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

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Dr. Pacheco, I have a question that's probably totally out of left field for this session, even though I am a big fan of your ex-colleagues' music...and that is, you were playing in the Bay Area at the same time that Santana was starting to break out. Did you have any contact with any of those players? Did you ever jam with them, or was there not any time for that kind of cross-pollination? For that matter, you mentioned Bob Weir in an earlier answer - did you ever meet or play with any of the Dead? (Lawyermac, Minneapolis, MN, USA)

I knew drummer Michael Shrieve because he had played in a jazz combo with Paris Bertolucci. I used to go hear them play at a small jazz club called “In Your Ear” in Palo Alto. Michael was a shy, quiet, intense musician. I was surprised to know he had joined up with Santana. I also knew Gregg Rollie (organist). He had performed with a rock group (name escapes me, but they dressed up like Paul Revere and the Raiders, with three-cornered hats) during my Toad days (1965). One bumped into musicians all the time in those days. But they were the only two members I knew. Years later I would meet Chepito, the timbalero. He would sometimes come sit in at Club Elegante (S.F.) where I played with Combo Mestizo. Our two groups happened to cross paths at a concert in Monterey JC, 1970. It was Santana and Fritz. Unfortunately at the time, I was too preoccupied with a lady friend and missed the party afterwards. I would regret that later. At the party Mike and Gregg had asked about me and I was tucked away in my room. Years later, I had to shoo Carlos’ brother from a rehearsal once (1977). He strolled onto the stage where we were playing brandishing a recording cassette player while we were going over new original material. "Uh-uh,” I said! I never met or played with the members of the Dead. I knew Mickey Hart because his dad owned a music store (“Hartland”) in San Carlos. Talked to Jerry Garcia on the phone once (he lived in Palo Alto); I forget why I called. We were too busy in those days to do a lot of cross-pollination. Every now and then there were parties in which musicians would gather and jam with one another. Right now, memory of specific instances escapes me. Sorry.

Hi Javier! First of all, I want to say thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions. It's been fascinating to read your answers. Now for my question. I'm a big fan of the Beatles. I was wondering if you got into their music at all, did it influence Fritz's sound, and did you or any of the other members of the band get to see their last show at Candlestick Park? (Ann, Gordonsville, TN, USA)

One would have to have been a zombie living in a closet not to have felt the influence of the Beatles, it was everywhere. Their music was everywhere, their pictures were everywhere. News stories devoted to their latest tour or current exploits kept people glued to the tube. I loved John Lennon’s wit, could relate to his irreverent spirit. He was my cultural hero of the time. His book A Spaniard in the Works also influenced me to write. McCartney was merely the pretty boy, but his singing (on “Yesterday” or “Michelle”) would also take me away. They were a tremendous influence, from the long hair to the leather boots, and types of music amps (I remember wishing I could own a Vox amplifier--loved the look). We grew up with the Beatles, followed their exploits, almost discovered life through the Beatles. I saw them at least twice on the top-rated 'Ed Sullivan Show', their US record sales eclipsed sales in the UK. Overnight, the group reached a level of popularity that even outshone their pre-eminence in Britain. By April, they held the first five places in the Billboard Hot 100, while in Canada they boasted nine records in the Top 10. Some of the songs I remember playing: I Should Have Known Better, Yesterday, Hide Your Love Away, Tell My Why, I’ll Cry Instead, Chains, Misery, You Won’t See Me, This Boy, It’s Only Love, Bad Boy, We Can Work It Out, You Can’t Do That, Think For Yourself, Paperback Writer, Lady Madonna, and Blackbird. I learned about Indian music through their interest in the sitar and the work of master Ravi Shankar. They were curious about Eastern philosophies. This spawned parallel interests among their many fans. I had mentioned earlier that the end of the Beatles also seemed to reinforce our own demise (in Fritz). By the way, David Forest was to us what Brian Epstein was to the Beatles, except that Forest did not fade away. I was playing in The Toads at the time. It was August, 1966. The owner of a music store in San Carlos asked us to play for one of his store anniversary celebrations. He set up a stage outside (off Laurel Street) and gave away free balloons. In exchange for our afternoon performance we were promised tickets to go to Candlestick Park for the last show of the Beatles’ national tour. No one imagined that it would be the last time they would ever play together again. (I still have my ticket!) Sponsored by KYA (Radio 1260) my ticket (worth $5.50) was for the lower stands (Section 10, Row 15, Seat 3), August 29, 1966. (This was a only few months before I was to join a group of M-A seniors in a combo to be known as the Fritz Rabyne Memorial Band.) There was excitement everywhere. If a helicopter happened to fly by, the stadium would erupt in thunderous screams. I remember being slightly disappointed at the time. From the moment they stepped onto the field (the stage was at second base) there was a constant cacophony of screaming, so loud that you could hardly hear anything else. And that’s how it was for the rest of the show. You could barely hear things like “Twist and Shout” and “Help!” It was frustrating--memorable, but frustrating. It was not a very long set and I remember that musically, they were tight, but didn’t exactly bowl me over. >From where I was sitting (out in the stands) only the constant yelling and screaming affected me. I was with other Toad members and we fought over a little pair of binoculars. Historically, I know the Beatles were ultimately very frustrated that they could not reproduce in live shows a lot of the magic from the recordings. At any rate, it was interesting to witness some of that intense Beatle hysteria.

What prompted Fritz to go to Salt Lake City for that out of state performance you mentioned? Did your manager arrange that gig for you or had Fritz begun to receive out of state notoriety? Were you well received? (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA, USA)

Dave Forest arranged for that tour. I believe it was with Leon Russell. We did several openers with Mr Russel. Forest must have been on good terms with the promoters that booked those concerts. I remember driving there and stopping at a bowling alley in Nevada around 3-4 in the morning. There was a drunk red-neck breathing down his nose at us. Lindsey was extremely nervous and beckoned me not to engage the guy. Bob Aguirre had the longest hair and he was sweating bricks. I had a bad habit of being playful and haughty, so everyone was panicked that I’d somehow blow it. I was at the counter and turned to stare at this fellah who was cussing behind me. Bad idea! I saw some mean-looking, blood-shot beady eyes, smelled his putrid alcohol breath and started heading for the door. It was all very nasty and surreal. We were in Marlboro country--long hair was not accepted, no way. There was a war going on, longhairs were equated with pacifists, therefore all longhairs were “traitors” not to mention “fairies.” Lindsey just grabbed our coffee and donuts and also made a beeline to the door. The guy followed us outside, still cussing and hankerin’ away at us. We got the heck out of there. We’d forgotten that there were still a lot of places in Middle America where it was not safe for long-haired buckskin hippie-types to wander. Yes, I remember we were well-received in Salt Lake City, it was a large, loud, responsive crowd in a big cavernous auditorium right downtown. I would say that that show marked the beginning of our growing notoriety beyond regional exposure. But most out-of-state gigs implied longer, sustained tours and we were not quite at that stage yet. For that, we would need a single (hit record) out on the market. We had gone out to play in Northern California several times (i.e., Lake Tahoe, Lodi, Stockton) so we were already becoming used to performing far from home.

Hello, thank you for answering these questions. You stated you have a wonderful gift for writing and how much you love to write. Stevie will also state this that she started music because she wanted to be a teacher and write about her experiences to others and just share her talent. But she had only written a couple of songs for FRITZ and it seems she never made writing that important back then..it seemed all about fame and getting a record deal ( to her) ...so did you ever realize or know how much she was a writer and was she so animat about it then as she is now? I mean when you thought of Stevie..did you think of her as your lead chick singer or as a writer? Now it seems she wants to be known as a writer more than anything else and she implies its always been that way. Since you were a song writer...did you ever click with her on that level? I just don't get that impression... (Janet Strayer, Palmyra, NJ, USA)

I wish we could have clicked as co-writers. I liked Stevie’s early lyrics. We only did two of her songs, but from those two gems I could tell she had a knack for expressing feelings and whatnot. My problem was always about lyrics--I was concerned about repeating myself. It was important to write in a language that would perk up peoples’ ears. Look what was out there: Lennon, Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel. I would eventually turn more toward poetry in my quest to improve lyrics. Simplicity and magical, this was my goal. My early songs don’t really reflect this. Not until later in life do I start to put as much attention to the words as the music.

I said elsewhere that I feel I can hear S&L’s music now with new ears. Its true. I am glad Stevie continued to write and go off on her own, beyond FM. I saw her do a solo performance once (with her backup band--on the telly) and was impressed with her singular facility.

Back then I didn’t see a lot of “Stevie the writer.” I don’t know if Stevie was keeping a diary or not. I do remember sometimes seeing her with pen and paper. I’m sure she did some writing. We often took writing materials with us when we went on the road. I kept a small diary only in the last year. Of course, I thought more of Stevie as the lead singer. I don’t think she ever contributed to any of my lyrics. I may have changed some lines of verses if she thought certain words were too awkward or run together. I sincerely hope Stevie does come out with her own book. As you can see, there are gaps yet to fill.

Hola Javier! Thank you for answering these questions. It has been very interesting reading your responses. How were rehearsals like in the early days? Did any weird mishaps that happened that you can recall of? ( I was just wondering since I was in a band eons ago and we had weird mishaps:)Were there any heated arguments that got out of hand? ( I know you mentioned that Lindsey took a swipe at you about some music thing) And were there a crowd around when you practiced in Lindsey's garage? (April Panichaya, Tinley(boofoo) Park, IL, USA)

Hola, April. Rehearsals were routine. In the early-early days rehearsals were antiseptic (1966). After we started rehearsing at Lindsey’s garage (by June, 1967), things got more relaxed. Sometimes we would clown around during lulls or waiting around, like if Brian broke a string or something. (I captured one of our clowning moments on 8mm camera. My only problem is--I haven’t found the film clip yet. Its lying around the house somewhere, possibly spliced with other films. My Dad did a splice-capade one time and since then, I haven’t been able to locate that particular clip.) We had a standing policy against visitors at rehearsals. We discouraged visitors. For the most part, that rule was always enforced. People interested in hiring us or close friends might come and go, but we really didn’t want an audience while going over material. Visitors were very few and far between. When we switched rehearsals over to the banquet room of the Italian Gardens (San Jose, 1970), we had even less visitors. There were heated arguments from time to time, but generally relations in the band were smooth. Sometimes we might argue over the order of songs in a set for a particular gig. We might disagree about dropping some songs and adding others. Or we might review the last performance and criticize some parts that were sloppy. The “swipe” incident I had with Lindsey was outside of rehearsal (at Lindsey’s garage), Bob and Brian weren’t even there. I don’t even remember why I went over there at that particular time. That was the only time things got seriously out of hand. In San Jose, we were free to roam around the building and luscious green gardens when we’d take our rehearsal breaks. Aside from some joking and clowning around, things went smoothly and we got a lot accomplished.

Earlier, when asked a question concerning your personal life, you stated you could have had two children. I am curious as to what exactly that means. (Beth, Atlanta, GA, USA)

Dear Jesus, what could it mean? They were both aborted. The first was a mutual decision (1978), the second, a unitary choice--I was notified after the fact (1981). When you’re young you tend to have very liberal ideas--its so easy to turn thumbs down and take the easy way out. My feelings about abortion have turned 180 degrees since those experiences. Mind you, I am in favor of free choice, however, for some, abortion has meant an easy ride from having to face responsibility for one’s actions. You find out in the long run--you don’t get off that easy.

You said that you were still looking for a wife? Well Stevie Nicks isn't married! Do you think that yall are compatible?

Oh, that’s rich. Are we compatible? OUCH! I think blackcat may’ve been right. After reading some of my comments here, Stevie might even want to order a hit on me!!! Seriously, I would be so content to just renew our friendship. That in itself would be major motion. It’s been way too long a time, Stevie. All old wounds must heal. Its time to enjoy our memories, laugh at the past and create some new memories too! Peace.

With the relatively unknown FRITZ (except among us SN&LB fans)..and the equally unknown Javier Pacheco (no offense)...how do you plan to market your memoirs/reminiscings?...Will you use Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham's names to help promote your book?

We have questioned you many times about Stevie's wardrobe...and you have stated she never wore anything distasteful..did she appear to be a modest person?...and if so/or not=) What do you think of the Buckingham/Nicks album cover? She has stated that she didn't like it and was embarrassed? Do you consider that to be a truthful statement? I happen to think is a beautiful cover...what do you think?

Given the times you knew SN&LB (late 60's early 70's)...Sex, Drugs,and Rock-n-Roll...Was the behavior of men not as equally as promiscuous as women? Was monogamy not considered to be as much a virtue in the 60's as it is today?...Would it be safe to say...that many of the guys in the band were just as "loose" as you have semi implied Stevie to be? (LauraTN, Morristown, TN, USA)

I plan to write a book about being a Chicano struggling in the performing arts in American society at the second half of the Twentieth Century. I will begin from my parents’ humble beginnings in the rural life of Mexico, trace their migration to California, their settling in the Bay Area, and what it was like to grow up different in the land of Dick and Jane, Spot, Lassie, Leave it To Beaver, Father Knows Best, etc. Despite the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s I will document all those nasty lil cases of outright brutality and discrimination I experienced at the hands of seemingly “decent” and “well-intentioned” fellah Americans. The Fritz material will only be one chapter, one part of that whole entire book. I think I will include these Q&As as part of the appendix. I plan to devote another chapter to my experiences playing in an all-Cuban Songo ensemble. I will talk about my times doing performance poetry at national Chicano literary festivals. The book will feature musicological and poetic musings. It will be a commentary on American culture, as lived by this humble señor. So even as a “nobody” I will expect it to generate universal appeal, because it will have different things to offer readers. With all due respect, I don’t intend to pitch this book solely at S&L fans. I don’t expect to have to rely upon Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham's names to help promote the book.

I think Stevie was sincere. I have mentioned throughout these sessions that Stevie had modest, sensible tastes, she was not one for gaudy poses or risqué attraction-getting devices. Even when she wore outfits with a lot of cleavage, she did it in good taste, nothing outrageous. In her embarrassment over that picture, she may have also been thinking about how her parents were going to react. I agree with her on this one. I was a little taken back when I first saw the picture, because it seemed so out of character for Stevie. I know she would have preferred something more dignified. It just wasn’t her, at that time. My opinion of the picture? It could have been much nicer, without resorting to sexual overtones. But that’s Hollywierd for ya!

At 19, I was very much in love with a girl and wanted to marry her. It didn’t work out and I went back to the playing field. Yet I never dreamed I would get this old and still be single. I did consider monogamy a virtue and still do. Unlike some people I know, I could never handle more than one serious relationship at a time. Impossible. Brian Kane fell seriously in love and married a lady in 1969 or 70. Bob liked to play the field and I was between lady friends. I never implied Stevie had no morals, I merely stated what was going on. Even if you took away the dynamics of acquiring band status, you could say that each of us in our process of getting to know her (and Stevie, in her process of getting to know us) became intimate at different levels. With Lindsey, it was very serious and protracted. But please remember the questions thus far have been about S&L. No one had asked me to comment about the values of my other male cohorts. Yes, not “many,” but some of us could be just as “loose” as what you presume was implied.

Hello! It's fascinating having you here to chat with us. I was wondering since reading the previous questions above about the guys making fun of Stevie in a joking way if Stevie ever told anyone off or acted out in anyway...cause I know I sure would have!!! Thank you! (Jensen, Larksville, PA, USA)

Ah, that would be me, meister-rodent-hamster-trickster. If anybody rankled Stevie’s nerves it was me. She was very sensitive to most of the things I said. If I didn’t tread lightly over eggshells in my criticisms, they could be often wholly discarded. If I didn’t phrase my queries correctly, didn’t ask nice, or injected an ounce of sarcasm, BOOM!! Tinderbox exploding. Unfortunately, Stevie brought out the prankster in me. Sometimes I liked to tease her. But not to dispair--these things happened quite infrequently, not every single time we were together (otherwise we might have crashed a lot sooner). And she was no push-over. She demanded respect and ultimately, she got it. Remember, I’ve been talking about Stevie from the moment she first appeared at the door. She got her respect the old-fashioned way--SHE EARNED IT. The Stevie of 1967 was quite a different person from the one of 1971. The Stevie of 1999 must be a totally different person from the one of 1989. I don’t doubt that some Stevie Nicks fans here will hate my guts and remand me to perdition for even daring to speak so bluntly about her sacred holiness. I assure you that I have done my penance, have made my peace with the demons of the past. No more yokes.

Lindsey and Stevie have both said that their break-up was not really over until he left FM in '87. When you saw Lindsey in '78 and '80 did you inquire about Stevie (due to the fact that you all had shared a tight past)? If so, what was his attitude like toward her? (Liz Niziolek, Forestville, CT, USA)

Lindsey never liked talking much about Stevie even while they were both in FRITZ. This is hard for me to recall. I don’t remember us touching on that subject. I must have asked about her, but I think I just got short, choppy answers like, “She’s doing alright.” In fact he didn’t even say much about his working relationship with the members of FM. Around ‘80 to ‘82 he was living with a lady. I called a couple of times and she answered. That is all I can tell you.


Letter from David Forest, 1970
Click for a larger version.

Hi Javier!! Thanks for taking the time to answer the seemingly endless questions about S & L and Fritz. I was wondering how much of an influence did other psychedelic bands, such as Jefferson Airplane, have on the musical direction of Fritz? Also did either Stevie or Lindsey ever mention any poetry that they might have been into (especially Linds)? Finally, not being familiar with the songs of Fritz, were there any songs that featured a clear sounding duet of Stevie and Lindsey (something that attracted Keith Olsen to them in the first place? Thanks! :) A curious Maccer! (Molly Allen, Costa Mesa, CA, USA)

We were right in the midst of this music renaissance in the San Francisco Bay Area. On our spare time we went to concerts together in Golden Gate Park, or at the Masonic temple, or Fillmore. L&S liked the Airplane, the Holding Company, Country Joe and the Fish, but I don’t think they were Dead heads. I am sure Lindsey liked Dylan’s poetry. We all did. I think all of us really liked Stevie Winwood--we did several Traffic numbers. Linds enjoyed dramatizing his interpretation of Mr Fantasy and Who Knows What Tomorrow Will Bring. At the time, I was contributing large song forms. The San Francisco scene influenced my writing thusly: They were songs with elaborate introductions, bluesy chord structures, contrasting sections, even modulations into other keys, followed by solo sections, refrains, and a sequence of licks toward the finale. We had started FRITZ doing 2 minute copy tunes--now we were up to 8-, 10-, 14-minute musical forms. Well, toward the latter days we went back to stringing together shorter songs in medley form (ala Abbey Road), like we did at the end of the set, as I’d mentioned earlier (Tomorrow Come Today, Joy, Running). I don’t know what swayed Mr Olsen. He came to hear us at Aragon High School in 1970, so he heard the whole enchilada (S&L sang together on a number of songs--elsewhere I mentioned some tunes where they really shined). But David Forest would always admonish me that I needed to be writing “commercial songs” so I guess what we were doing at that time “didn’t count.” I must stress again that there was a big difference between bands that developed in the San Francisco environment and the demands made upon musicians in L. A. This is why I was so very hesitant about going there. We were a product of the San Francisco scene. Mr Olsen understood the Hollywood dynamic--he lived there. I’m not so sure he had a clear idea about what was happening musically in the Bay Area at that time.

You mentioned Lindsey's chalk drawings in his parents' garage...did Stevie do any artwork during this time? Her art is well known among her fans now, especially the "Rhiannon" painting. And now for a REALLY fluff question, did Lindsey and Stevie own cars during this period of their life, and if so what did they drive? (Maria, Roswell, NM, USA

“I just met a girl named Maria,...” No, apart from some possible doodling (which we all did on that garage door), I wasn’t aware of Stevie’s special proclivities in art. At this time, no.

I remember early on, Stevie drove a cute white ‘63 Chevy Corvair convertible. Lindsey inherited the family’s ‘66 light tan Skylark. I often rode in Lindsey’s car when we were going out of town somewhere, or carpooling to rehearsals in San Jose.

Hi! First of all, I would just like to take the time to thank you for the time you are taking out of your own personal schedule to answer our questions. It is a very considerate, sweet thing to do. Thank you very much! Ok, my question is, how did Stevie respond when you would talk "baby" talk to her? Did she have a pretty good sense of humour? (DeeDee, Michigan, USA)

I didn't say I talked that way to her. I said she talked that way. No, but at first we all played with that gibberish. It was a cute thing at first. And everyone had a sense of humor about it. I'm talking the first two years (1967-68).

Can you share a little bit of what Sally Durbin was like? Did she attend all the gigs or go on the road with the band? Thanks! (Martin, Van Nuys, CA, USA)

I may have had a class with Sally. Oh to me, she was very quiet and seemed shy. She was very slender and pretty. She seemed stand-offish, but once you got to know her she opened up. She seemed to be a very serious student--my first impressions. I think she good good grades. She had a lot of girl friends and was popular at Menlo-Atherton High School. Sally was a regular Ms America--Pom Pom Girl (4), Drill Team (2,3), Girls' Sports (3), Class Board (3), Pep Club (1), Spirit Board (4), CSF (?4), and Senior Ball Attendant. She was also voted "Best Legs" in the 1967 Yearbook. She didn't attend all the gigs. We only saw her now and then. At high school I had never talked to her. In Fritz we did manage to converse a few times. I thought she was a sweet person. But I really didn't know what was going on between her and Lindsey. When they broke up, we were the last to know, and we didn't really know for some time...

You mentioned you saw Lindsey in 1980, what were your impressions of him then, how had he changed and how had he stayed the same? (Annie, Los Angeles, CA, USA)

I believe I already answered that question. I cannot add anymore here to what's been said.

Do you have any absolutely hilarious stories to tell about S&L or the band?...Anything we might find humorous? Did Stevie happen to be present during the "Lindsey Swipe" incident? Did S&L or the rest of the band have any food peculiarities that you remember?...you know watermelon and pickles...ect..(thought I would throw in one of those fluff questions) I'm also dying to know if you were all CREST Kids? I was buying toothpaste today and was overwhelmed by the selection...whatever happened to plain CREST? Umm...I didn't mean to imply that you were a nobody Javier...just wanted to let you know that=) (LauraTN, Morristown, TN, USA)

No sweat Laura. You have asked me perhaps one of the most difficult questions of all. To remember all the times. We did have good times and things were usually on the light side, injected with a lot of humor. There were a lot of instances when we'd crack up over things. We were slated to play with the fabulous "Righteous Brothers" once in Lodi, or so we thought. We were all looking forward to meeting them. When we got there we looked all around. They were nowhere in sight. The promoter had put up a flaky sign with sprinkly letters that read, "Righteous Brothers Big Beat Band." There were no Righteous Bros, no band, no nothing. It was a big rip-off. We busted up laughing, it was such a blatant lie! We couldn't believe someone would stoop so low...

I was talking about the time I filmed our rehearsal with an 8mm camera (Stevie fans might not find this very funny but it was all in fun). Stevie had a mike in her hand and was pretending to sing and acting kinda goofy. Lindsey appears yelling in the next frame with a caption that reads, "Get the hook." Stevie continues to sing, lifting her arms around, acting even more funny. Suddenly a hook from nowhere makes its way from behind, goes around her neck and zazzzzz! Good-bye Stevie! Its funny when you see it! We used to always ply that expression whenever somebody would say something that was incredible or "off the hook." We would say, "Get the hook!" If at rehearsal I was introducing a new song and nobody particularly liked it, I would hear "Get the Hook." It was out! If in the midst of rehearsal somebody was showing the others a musical trick and they didn't quite pull it off, they would hear a collective "GET THE HOOK!" If we went to a concert and heard somebody screw up, or the band wasn't sounding just right, we'd go, "Ugh, get the hook!" It was a big inside joke. If my colleagues were here right now, I'm sure they'd have more humorous anecdotes to add.

Was Stevie present during the "Lindsey Swipe" incident? I think she was, but she was inside when it happened. I don't think she saw it. It happened right outside the garage entry door. It was just Lindsey and me.

During the years we practiced at Lindsey's garage the whole band was fixated on having double cheese burgers on French sour dough buns. Bob Aguirre was responsible for introducing this delight to FRITZ. I had resisted the longest, preferring sesame buns, but when it came time to try one, I too became hopelessly hooked. We looked forward to our lunch breaks cuz we'd all pile into a car and go over to Menlo Park (forget the name of the joint) for our juicy "boigas." Remember, we were at the age where we could eat like horses and burn it off quickly too!!

Crest kids? Probably, but no one ever took a poll to find out for sure. I guess we all trusted Crest. Myself, I would say yes. In our early pictures we sure did have Crest smiles!!

Hi and thanks so much for doing this. I admire your straight-forwardness. After you answered the prior question about Sally Durbin it got me thinking. Right off the bat, when you said she didn't attend that many gigs and you didn't see a whole lot of her, she didn't strike me as being a real serious girlfriend of Lindsey. (I realize I could be wrong here.) I was just kind of wondering, what was Lindsey's attitude toward Stevie before they became a couple? Was there ever any playful flirting going on? Did Lindsey act at all jealous of anyone that happened to be dating her at the time, or vice-versa? Or was it like, they were friends , then all of a sudden they were dating? I guess I'm just trying to get a read on when they actually started to be attracted to each other. And which one do you think initiated that relationship? I realize there could be a lot of speculation here, and I apologize for focusing all on them. I am interested in Fritz as a band, too! Really, I am! I felt real sad for the group as a whole when you described that last concert. I would love to hear Fritz material. (Lynn Owsiany, Linwood, PA, USA)

Lindsey and Sally had been going together for a long time. After June 1967 Sally went to study in Nice, France for awhile. That's why we didn't see a whole lot of her. In the early years we all were flirtatious to an extent. Except maybe Brian. He was older, more sober. There was playful flirting going on with Stevie all the time. After she and Lindsey got serious, that kind of thing died out. Yes, like everybody else, they were friends, then all of a sudden they were lovers. Next thing ya know, they're off to themselves all the time. That's when we knew. Its hard for me to remember exactly when they started. I would hazard to guess it was late 1969 or early 1970, somewhere around that time. My colleagues may have better memories of this. Perhaps there was a particular gig or date someone recalls when the truth came out. I remember I had written Bold Narcissus around late summer 1969, so I think about that time. I may be wrong. Sorry, I can't remember when exactly. You ask which one initiated that relationship? Again, hard to say, I wasn't there the moment heart strings started snappin' and angels started flappin'--I mentioned elsewhere that to me, it started slowly and discreetly. We were like a little family and Lindsey was acting very protective of her, he was being very close to her and next thing I knew, voila! They're a couple. Bob had been like that with her way before (protective and caring) and Lindsey had always seemed a little distant to her, even plutonic. But with the continued playfulness in the band, he slowly opened up to her, became more of a pal than before. I am not sure if he was free of Sally or if their relationships were crossed. I think that's all I want to say about that. You mean to tell me S&L have never divulged how they first became lovers? I find that a bit peculiar. I already mentioned Brian's post-Fritz theory that she was sleeping her way into the band. That makes Stevie the instigator. Not too many people liked that theory. Well, sorry! But the truth lies somewhere in between,...

Well...I find the hook thing amusing...and wouldn't mind seeing some of those old tapes...VH1 has a show called before they were Rock Stars....any thoughts about letting them use some footage for the show? (LauraTN, Morristown, TN, USA)

Believe me, Laura, I'm gonna set up the projector tonight and pour through all the family films. This has been going on too long, not being able to use it. I'll search for it tonight. Do you have a number for VH1? If you happen to see it would you send it to me? Thanks a lot.

I was just reading your letters you have posted...very interesting set list...I love several selections...(i.e. Tracks Of My Tears..Different Drum....ect.)..Who took the lead on most of the cover tunes? Also...it appears from the letters that you got about 200+ per show...was that before or after MGR. cuts ...and was it split equally? Are those the usual "gig" letters...or were those more important? Were some shows more exciting than others..or were they all about the same? (LauraTN, Morristown, TN, USA)

Stevie took the lead on most of the copy stuff. If it was primarily a male song (i.e., The Letter, by the Boxtops) then Lindsey would sing it. We searched for songs that would suit Stevie's range. She also suggested titles. And you'll notice that Lindsey was playing almost half the material on guitar just a few months after Brian came on board. Money was split equally and whatever Forest posted was after his 10 or 15%. We usually got letters every week. Their consistent delivery served as a great unifying factor--it gave the band continuity to know every week we were getting instructions or (at the very least) something new to look forward to. The money was split equally in the band. Remember also that our salaries would improve over time. In 1970-71 we were getting paid a lot better than in 1968.

I submitted the first letter to give readers an idea of the types of jobs and also demands that came with the dates. For instance, here we are asked to dress FORMAL. There were a number of dances in which we had to wear some kind of outfit (our Town Squire duds) or just plain "dress up." Other gigs were less formal, very casual dress. The other letter I wanted to share with you because in it Forest mentions Bill Graham's impression of our show at Fillmore. This would be the only time Forest would make references to Graham. He really left out here the fact that Graham allegedly pitched to Forest the idea of managing us. Forest supposedly told him we were covered, in L.A. It wasn't true.

Sorry Laura, I wish I had a photographic memory about every place I've ever played at. Most shows at the high schools were routine kiddie dances, nothing special. Remember, we had roadies and often showed up minutes before we were to start. Gigs were about every week, and one after another--after awhile everything seemed a big blur. But there definitely were big gigs and little gigs. as far as the big gigs: One time we had two Senior Balls at two separate hotels in San Francisco. Forest rented a limo so we could shuttle from one place to the other. I think we started at the Fairmont and then went over to the St Francis. Anyway, getting out of the car, all dressed up in our crazy clothes and long hair. People stared and wondered what the fuss was all about. We felt about ten feet tall!!

Hey Javier! Here's my question: what did Stevie's parents think of Lindsey? What did Lindsey's parents think of Stevie? Were they glad that S&L were together? Thank you! You're so helpful!! (Beth, Cartersville, GA, USA)

I’m sorry, Beth, I never asked the parents what they thought of S&L, respectively. I already mentioned that we in the band had very little communication with Stevie’s parents. Lindsey’s parents were always very kind to all of us. They accepted Stevie without reservation, including after she and Lindsey became more open about their relationship. That’s all I can say.

Did your families and friends come to see you play at your concerts? These days kids can't go anywhere without their parents following them around with a camcorder. Were you left pretty much to do as you please or did you have curfews to meet? Sounds like your parents were fairly liberal to allow you to go on overnight trips. (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA, USA)

Curfews? CURFEWS? Well, c'mon, we had graduated from high school, we were big kids now, almost grown up! So we were considered capable of handling responsibilities, including going away for a couple of days. (Heck, I started going out on dates at age 14!) The folks left us alone. Sure, sometimes it was wise to "check in," and let 'em know we were alright. None of our parents came to see our shows, as far as I can recall. I was very proud of Fritz and wanted my big family to hear them, I figured they weren't going to pay to come see us. So I arranged for us to play at a Pacheco family New Years Eve dance/party, December 31, 1967. My folks and everyone else were impressed, and by golly, even Dad got out his silent 8mm camera (I'm afraid there were no camcorders in those days). Unfortunately, he only shot a very tiny bit of footage of us playing on the stage!! I WAS SO MAD!!! But yes, the band was a smash with the folks (that's when they started realizing that I was on to something!), even though we played loud rock. Everyone was dancing, even the old timers!

Now as far as friends coming, that's another story. We had a supportive group of friends that came along on lots of gigs. Stevie's girlfriends, Bob's buddies, sometimes one or two of my young cousins. I would say this increased during the times (after 1968) we were doing concerts--not so much for the teen dance gigs. We would play better if our friends were in the audience.

Another performance question...I've read/heard comments about some California bands that they had a tendency to turn their backs to the audience. FM does this, but I think they are just playing off each other. Stevie will play her tambourine in front of Mick, and Lindsey and John will have a playful 'face off'. Did Fritz do the same sort of thing? Did you evolve from 'straight' playing to a more free form type of performance? (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA, USA)

That’s an excellent question. I’ll give you the good news, then the bad news. Yes, we did have a tendency to play off each other--eye contact was very important. It was also important to share our musical experiences with one another. For example, Brian just finishes a hard rock lead solo and does a couple of riffs we’ve never heard before--he’s very inspired tonight. Lindsey or Bob might make a reinforcing “Ahhh” sound or we might all gaze in wonderment at him! In the process of performance one is apt to arrive at the edges of one’s abilities and at times surpass them. This happens all the time. The others smile at you because they know from experience that you’ve just done something novel. Their smiles can often be worth much more than any applause because you know they’re aware of what you did that was new. The audience can’t know this--they respond to the whole evening’s performance--band members react to subtle nuances, shades of difference, individual novelties. It becomes an “insider thing.” Its what makes a band tick, it marks their cohesiveness, this growing up together, experiencing change and development in the collective together.

As we slowly started replacing the Top Forty tunes with original material, we also started exploring all the creative avenues of expression that followed from applying our own “stamp” to things. Absolutely, we would “evolve from 'straight' playing to a more free-form type of performance.” Playing off each other was the fun part of playing together and it contributed to our overall “show.” It was the dynamic of Fritz and the entertainment we ourselves derived as musicians from our own executions: Brian taking a solo while Lindsey hovers around him with suspenseful looks; Stevie and Lindsey facing each other tenderly while singing “Funny Kind of Love;” everyone egging on Bob at the start of a long wind-up drum solo; Lindsey turning to smile at me after I’ve done a flashy keyboard solo. This, to me, is what makes the difference between a “ho-hum” performance and one in which people are riveted, watching every move. I grew up being intrigued by musicians who could interact expressively on stage and I’d be bored to death by unmoving, stoic players. Brian Kane, was normally a reserved and rather private individual but he could become another entity on stage. I, always considered myself introverted (hard for some to believe this) but I’d don an extroverted personality behind the keyboards. This is precisely what made playing in Fritz so much fun--our basic creative interaction with one another.

On the other hand (the bad news), there were some times when things were not right. We had just come out of a fight, or somebody was pissed. I remember seeing Lindsey turn his back to the audience, uninvolved with the rest of us, no eye contact--playing neutrally, that is, doing just enough to get by. He could be exceedingly cold and distant. I would do this too, especially toward the end (1971), when it seemed we were through. In some of our last gigs there were no sparks, no eye contact, or very little of it. There was no more playfulness or laughter--only the job ahead of us. The pure combustion and momentum of our hard rock material would carry us through the night while we’d switched on “automatic pilot.” We did some performances that were purely “adequate,” nothing more. Yes, we did have nights were there were no sparks--that’s part of the developmental process. It takes great maturity and fortitude to overcome those times, to get back on track. Its hard to be harmonious and showy if there is discord. This is compounded tenfold when one is the “front man” or lead singer. I mentioned earlier that the lead singer always gets a lot of audience attention. Its sad to see an indifferent lead singer on stage. Totally sad to see a band when there are no more sparks flying. You can’t hide those kinds of things. In the last few gigs we did, things were so estranged. There was no communication. It wasn’t even necessary to talk to one another about upcoming dates.

Everything was posted in Forest’s letters, which were mailed to everyone. What communication there was (apart from S&L) was mostly between Bob and Stevie, or Brian and I. So we’d show up for gigs, I would barely get a nod from Lindsey, not even a “hello” from Stevie. We’d go through our set in the order we’d established for concerts. In the whole hour there might be one tepid smile exchanged, or one moment that our eyes met. End of gig, Brian and Lindsey packed up guitars and vamoose! Stage is emptied. Everyone slips off into the darkness. Not even a “Nice seein’ ya!”

At shows, Lindsey usually did the most of the moving, going from one side of the stage to the other. Brian moved around (mostly back and forth from one position) while taking solos. Bob on drums was a very lively one to watch (reminding me somewhat of the drummer for The Who). Stevie also moved and danced around while playing cowbell or shaking the tambourine. I was probably the least interesting to watch. Often playing two keyboards at once, the best that I could do was sway my head around and smile.

I believe you mentioned that you had seen the Dance video...did Lindsey or Stevie ever get emotional towards each other or any of the other bandmates while you were onstage? If you've seen Stevie sing at Lindsey during the song Silver Springs...well, there is an electricity in the air during the whole video, but that song in particular gives me goose bumps. Do you remember any performances like that or were the lead singers singing only to the audience? (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA, USA)

No, our lead singers did not look only at the audiences, a lot of our performances also involved substantial eye contact. I have already given examples of interaction during performances. You could say that sometimes this was a theatrical device, other times it was genuine communication, or both at the same time.

I don’t think that the early or latter S&L interactions (in Fritz) were nearly as intense emotionally as what came later in FM performances. I can say that with a measure of confidence because obviously, S&L experienced very intense times after their break from Fritz. Also, look at the types of songs they were singing to each other in FM. Fritz didn’t strike those kinds of themes. My song themes were mostly social. Mick mentioned in his book that their relationship was rocky even when they joined FM. So the FM songs about their relationships were much, much more personal to S&L.

After Fritz broke up, did you ever run into people who had seen you perform? Did anyone outside of Fritz ever express to you their sorrow at loosing such a promising band? Did you have groupies who followed you around wherever you played or who asked for autographs? (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA, USA)

Well yes, I think in the years just following FM’s great success with Rumours I ran into some people who remembered Fritz and expressed to me how great they thought that band was. It was truly gratifying to hear. Remember, there were also some who remembered Fritz but never recalled seeing me in particular, in the band. I would have to answer “twenty questions” to make sure I wasn’t lying about my involvement. No, after Fritz broke up, that was the end of groupies following me around.

To be honest there were only two instances that I was actually accosted by groupies. One was at Fillmore (I think she was looking for anything she could get); another time (in the early 1990s) I worked part-time in the Summer for National Car Rental. We had talked about personal interests and I confided to him that I was a musician. He then started hounding me to tell him what “famous names” I had associated with. I had casually remarked to my inquisitive manager that I used to know S&L. Right after I told him, he went walking around the shop, blabbing to all the other managers, mechanics, and drivers that I had rubbed elbows with the “big time.” The ones who actually believed this incredible story did start treating me with a measure of respect. One of the drivers was a young lady FM fan who begged me to please let her see the photographs. I obliged her--she ogled and goggled over the shots of a young S&L. And that was that. Nothing more.

But please believe me folks, I have not spent my last 30 years basking in the glory of S&L’s fortunes, nor have I been cavalier about divulging my past to everyone I’ve met. Quite the contrary. My last 30 years have been spent in totally different orbs, musically, culturally, and intellectually. But last year, while dubbing that FM Dance performance on KQED I was astounded to hear the announcer discussing “that great band, Fritz.” It was Pledge Night, and I paused the video recorder during the pledge break. Suddenly the announcer starts talking about S&L, saying that they had been members in a great Bay Area band--FRITZ--and my jaw dropped! By the time I rushed up to turn off the pause button, everything was said and done!

I had managed to avoid that whole past altogether up until this very year, here. I just ran into The Penguin website by accident last month and decided it was time to correct some of the mistakes I had read about Fritz. And again, I thank you all for your continued interest.

Did the Fritz gang hang out after concerts? I've heard of post-performance high & of being too hyped to go to sleep after a show...was that the case for Fritz? It must have been difficult for the band members who also went to school, but did the others get to sleep late & just hang out until the next rehearsal? (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA, USA)

Well, there was some hanging out, if you will. Remember, we often drove up to gigs together. When we didn’t have roadies, it was a different story. Depends who you talk to. If it was an early gig (and very few of them were early gigs), we might go get a double-cheese on French bun at our favorite burger stand. It is true that adrenaline would still be pumping even after the gig. This is why musicians are such night people. We may be done playing at one’clock, but the memory of that evening is strong, the sounds are still reverberating inside, you’re a little high from the applause, and decide to listen to some music, or space out on the boob tube, or write, or work on developing a song, etc. I know I stayed up many nights into the wee hours because (after the gig) I went back to finishing a tune for rehearsal on Monday. Sometimes we would go to somebody’s house (Brian’s) to have a beer and listen to music for awhile. This would occur during the week as well. We didn’t do this en masse very often. It was normally two or three of us, not the whole band. The frequency of this kind of thing was more in the first two years. I purposely chose afternoon classes at college so that I could get in plenty of sleep. The other members had day jobs and other responsibilities. I couldn’t tell you who slept in late the most. It would be a toss-up between all of us.

Did you ever open for a band that you particularly disliked? Was it the 'norm' for members of Fritz to stay and watch the bands that performed after you? Did the band arrive together (like in a van with the equipment) or did each person arrange for their own transportation? (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA, USA)

I have to divide my comments by using BR and AR. In the very early BR days (before roadies) we drove each with our cars full of equipment to the gigs. Bob bought a van and thereafter we used that truck. By late ‘68 I would say we entered into our AR (after roadies) phase. Then we could carpool to a gig. Bob van (which was used in our BR days) now became a shuttle bus. Sometimes we would all pack inside, in the AR era. Close to the end of Fritz, it was S&L in one car and probably the rest of us in another, or four separate cars.

There were moments of playing with local bands that were not very cool, but I have largely forgotten all that. Speaking of the "norm," I do remember we opened for Norman Greenbaum and the Moody Blues. (This appears in David Forest’s March 31, 1970 CMA letter, which you can all view right here at FRITZ Q&A, on top of page 5.) The place was packed--over a thousand people in the audience. Greenbaum had a fluzzy of a tune called “Spirit In the Sky,” which to my mind, made it largely on the strength of that fuzz-wah guitar intro in the beginning. He came on after us and sounded like a dismal sh*t. I mean garage-quality sh*t. His was a garage band, he didn’t deserve to be on that stage, but he had the hit record and we didn’t. That’s why we were on first! Just the same, it strengthened our resolve to know we could blow circles around him. He couldn't sing! Suffice to say that “Spirit In the Sky,” was the closing number and best piece anyone ever heard from good ole Norman who disappeared from the music scene as swiftly as he had surfaced. That night, people were immensely happy when Hippy Norm got off the stage. We also played alongside Chuck Berry. I always thought his audience-participation song was in poor taste. He would have the girls and guys alternate singing, “My ding-a-ling, my ding-a-ling, I want to play with my ding-a-ling.” It was hardly edifying. After two minutes of this you were sick of the thing. Maybe that was Chucky's contribution to Free Love, I dunno. Also, he always chose to play in front of whatever band had opened before him. That way he could rake in all that big money and the musicians would get peanuts. (I think we were his victims once). I didn’t much care for Berry’s live show, even though I was always a great fan of his music. And then, considering how badly African-American musicians have been exploited and robbed by American record companies, I can't blame Berry for his strategy, except that he often left himself at the mercy of those local bands--some were not very professional and could barely stay on top of a simple blues progression!

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