating on what your fingers are supposed to be doing, making eye-contact
with the other instrumentalists, waiting for cues, etc., etc. Its quite
another thing to be sitting in front of the stage, watching the lead singer
go through all her moves, eyes on her at all times. When we first heard that
people wanted to hire the band because they liked that “blond chick,” we
didn’t throw up our arms and say, “Those heathen philistines don’t know good
music when they hear it!” We collectively said, “Great!” “They want us
back.” No one was jealous, we were satisfied that we had been remembered.
And Stevie never did anything off-color or tasteless to get attention, she
wasn’t a “bump and grind” kind of girl. Previously, I mentioned the initial
reservations about her ability to handle the music. We found ways to get
around that. The fact that she caused the band to get attention and that she
contributed music to the band meant that her place in the band would become
more secure. At the beginning, we didn’t know Stevie, didn’t know how long
she’d last--she was new to rock bands. She also had her own insecurities.
This has all been discussed elsewhere here. After about a year it was clear
that she would be a permanent member of the band. She hadn’t yet written a
whole lot of songs during this period, however. We only played two of them.
For a Fillmore date or some other big concert, we dressed up. There was a
store on Polk Street in San Francisco called Town Squire where the fellas and
the women could buy Victorian outfits, hand-knitted tops and bell-bottomed
trousers, etc. We each had our little wardrobes of “Renaissance clothes.”
It was fun to wear this stuff, it went well with the long flowing hair! But
for local high school dances and things, we’d come very casual--jeans and
I have no questions to ask. I just wanted to
say thank you so very much for doing this. It means so much! (Renee Schade, Los Angeles, CA, USA)
You are very welcome. My pleasure. Thank you for your continued interest.
Did Fritz have a 'farewell' performance? That last gig that you mentioned, did the band members and/or the audience know that it was to be the last time Fritz would play together ? (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA, USA)
I think its safe to say that the De Anza College date was the last hurrah.
No, the audience didn’t have a clue to what was going on. We arrived at
dusk, about twenty minutes before the downbeat and were astonished to see a
thick line of people stretching through the campus. This got our attention!
Then, they packed the place--it was wall-to-wall people. People hustled and
pushed to get up close. You could cut the excitement with a knife! The
electrified audience treated us as though we were the big time. That’s why I
can’t forget that evening. We had played throughout Santa Clara Valley (now
known as Silicon Valley), every high school, from Los Altos, Cupertino, San
Jose, Mountain View, you name it. Maybe this was the gist of our real
following over the years. Their booming, surreal applause was wildly
enthusiastic and sustained. You can’t imagine the feeling of soaking up
those fantastic ovations while knowing it was all coming to an end.
Afterwards, Bob cried, I mentioned my hairs stood up. All of us got very
emotional but tried to hide it, to hold it down. It was very hard to keep
tears from welling up. There was something very magical in the air that
night--maybe the times magnified everything we were experiencing. But alas,
despite the brief euphoria, it was reality time, the cards had already been
played. Linds and Stevie’s minds were made up, we all knew it. If FRITZ had
bombed out musically, it would have been so much easier to kiss everything
goodbye. If we had played a funky lil hole-in-the wall somewhere it would
have been easy to part ways. But we were never groomed to play club gigs--our
goal had always been, “Original music, concert gigs, national exposure.” We
had worked so hard at rehearsals, had gone over minute details, polishing
much in our shows. Each set was a professional flowing rendition of songs
and solos, everything worked out in advance. De Anza College was just us.
We were not opening, we were the draw. It was the culmination of three and a
half years of where we were headed. But there were no bouquets, no flowers,
no farewell notes, no words of closure here.
The L.A. boys soon scooped out our bank account (for “services rendered’).
We heard this though one of Dave Forest’s weekly letters which also stopped
coming. As a band, I don’t think we ever had a proper “farewell.” It was
more like, “See ya around.”
Your question brings something else to mind. This whole issue of the
finality of things. Even in 1968 we had issues in the band--some were
addressed in songs. Other issues festered and came out later under different
circumstances or triggers. But in the process of being in a band comprised
of very individual members, there are compromises to be made, there are
adjustments to hammer out. If there is good communication between everyone,
then these things get resolved quickly. if not, then bigger problems arise
later on. Sometimes it takes reverse psychology--a song as crude as
“Wondering Why” to make people reflect, “Why is he saying this?” This then
becomes a catalyst toward addressing pending issues. At least, that’s what I
thought. Maybe that’s what Mick’s book was trying to accomplish. I can
confirm to you that “Wondering Why,” “Product of the Times,” “Bold Narcissus”
“Next Time Around” were screaming for attention and discussion. Perhaps some
reflection (by the others) went into this after the third or even thirteenth
playing. But the big issues would just ride. Unfortunately, it seems that
the reverse psychology approach would be counterproductive. I’d love to find
out what my colleagues would have to say about all of that.
In any organization of people sometimes there are things that must die in
order for other more progressive interaction to continue. For instance
attitudes. Sometimes it seemed I was the only one trying to maintain
constructive dialogue, but perhaps my intentions were perceived as too pushy
or not clearly postulated. These attempts to air legitimate differences were
often greeted with a measure of apprehension or dread.
First of all, I would like to add my thanks for taking the time to answer these questions - you have cast light upon a rather dim corner in the lives of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham! I would like to ask you a question about Stevie and Lindsey's aspirations, their hopes and fears. Did either Lindsey or Stevie talk about what they wanted from their lives? What sort of ambitions did they have for their futures? Stevie has in some interviews indicated her sorrow at not having children; Lindsey has of course just become a father - was having a family something that was important to either or both of them? Lindsey and Stevie enjoy very different types of fame and I wondered also whether they talked at any time about their aspirations and hopes for their careers? (Angela, Oxford, England)
During the time that I knew them I would say we all shared the same ambitions
but differed ultimately, on the way toward our goals. Playing music was
something we all loved. Creating music was a stimulating exercise.
Performing for an audience and getting paid was icing on the cake. In the
majority of days that we were a consolidated band we had the confidence about
eventually hitting pay dirt. The collective opinion was that a family would
be deferred for some time until things were more settled and secure. That
means we expected to make it--we expected to be doing twice as good each
year. We had no reason to believe otherwise, things had gotten better and
better in terms of the types of gigs, the money earned, the notoriety, etc.
We felt reasonably secure that Forest’s hustle was going to land us a
recording contract, that we were going to “make it.” But at that early an
age, familial aspirations were not pressing on us. We were sufficiently
buoyed by our growing good fortune to think there’d be more bright lights and
$$ at the end of our proverbial tunnel.
I think on a certain level, Stevie regretted losing Dave Young. He really
wanted to get more serious with her, but she knew deep down inside that she
wasn’t ready to settle down, there was much she wanted to do yet. Had she
never experienced band life and the music business, I think its safe to say
that she’d have married a long time ago and raised a hearty brood. The same
goes for Lindsey. Perhaps he would have married Sally Durbin and become good
at growing tomatoes, who knows.
At that age, we still had no sense of the preciousness and limitations of
time. For those who haven’t started families yet, you have to get to your
forties before you start feeling the real pressures of time closing in on
you. Around single midlife is when regrets start seeping in concerning that
fleeting “lightness of being” characterizing our younger years.
Basically, Stevie and Lindsey, as well as Brian, Bob and I wanted to find the
kind of security and comfort that we grew up in. Naturally, we expected to
surpass where we had come from. We identified with the successful groups of
the times--we’d rubbed elbows with many of them--it seemed we were on the
right path. We lasted as long as we did because our progressive curve was on
As far as “fears” go--Vietnam was the main concern of the day. Other issues
such as Civil Rights, national/global politics, economics or ideology were
not S&L’s forte. We did talk a lot about music, other musicians,
performances, recordings, about the hippie movement, or about immediate
concerns in our mundane lives.
When you and Lindsey got together in 1980, where was it and what did you do? Did you find Lindsey to be changed in any way because of his fame and fortune? What were your impressions? Thank you! (Barbara Holmes, Houston, TX, USA)
I already previously answered the first part of your question. Your other
questions are excellent. I had talked to a mutual friend about Lindsey a
couple of years before I saw him. This buddy told me he didn’t think Lindsey
had changed one iota. My initial impression of what he said was one of
disbelief. I may not have been a FM fan or followed Lindsey’s exploits
closely, but I knew what he had done. I knew he was in the so-called “big
time.” I knew from experience (my sister’s) that money (particularly coming
into lots of it) changes you.
I was skeptical. When Lindsey finally did drive up to the City, the initial
contact with him was as warm and sincere as if I hadn’t seen a brother in a
year. We spent a nice afternoon together and he left promptly after dinner.
But it did seem like the old Lindsey I had always known.
But that was 1980. I have not heard from him since then. You tell me.
Early on in the question and answer period you stated, "She and I could have become more than friends, but at the time I was too clumsy, clowning and preoccupied with other matters, and therefore, missed my chance to get closer. The main thing I regret about all that is, after that particular time, Stevie and I did not become better friends, but just the opposite. Also basically, our temperaments are very unalike." You liked Robin. Stevie and Robin were very close. Let's imagine Stevie and Robin read all the things that you have answered here. What would their take be on it? Would they agree? You state that Stevie is discreet in her relations with others. Yet you have written Stevie was with some football star, and with others--how do you know this? Did you know Dave Young and HE shared this with you? Why is who slept with Stevie so important? Could you even imagine that Stevie would want to be your friend now? I also understand the prejudices that Mexicans have face--don't you think you really are dumping on Stevie--and her family, who you admit that you had little contact with, rather heavily in some of what you have written? If you do decide to ever write a book, perhaps some of these things ought to be considered. I realize a lot of your words were just off the top of your head at times. But you are putting this stuff on line, stuff that can be seen and read by anyone. Just my opinion. I have appreciated what you have said about the MUSIC. (blackcat, PA, USA)
HAVE YOU READ EVERYTHING HERE? Robin is away, in heaven.
Anybody who has ever known me knows I speak my mind, I try to be thorough and
don’t hold back punches. More importantly, I have said more good things than
bad things about Stevie, for those of you keeping score. People writing to
this Q&A web page have asked me repeatedly to reveal what I know about the
intimate lives of S&L. I have endeavored to do this.
My flirtations and brief visits with Robin (R.I.P.) happened at a different
time and basically carried Stevie’s tacit approval--this occurred while Robin
was spending nights at Stevie’s. Nothing really happened. These were very
brief flings we’re talking about, hardly even worth mentioning. I had merely
added recollections of her in passing. My fling with Stevie was equally
brief and took place at another time, say about late Summer 1968. Now back
up a year and a half. Before Stevie entered the band she was regularly
seeing Dave Young, this is general knowledge, its in the prom picture of
their M-A HS Yearbook. And I never said she was intimate with Dave. I
personally don’t know that. You must realize people have been asking me for
all kinds of personal details and where there is potential controversy I have
tried to make my responses brief. It is not my wish to be dumping on Stevie
here or anywhere, and I expect that if she were to read all I have written
here she would not be making the kind of rash judgements that you have made.
Despite these “strolls through past” please keep in mind that I am not the
same person she dealt with in 1971. And I know she is not the same person I
Again, I have shared what were my first impressions of the Nicks and
Buckingham families. I called the shots as I saw them. If I said Lindsey’s
family was more supportive, it was because we band members experienced it.
Its not like I set out to portray Stevie’s family as villains in a soapbox.
If anyone is afraid that my revelations will shatter fragile bubbles
regarding feelings for Stevie or whomever, then please ask me questions
solely about the music. Let’s just talk musical shoptalk and leave the rest
go. Unfortunately, I happen to believe that all music should be examined
within its cultural context. This includes the conduct of individuals--one’s
lifestyle does seep into production values. (Kinda like, “you are what you
eat”) But if you want to keep it square on the music, fine! That’s o.k.
with me too!
Oh, and I really don’t think you know that much about the prejudices Mexicans
have and continue to face. Thank you.
Letter from David Forest, 1968
Click for a larger version.
When did you begin playing keyboards? What prompted your interest in music? It seems like most of the Fritz band members had years of experience behind them for such a young group of people. (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA, USA)
Who said most of "the Fritz band members had years of experience behind
them"? Not really. Fritz was the first serious band for L&S. Bob had
already been in a couple of groups. Brian had played with one band or I
think he'd only jammed at his private boarding school (he studied abroad).
I started playing in my first band with Bob Aguirre in 1964.
Before I mention The Castiles, lemmie back up to my seventh birthday, 1956.
Elvis was king, I didn’t know what the fuss was about. Dean Martin, Perry
Como, The Platters plus the big band sounds of Les Baxter (The Poor People of
Paris) and Nelson Riddle (Lisbon Antigua) were circulating on the play charts
of radio stations all around the country. I started learning music for the
first time. There was a home on El Camino Real (Redwood City) selling rooms
full of accordions and weekly lessons. I took lessons with a pretty Italian
lady. It was a small pastel-red piano (Diatonic) accordion (w/one-octave
bass), just right for my small size. She taught me basic notation and
reading. We played mostly marches and polkas. I say “we” because I copied
everything she did. We even assisted at some polka parties, there were other
kids to meet in our little accordion society. But after a year and a half of
this I wanted out. I complained my teacher smoked too much and the folks
took it as a cop out. In fact, I wasn't learning to read notes. The task
seemed phenomenal, monumental, compared to the ease of picking up music by
ear. Music had been with me from peewee years. Dad used to mess around on
the guitar. He serenaded Mom sometimes, but with feigned falsetto. I think
he was voice shy. But he listened to a lot of different music, from Pedro
Vargas to Ray Coniff, from ranchera music to Benny Goodman. We weren’t
wealthy but had a rich collection of 78 and 33 rpm records. We were also
extremely lucky to live next door to an elderly Irish couple (the O’Neils),
who were family to my two sisters and I. Like my parents, they were new to
America too. They’d migrated in their middle years. The gentleman Mr O’Neil
was a masterful player of the Hohner button-accordion. He would sit in his
room facing our house and play away. His cheerful, spirited jigs brightened
many a day. I was introduced to Celtic music and culture through the O’Neils.
1960 was a year full of novel changes and hopes for a brighter future. My
first 45 rpm record was Chubby Checker’s The Twist. World population topped
3 billion, up from 2 billion in 1930. The economy was so good most people
ignored outgoing President Eisenhower’s warnings about a creeping
“military-industrial complex.” John F. Kennedy beat Nixon to the Presidency
in November. At age eleven, Dad bought my sister a baby grand piano. Piano
lessons for me were out because I’d quit the accordion. So Pops figured I
wouldn't hang on the piano either. But I loved da piano! I started tinkling
away at keys whenever Sis was away, so I taught myself. Of course, Blue Moon
was the first. With near perfect pitch (a good ear) and a good memory it was
easy to pick up recordings by rote (using a tape recorder, later, cassette)
or just hearing them for the first time and remembering the sequences. Down
the street from us lived a Latino who played drums and practiced with a small
combo on some evenings. One day he let me sit in, that is, he let me bang
the drums. After this experience I was sure of what I wanted to do. I
wanted to play in a band. By the time I was in the 8th grade I owned a
decent collection of 45 records. From Dion and the Belmonts to the Chiffons.
This entitled me to be sock hop coordinator at our junior high school. I
graduated from eighth grade with multiple distinctions: an A in Latin,
popular class rep, and sock hop DJ.
KYA Radio 1260 had been my official canon. I listened to the radio every
chance I got. In the “Official Top Thirty For the Week Ending August 2,
1963” it was Wipe Out (Surfaris), Fingertips Pt 2 (Little Stevie Wonder),
Mockingbird (Ines Foxx), Candy Girl (The Four Seasons), Tie Me Kangaroo Down,
Sport (Rolf Harris), Devil in Disguise (Elvis Presley), Easier Said than Done
(Essex), If I Had A Hammer (Trini Lopez), Blowing in the Wind (Peter, Paul &
Mary), and that’s just the top ten! I was into the whole thick and thin of
it, lock, stock and barrel. From Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, Kai Winding, Roy
Orbison, to Ray Charles, Bobby Blue Bland, Martha & The Vandellas, Major
Lance, and then Sunny and the Sunglows, Chris Montez, Sam the Sham, to Los
Indios Tabajaras. September 6, 1963 the top ten of KYA’s Official Top Thirty
lined up this way: Surfer Girl/Little Deuce Coupe (Beach Boys), My
Boyfirend’s Back (Angels), Blue Velvet (Bobby Vinton), Hello Muddah, Hello
Fadduh (Alan Sherman), Denise (Randy & Rainbows), Maria Elena (Los Indios
Tabajaras), Wipe Out (Surfaris), Sally Go Round The Roses (Jaynetts), Be My
Baby (Ronettes) If I Had A Hammer (Trini Lopez).
I began high school studies in mid-September 1963 full of enthusiasm,
ambition and energy. Menlo-Atherton High School seemed like an impersonal
mill to me but I tried to make the best of my time there, enrolling in
after-school football, trying to meet people. November 22, 1963 I was in
Arts/Crafts class. News of JFK’s assasination stunned the whole school into
an eerie silence for the rest of the day. To me Kennedy embodied everything
that was decent, modern, youthful in society. I’d say I stayed in shock for
the rest of the year.
In 1964 I was a very sober sophomore, trying to fit in to upper-middle class
M-A with my collection of cardigan sweaters, Brougham button-down collar
shirts, my white Levis and Black Converse shoes. I may have been resusitated
from all this by the sudden invasion of The Beatles, who came from nowhere
with six hits that year. Another prolonged smash was Eric Burdon’s rendition
of House of the Rising Sun (The Animals). It was Number One for a couple of
months (Sep-Aug). I was still listening to a lot of soul, folk music and
pop. Radio was international--from Kyu Sakamoto’s (the Bobby Darin of Japan)
hit “Sukiyaki” to the French-language “Dominique” by The Singing Nun. As you
can probably tell by now, I started collecting Top 30 lists and Song Hit
magazines. Of course, the music of the Beatles had everyone captured. Having
the Stones as a sly second was not too shabby either.
The Castiles came together in Redwood City at the home of Danny Jauregui.
There were three Chicanos and two Gringos in the band. We all wore these
cool light brown blazers with no lapel. Modesty aside, we were skinny and
small but very charp! In the Castiles we played a lot of Ventures (Apache,
Walk Don’t Run, Memphis). Mostly instrumentals, there was no strong singer.
We did attempt some vocals (Blue Moon, Louie, Louie, Twist & Shout, Farmer
John, Heart of Stone, Summertime, What’d I Say, Runaway, and the Kinks’ All
Day and All Night). My first original number was an instrumental piece
called Meatballs. We had a short-lived manager. Our first gig was at the
Redwood City Roller Rink and afterwards, we caught our manager trying to slip
away with a big wad of cash that belonged to us--that would be all of fifteen
dollars, to be exact! The Castiles died later that year from lack of gigs
Summer before my junior year ex-Castiles bass player Gary Allsebrook called
me. He was in a new group and wanted me to try out for it. This band was
called the Toads, based about ten miles away, in San Mateo. The group had
its own crowd, it had plenty of dates, all I did was further enhance its
growing reputation. Moreover, most of the members were working class lads
like meself. The Toads enjoyed a great year, playing a lot of places all
around San Mateo County. Repertoire included music from Yardbirds, Lovin’
Spoonful, The Byrds, The Animals, The Stones, The Kinks, and The Beatles. We
were among the first bands to play Paperback Writer! (To give you an idea of
where my chops were, I could do the exact organ solo in Alan Price’s “I Put a
Spell on You”) In February 1966 every weekend was booked except the first
weekend--I had the flu. The places we played that month were San Mateo YMCA,
Burlingame Rec, Longshoreman’s Hall, San Francisco, Redwood City. In April
the Chalet at La Honda, Portolla Valley Rec, a Hillsborough party, Lincoln
High School, San Francisco, Rickey’s Hyatt in Palo Alto, St Paul’s in
Burlingame, no job on the 22nd (my B-day) and the 30th was a capper at the Mt
Alvernos Convent (Redwood City), performing free in front of a swinging group
of Catholic nuns. The Toads even made it to finalist position in the H.
Leibes Battle of the Bands at the Cow Palace (1966), but without any
management we would eventually wither away. In 1965-66 I played in other
bands, from Atherton (The Soul Survivors) to San Mateo (The Moonrakers).
Word was out that I was good. The Toads had died. People called me to play
casuals. But it was time to look at my evaporating high school dilemma. I
had cut so many high school classes that the Dean of Boys called me in for a
meeting. After reciting economic statistics to me (about how Mexicans
receive the lowest wages) he then threatened expulsion if I didn't straighten
up and "fly right." I knew it was time to settle down. The end of the Toads
was actually a blessing in disguise. No more distractions, no more distant
girlfriends or hanging out at Hillsdale Mall.
Bob Aguirre called me in the Fall of 1966 to join a group in Atherton. They
didn't have a name. At first I thought this band was too well-scrubbed for
my tastes--too folksy, too middle-class, too simple. Lindsey only knew
chords. “What-the-heck,” I thought, “I don’t need any new musical challenges
right now.” Anyway, everyone was pleasant, and with the time I adjusted.
Our first rehearsals were at the warehouse of Jody Moreing’s dad, who owned a
couple of supermarkets. I was happy that rehearsals were so close to home.
I wouldn't have to drive so far away. Shortly thereafter, practice was
changed to Lindsey's home garage which was also very close. I started
meeting some of the people from my own high school. For me, in my senior
year this was a novelty. I hardly had any friends at M-A. My best friends
there at the time were Paris Bertolucci and Bruce Segal, a very talented
musician and a cool artist, respectively. To me, Menlo-Atherton was a rather
snooty kind of place. But I knew I had better get serious in my senior year,
because as it turned out, I graduated by barely half a credit. I was so
ashamed that I had nearly flunked out that for the first time in my life, I
took summer courses at the College of San Mateo--Typing I and Introduction to
Business. Another great revelation came in June/July of 1968 when I went to
my first serious eye exam. It appears I was in dire need of glasses. Doc
said I shoulda had them years ago. He was right. Anyway this helped my
college grades to improve markedly. My love for music would lead me to take
music courses. So much so that (after trying all the other “ologies”) I
found my major in music. In college my predilictions for piano music turned
increasingly toward Bach and Impressionism, particularly Debussy.
What Lindsey and Stevie have said about their own musical upbringing is the
best you can get, in terms of musicological study. It is a very tedious but
ultimately rewarding job to research and gather documentation in order to
describe musical development and formation. We forget to keep it. When we
are young we don’t think of those things. I didn’t think of trying to
salvage at least one of the two precious hand-made accordions Mr O’Neil left
me before he died. Its hard to hang on to tons of posters, flyers, and other
historical minutae that may have great value tomorrow but only clutter up
your world today.
Another fluff question for you (at least it shouldn't cause controversy ;) Can you tell us a little about Stevie & Lindsey's homes? Did Stevie have Beatles posters on her wall? Did Lindsey's brothers or Stevie's little brother Christopher ever listen to you rehearse? Did Stevie have scarves draped over her lamps? Did Lindsey have his trophies displayed in his room? (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA, USA)
Lindsey lived inside Lindenwood (Atherton) and Stevie lived a little west of
El Camino near Fair Oaks Lane. The Buckingham house was older, with
dark-brown redwood siding around 4 bedrooms, modestly furnished with a large
back yard. The Nicks residence was much more stylish. It was a newer home
with detached garage and maid quarters (the latter converted into Stevie’s
room), I imagine 4-5 rooms overall, but my visits there were
infrequent--mostly to pick her up for rehearsals. Stevie’s sunken living
room (off to the right from the entering foyer) was plush wall-to-wall white
carpeting, and white furnishings so clean you’d hate to sit anywhere and
smudge something. That was as far as I got inside. I’ve mentioned before
that Stevie’s quarters (small living room, bedroom and bath) were separate, a
few paces west of the kitchen. I can imagine the rest of the house was nice
too. I’m sorry Tracy, I can’t remember exactly what they had on their walls
between 1968 and 1971. Whatever it was I am sure it was not the same thing
unchanged for three years. Lindsey’s room was very austere. I remember
Stevie’s room being decorated but exactly who graced her walls, its too long
ago to tell. Beatles were universally loved, so I guess its safe to include
them here somewhere. From time to time we would catch Lindsey’s brothers
coming home or stopping by. They were always kind, upbeat. Young
Christopher I only saw a couple of times. He would accompany Stevie to some
gigs. I don’t remember about scarves over lamps. There were swimming and
other trophies displayed prominently at the Buckingham house. The Buckingham
garage door had sheetrock on the inside and Linds had used colored chalk to
sketch images and other art work all over it. He was very good at drawing.
I remember there was a big face and a number of other sketches. I shudder to
think of what that siding would be worth today. I think the new owners
probably scuttled that sheetrock.
You mentioned you met up with Lindsey once in 1980. Was it he that looked you up? If so, did that surprise you that he would look you up? Were you at all hesitant to see him again because of any hard feelings about the band's demise that seeing him might evoke? I guess ultimately I'm wondering if it was a happy occasion to see him again? Thanks. (Les, San Diego, CA, USA)
No, he had come to see me in San Carlos around 1978. That visit was a total
surprise. He had called from a pay phone, got my new address from the folks
and rang to say he was in the neighborhood. Without hesitation I said “Come
on by.” He was with Bob then. It was about nine in the evening. It was
great to see them both--a blast from the past. Yes, it was a happy occasion.
Everything was on a positive note--there were no hard feelings or back
issues to dredge. We went to a pub for a coupla beers and talked about what
Lindsey had been doing, shared some jokes and mundane things. I learned Bob
had been staying with Lindsey, serving as his butler, cook and gopher. From
witnessing the dynamic between those two I could sense a very different
relationship had evolved. They said they were shopping around the Bay Area
for a Beemer. We came back to the house and listened to a cassette Bob had
of an Aragon High School concert (San Mateo 1970). After listening to just a
few parts of the 90-minute tape they parted. Bob took the cassette. Linds
gave me his phone number. I called him in 1980 when I was living in San
Francisco and arranged to have him come over for a jam. The understanding
was maybe he would consider some original music of mine. This has been
You've had some interesting things to say about both the Nicks and the
Buckingham parents. What about Lindsey's and Stevie's siblings? Did you get
to know (or at least observe) Lindsey's two brothers, or Stevie's brother
Chris? Did you notice Chris Nicks taking any sort of active or participatory
role in his sister's burgeoning career with Fritz, or was he totally out of
the picture? (David O., Los Angeles, CA, USA)
I didn’t have much interaction with S&L’s siblings. I observed Greg
Buckingham the most. He was a household name after the winning a swimming
gold medal in the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. He was a strong, tall,
imposing figure, very friendly, and supportive of Lindsey.
The eldest Jeff (?--I hope I got that right) wore glasses, was a banker, much
more conservative in manner and appearance. He was married and lived apart.
We’d see the brothers only once in awhile as they’d come and go. Chris was a
12-13 year-old young man when FRITZ started. On occasion he did accompany
Stevie. I wouldn’t say he was active in his sister’s career at this time.
You stated that Keith Olsen advised Lindsey & Stevie that they didn't need the rest of the band. Isn't that strange advice? How many duos existed back then? The only act that comes to mind is Sonny and Cher. And you've said Lindsey had not written his own material at that point...why would the record company push for the breakup? (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA, USA)
The record company wasn’t pushing, we were about to negotiate a deal with
RCA. Olsen was an independent producer/engineer. What I learned about Keith
Olsen’s advice I got here at The Penguin. It would be great to have S&L
enlighten us about this particular period. Were their minds made up, or did
the encouragement of others make a difference? Yes, I think it was strange
advice, but then, the music business is a strange world. Please, don’t ever
forget, the rock world is as much about image as it is about music. People
who are accountants and engineers make aesthetic decisions about other
people’s lives. When we were touring around Southern California the music
execs who visited the group talked primarily to Stevie and Lindsey. My music
was considered non-commercial, and I’ve said elsewhere that by Hollywood
standards, it certainly was non-commercial, therefore no one talked turkey to
me. Perhaps my hair was too scruffy, I didn’t use hair spray, or maybe I
personally lacked an aura, zero commercial potential. As a Mexican, maybe
people assumed that I served only a peripheral role in the band. I think Mr
Olsen wanted S&L to front their own band, instead of being part of a
collective whole such as FRITZ. Bob, Brian and I were expendable, but S&L
were judged to be commercially viable. Besides, its easier to control two
than it is a whole ensemble. And regardless of their experience with FM, I
would agree somewhat with that assessment. Even if there had never been a
FM, S&L could have been ultimately successful as a duo--don’t you agree?
They have proven themselves as a duo and as soloists. So why did people
advise them thusly? Aesthetic decisions are made everyday by a small number
of people who are mostly proficient at crunching numbers. Look at this
year’s Fall lineup of television shows. The NAACP has complained this past
week that there is no diversity in those programs. One step forward and two
steps back. In 1999, doesn’t that sound a little odd?
Dr. Pacheco, thanks so much for answering our questions -- this is a rare
and exciting chance for us to learn about Fritz and the early careers of
Stevie and Lindsey, and we really appreciate your time, sharing, and candor.
I have a few questions. The first relates to the role Lindsey played in the
band. While you describe him as the mediator and a leader figure, he is
also the Bold Narcissus as well. Was Lindsey's attitude inconsistent all
the time, or do you think there was a change in his role, due to the growth
of his relationship with Stevie, or his growing confidence in his
abilities, or his frustration with the bass? More generally, what effect do
you think Stevie had on Lindsey, emotionally, musically, etc. and vice
versa while in Fritz, and, who was the dominant person in the relationship
then? (Lindsey has stated in the press that the end of their relationship
and the fact that they continued to work together had a huge impact on him,
which he could only put to rest in 1997, so my question sort of wonders
whether the "good times" had a good effect). And, in that vein, was their
relationship as stormy as it later became in FM, and were there songs
(happy or sad) they wrote about each other while in Fritz?
Second question area, did you or the other band members notice the harmony
of Stevie and Lindsey's voices as being special? Much has been made of it,
and I really enjoy their harmonizing with each other and others as well,
and that has been a large component of their work in FM and solo. Were
vocal harmonies important in the Fritz songs, written by Stevie or anyone
Last, but not least. You mention astrological signs for Stevie and Lindsey,
to explain their relationship with each other, and I was wondering (she
says in a smarmy voice), um, what's your sign? And how would you compare
your astrological makeup to those of the other bandmembers to explain the
dynamics (really, I do believe in this stuff).
Phew! That's a lot of questions, any comments would be great. (Anusha, Orchard Park, NY, USA)
Hi! Wow, a whole page of questions! Sure you got it all in? Jus’ kidding,
thanks for your interest!
You have to keep in mind our tender ages at this period! We were not grown
mature adults yet. We all lived and breathed in a similar space and time
while watching each other grow. The Lindsey I first met was an ex-swimming
jock with perky enthusiasms for music. He was simple but sincere. A couple
of years later, when I thought maybe he was beginning to be too distant and
admire himself too much in the mirror, well, then the song came to me.
“Bolder Empress” expressed my concerns over Stevie’s manipulativeness (which
I’ll get to a little later here). Songs are like photographs, they relay a
moment, they are impressions. When you carve a stone figure, its not
reality. Anyway, we did do this number more than once. S&L were not very
pleased with it but they liked the music. We played it at least a few
months. But it got scraped along with other older songs. I didn’t
particularly mind, I also wasn’t about to advocate that the song stay. It
was better to spare them any further aggravation. So that’s how that was.
Our sets had thematic content in that we would place songs like Bold
Narcissus--the proverbial struggles, and victorious end arrives in the
culmination of the set with a medley of “get it together”
spiritually-inspired songs, just before the finale, “Keep on Running.” So in
other words, the set resolves as an “alls well”
Tomorrow Come Today
Passing faces, feeling the glow
passing ten, hundreds, thousands
feeling the glow
Now we know faith by numbers
that we can’t throw it all away
can’t throw it all away
let tomorrow come today!
You’ve got to see yourself
in the light of the sun
You’ve got to see yourself
in the light of the sun
To see the sun inside you
to be the one inside you
to see reality
to see reality
The light you’re seeing
is shining in to greet each new day
Cuz those tomorrows that your dreamin’
Stars, stars, stars, fill your head
but we’re so far
baby, we ain’t there yet!”
This evolves into a heavy metal passage that ends with a short solo piano
intro where Stevie enters by herself, repeating verses (written by Brian)
“Joy is sought by those who seek
to do all good, and those who do gain favor
in the midst of oppression
whose noise is heard and sounds without
among the people of the world
come sing my song,
and join in hands
to sing of the
The rest of the band comes in, Lindsey doing the third harmony, and the song
grows to a climax. This ends but then the drums start thumping a quiet,
gentle beat that grows into a crescendo for the finale number,
“Keep on Running.” Therefore, whatever is said and done in that set (and
theoretically, I could stick my tongue out at anyone) at the end, we are all
just one happy family again, singing about resolution: love, peace, and
happiness. Amen, hallelujah! See how it works?
We all had to grow as developing musicians. We were all in different species
of cocoons when we first met, gradually growing butterfly wings.
One develops growing confidence in his abilities and yes of course, this
invariably influences the ego. Especially the singers--they get all the
attention--it goes right to their heads. Everyone focuses on the guy in
front. Forget how dependent he is on the rest of the band. It was also
natural that the growth in his relationship with Stevie was going to distance
him further from the others. I felt this distance. I know I missed the old
Lindsey, it was hard to get any closer to him. I even missed a closer
relationship with Stevie. It was like we could no longer be real friends
anymore. We were simply being civil toward one another.
The early Lindsey had been quite the pioneer, stretching out in every way,
vocals, guitar, bass. I forgot to mention, he sometimes tinkled away on a
keyboard, if there was one nearby, or if mine was around. He started picking
When Lindsey and Stevie first became serious about each other, I thought
they’d also become somewhat obsessive. I used the other word earlier,
reclusive, more private. Yes I think the dominant person in the relationship
then was Stevie. She was a charmer, she knew how to win you over. When she
wanted something bad, it was the high-pitched little “Teevee” voice. When
she meant business the voice dropped down an octave. She was certainly more
of a woman than Sally Durbin, emotionally speaking. This maturity plus age
(one year older) gave her the edge.
Musically, I don’t think Stevie was influential at first. Besides, they
hadn’t started composing together yet. I am sure she held sway when it
involved matters of arranging a particular set list, the order of songs.
Sets were organized with attention given to alternating singers, major/minor
keys, slow/fast, soft/hard, difficult/easy, old/new material.
Stevie and Lindsey didn’t write about each other while in Fritz. S&L songs
came after Fritz. As a couple they maybe had a couple of rough times, but
nothing noteworthy. I really couldn’t say whether their relationship was
stormy in 1970. It didn’t seem like it to me.
As far as the vocals--Stevie and Lindsey together, I think it was in the
ballad, “Georgia” (Ray Charles) that I first realized this. That song became
the second-to-the last vocal highlight of the evening on many, many dates.
Oh, but I realized there was a chemistry between their two voices early on.
Could’ve started when Lindsey sang unison with Stevie, reinforcing her in
weak spots. Sometimes they worked out parts live on the stage. It was just
a matter of time that this would happen. That’s one of the great things
about being with a group of musicians working together over time. You get
used to the other person’s nuances, moods, inflections, etc, you are even
able to anticipate the other at times.
By the first year (1967-68) Stevie had developed her own style for each song
she tackled. Lindsey learned to control his vibrato more and also stretched
himself tremendously as a vocalist. Lindsey and Stevie comprised the sound
of Fritz. After they left it didn’t make any sense to replace them. You
couldn’t replace them and call it the same thing. Its not the same thing.
We all admired big Beach Boy, Brian Wilson and worked assiduously to add
three-part harmonies to songs whenever possible. Brian Kane could even help
with vocals, so we could have up to four voices, or three on chorus and one
lead. As the composer of the time yes, I did feel vocal harmonies were very
important in the Fritz songs. Hello. This was a great strength of ours.
There were rock bands that only had one decent singer. We had two. I was
satisfied at the way Stevie and Lindsey handled my songs. They poured their
hearts into it and sang expressively. The first demo we did in (mentioned
earlier, in San Mateo) was Jackie De Shannon’s “What the World Needs Now Is
Love, Sweet Love.” The three of us sang that. I mean, we tried to utilize
as much of our voices as possible. A composer writes according to what is
available. I knew if Stevie couldn’t do the song, there was a chance
I really didn’t start investigating Astrology until way after Fritz. Can’t
give you an honest interpretation. I am a Taurus (April 22) close to the
cusp of Aries. About all I know is that Gemini and Libra are supposed to be
compatible because I read it somewhere. Oh, and I know another friend
(female Gemini) who lived with a Libra (male) and they are both poet/writers
(artists). I recall their three-year trist was stormy and came to a crash
landing. But I think I will refrain from making any astrological
speculations about S&L. I remember Bob is a Capricorn. Forgot Brian’s sign.
I saw myself as the builder of the foundations of the house. You would have
to ask the other bandmembers to explain how they saw themselves.