Javier Pacheco (Fritz), July 5 - 24, 1999
Ok, you've mentioned Stevie's singing during the "Fritz" era, that she had songs that she couldn't sing, so you tried to get her so do the more country sounding songs, more within her range. Stevie did an interview in 1981 about her "Bella Donna" album and in that she said that she didn't think her singing was so great on the "Buckingham Nicks" album, it wasn't very strong. She said that she felt she could do that entire album better now (1981). I would imagine that her Fritz days had her sounding very different than what we've become used to. Now for my totally off the wall question, as a long time Stevie fan I've noticed that her front tooth is chipped. Do you have any clue how or when this happend? (I told you it was off the wall!!!!) (Allen Chapman, Stafford Springs, CT, USA)
Yes, because there was a lot more bluesy and gritty kind of material than what she went onto do with FM. Also, when she did do the Buckingham/Nicks LP, her chops were probably not that strong because she had stopped singing every weekend. Today, I would think she could handle that Fritz or B/N material much better now since her chops are stronger.
Dear Mr.Pacheco, Please give your opinion on the following quote from Lindsey taken from an interview in BAM magazine dated 1/30/81, on page 31.
Q: Are you finding that people have theories on what is "correct" that don't jive with your own?
Lindsey: I don't talk to people about what is "correct". I think if you're taught music in a college or someting, there is definitely a therory of what is correct that you can learn from. But I've also known a lot of people who lost a lot by studying it too much. When Stevie and I were in this band FRITZ years ago, the organist used to write most of the music. When he was a sophomore in high school he was writing great tunes. Since the band broke up, he went to college and got a music degree. I was with him recently and his writing is worse now than it was then! For all his knowledge, his writing is very stiff. His training doesn't allow for any creativity. Ideally, music education should teach you about possiblities, rather than formulas.
Oh boy, oh boy, this is juicy!!! Thank you Martin for doing some homework and asking a very clever question. And gee, special thanks to Lindsey, for sharing all this with me so vicariously! One thing he does not understand, is that music schools don’t teach you to be creative! I mentioned elsewhere that its quite the opposite--the university kills creativity. This has been established by a number of authors, and I experienced it. Schools don’t teach you to become better composers. You only learn tricks--how you apply them is your business. Moreover, if you play Bach well, that’s what you can play. Hanon only teaches you to play Hanon. The fingers are guided by familiarity! They say music is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. Possibilities flow from that inspiration and perspiration, but the schools can’t teach one to have feelings or express them in music. They only serve to broaden the palette of choices, of musical alternatives.
In Lindsey's sophomore yearbook picture he's wearing glasses, did Lindsey wear prescription glasses? (Susan, Bloomington, CA, USA)
Yes he did. He never performed with glasses on. Sometime later on I guess he got a pair contacts.
In the recent Behind the Music special with Stevie as the credits roll there is a photo of Stevie what looks like her Fritz days and she's sitting next to Sally Durbin (It looks like her to me) and I was wondering if Stevie and Sally were friends or if they got along or what? Was there a big fight when Sally found out that Stevie was the other woman?????? (Tina, Fontana, CA, USA)
I have no way of confirming or denying anything since I know not of what picture you speak. Sally and Stevie friends? No, they weren’t buddy-buddies, but I guess they got along, I never saw anything to the contrary. There was no fight, and I was not privy to any sudden revelations between Sally and Stevie.
Did the members of Fritz spend any holidays together? Did you exchange Christmas gifts or share New Year's resolutions? Stevie has said many times that she loved dressing up as a witch for Halloween...did you ever see that for yourself? (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA, USA)
I believe Christmas was regarded as a special time for being with our families. Everyone went home, practice was suspended for a couple of weeks. People needed time to purchase their families’ Christmas presents, etc. Remember, we spent a good part of every year rehearsing and performing together. Christmas was considered personal family time. If we happened to play during New Year’s Eve then it was possible we might have shared some New Year's resolutions. Probably remember Brian saying he was going to give up smoking. Hard to remember, Tracy. As far as Halloween goes, I never saw it. I don’t recall any of us--however, it is possible in the first year that we might have shown up for a gig somewhere in Halloween garb. I say its possible because we were quite playful and innocent in those days. Again, exact memories of that are not forthcoming. I don’t remember her as a witch. She must have been talking of younger years, not the Fritz years.
You have mentioned several times that the band had to work around Stevie's vocal limitations. What was wrong with her voice? She sure did belt out Rhiannon in '75! I've heard her say in interviews that she wasn't confident in her voice on the Buckingham/Nicks album...do you think that is what was holding her back or was it just that rock was so new to her? (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA, USA)
Yes, absolutely, rock was very new to her. FRITZ WAS STEVIE’S FIRST ROCK BAND. She had never had to do sustained singing in an amplified ensemble. And of course, if you feel you’re are not cutting above the sound, this will result in lowered confidence. Stevie arrived in Fritz with a lot of enthusiasm and spirit, anxious to work in a musical organization. But then she experienced the kind of pressures that a lead singer in a rock band must face. Even Lindsey had some adjusting to do. FRITZ WAS LINDSEY’S FIRST ROCK BAND For instance, at first he always used too much vibrato in his voice. Everything had too much vibrato (you can hear this in the early recordings of 1968). This was because in amplified music, its not enough to have a pleasant voice that’s on key. You also have to be able to project well above the constant din of amplification. That’s called “having chops,” or “pipes.” He would use his internal vibrato to help him get stronger--but he had to learn to cull his strength without turning on the vibrato, which he eventually did. Similarly, Stevie had to acquire more strength in her voice which she would only be able to do with time, that is, with continual practice.
Loved the new picture!! You got anymore?!? (LauraTN, Morristown, TN, USA)
Well yes, there’s more, but I am still debating whether to release them. I don’t want to see them wind up as trading cards or on a Wheaties box. The yellow picture was taken before a concert at the Santa Clara Fairgrounds. I don’t remember who we opened for. The yellow pic was our first official publicity picture. I am estimating that it was taken around the end of 1967. Forest had not started his own agency yet (NBC in San Jose), he was still working out of his Mountain View apartment. We were all dressing very conservatively there. We hadn’t even started toking yet, we were all pretty straight then. I remember in those days Bob was denied entry into one of our shows because the security guy at the door happened to be an ex-Marine who forbade him entrance with that US military-issue uniform (seen in the yellow picture). Bob ran to his car and left it there. When he returned and told us about it, I thought it was all so pathetic! What happened to the “land of the free?” It was a flagrant case of harassment. By what right? (I was so hard-headed in those days--I would’ve fought with the guy--and probably lost!)
Was Stevie a good driver, or was she kind of spacey and didn't pay attention to what she was doing? How about Lindsey? I bet he was a speed demon!! (Cheryl Hollis, Montgomery, AL, USA)
Stevie wore some 50s-style pointed pastel glasses to drive, and she was a careful driver. This is mostly observation. Anyway, she didn’t like to make long trips. We usally rode in Lindsey’s car--he was more the speed demon. He tended to speed up, slow down, speed up, slow down,--always this thing with the accelerator and brake pedals!! It could drive you nuts, but since I rode for free, I kept hush about it. None of them ever experienced trouble with the law over their driving. This is remarkable with Lindsey, because there were times when he was hauling arse. I guess neither Linds nor Stevie fit the proverbial “profile” that cops always look out for. On the other hand, I could get pulled over if I went 3 mph over the limit.
Mr. Pacheco, I was looking at your set list for Fritz, and I was wondering what the signatures on the bottom were, and what they mean. I think one of them says Mr.Fantasy, but the others I cant make out. Thanks !!! (Jamie, Vacaville, CA, USA)
The handwriting at the bottom refers to potential new songs and reads:
Hola. Sr. Pacheco, I'm a leo so how would I fair with Mr. Buckingham???? No, just kidding ;) My real question is, you see, I'm moving to Palo Alto to go to college in the next couple of months and I was wondering if you still hang around that area b/c it's really beautiful. Anyway (this may be a stupid question...I really just wanted to say 'hi'), do you ever miss the old days and just wish that Fritz would have made and been as big as Fleetwood Mac (no offense)? Do you think you could have handled it? Gracias :) (Susana Robles, Omaha, NE, USA)
I live in Menlo Park, ten minutes south of Palo Alto (next door). After Fritz had long died and S&L were cruising the top of rock popularity, it was a little annoying to face some of my young relatives who were always puzzled at why I hadn’t gone to the “bigger and better.” They wanted to know why I hadn’t made it. They knew I had been the intellectual author of much of the FRITZ material, so they couldn’t understand why I was still poor and struggling away with local bands. I had made a conscious choice to go into other musics and put away any rock star pretensions. But this was increasingly hard to explain to people. Then I chose to continue college studies. As long as I was studying music, it was o.k., I didn’t feel like it was time wasted.
Really, how are leos and libras together? (Susana Robles, Omaha, NE, USA)
What I know about Astrology is this. It tells you about certain traits and characteristics that you were born with. But there are too many variables to consider--heredity, environment, for instance. I have known so-called incompatible couples who stayed together forever. You never know. You have to dig deep into a person’s interior to discover their true self. If you have things in common, if you share interests and like each other’s company, these are the more important determinants of compatibility, not just astrological sun signs.
Did Lindsey's parents for Stevie as someone who could have been their future daughter-in-law? You all seem to have cared for Lindsey's parents...especially Stevie (from what I have read in interviews)...did any of you attend Mr. Buckinham's funeral? (LauraTN, Morristown, TN, USA)
I think your first question is asking if Lindsey’s parents cared for Stevie as a possible daughter-in-law? I wouldn’t know that. I can say they were always friendly--never seemed disturbed about anything. They seemed to readily accept Stevie as Lindsey’s steady.
Hi, I would like to know when Lindsey was in Fritz after a gig was he a party person or did he just usually retreat to his room? (Annie, Los Angeles, CA, USA)
That depends a whole lot on how late we got off, whether or not we had performed close to home, if there was a decision to go somewhere, what year, etc, etc, etc. The first year or so, we were all good little boys and girls. As we started losing our innocence, we would stay out later. The norm was usually to go home. Late night partying was only once in a while.
Javier, Do you think that Stevie and Lindsey will get back together one day? Also did you think that Stevie and lindsey were a cute couple when they got together? Did Stevie and lindsey go around holding hands when they were together? Did Stevie and lindsey tease one another when they were together? Bye. (Cheryl Hollis, Montgomery, AL, USA)
This is a speculative question for which I have no answer. Not having talked to either of them I don't think I could add anything of value on this. Were they a cute couple? Sure. Did they hold hands? Oh, maybe sometimes. In general, they kept that part of their lives to themselves--they weren't hunky-dory about it, not in front of us. They were more discreet. The teasing was around even before they became lovers--we were all playful at one time.
Did Fritz ever have to cancel a gig? FM had to cancel a few when Stevie lost her voice and once when Lindsey had to have a spinal tap. Did any physical maladies hit the members of Fritz? (Stockbridge, GA, USA)
Good question. I'm sorry, Tracy, its hard to remember. I am sure there might have been an emergency where that happened. I can't think of anything as serious as S&L's maladies in FM. I remember I had a dead tooth (after having the nerve removed), and chose not to cancel. It was o.k., as long as I didn't open my mouth. But there were back-up, chorus parts. Once I did sing, it would start bleeding.
I'm curious about whether all the members of Fritz worked well consistently with each other, or whether you would all go to your "corners" after rehearsals and shows? From your earlier answers, it was obvious that there was friction after time, was this always the case? Even in more subliminal ways? Also, a more shallow question...was there a certain moment when you and the other members first realized that Lindsey and Stevie were involved romantically? Thanks. (Erick, Tulsa, OK, USA)
I will try to deal with your first three questions. The last question I have already answered earlier. No, again I reiterate, that in the first year, or maybe first 20 or so months, we were cool. We were a working band with jobs in front of us, constantly preoccupied by a number of matters. For instance, I was always thinking about the next song I was going to write. Brian was working on solos and always finding places to stick a break or a transition lick somewhere. Lindsey would work off on his own on bass lines or play the guitar (he didn’t stop playing guitar even after taking on the bass). We’d work at our respective homes and then bring new ideas to the rehearsals. Don’t forget, in between this some of us are also working (Bob), going to college (Stevie and I), etc. Also, as musicians we have all acquired different tastes--but I’ve already touched on this subject elsewhere. Let’s talk a little about the food chain. You know, there is a pecking order in every band, based upon such things as tenure or stature, abilities, and what one brings to the table (rehearsals). The dynamic this caused within Fritz was always in flux. That is, individual perceptions and positions changed over time. Although not yet a writer in the group, Lindsey was acquired leadership because he made his home readily available for all our rehearsals, he often used his car to drive us around, and because (as a versatile musician) he was an active contributor to the developing sound. He contributed overall with his participation during the working out (arrangement) of tunes. Brian also became important to the band because of his agility to fit guitar solos where they were needed. He was also very helpful in coming up with breaks, plotting clever parallel bass and guitar lines, etc. He even contributed three tunes to the group. Stevie wasn’t as active, in terms of contributions. She wasn’t writing a whole lot, other than the couple of country songs I have already mentioned. Therefore, musically, in the pecking order of things, she was perhaps in one of the weakest positions in the band. Bob wasn’t a writer, he contributed ideas only once in awhile, but he had started out with the band. After we eventually got over our initial reservations about her abilty to endure the pressures of rock ‘n roll band life, we did do more things together and operated increasingly like a little family. I repeat, we were playful with one another, we were comfortable with the set up, and confident about the future. There were issues from time to time (as in most families) but we got along, for the most part. After S&L became a romantic item, things started to change in very subtle ways. Gradually, Lindsey started to change, they both seemed a little defensive about their new relationship, and here is where the breakdown in communication begins. This is a slow process that unravels over weeks and months. Gradually S&L become comfortable with each and before you know it, they are going the same way on a lot of decisions. Next thing you know we are split over certain matters. They begin to be more reclusive. Bob begins to side with them, then Brian, mostly for the sake of expediency and unity. Next thing I know, I am the sole opposition on some matters. There were areas of discussion were neither of S&L wanted to go, in terms of the candid conversations about the Fritz family. The wedge is complete. We are pressured to accept the opportunity to go to L.A. and establish ourselves through the management team of Shiffman and Larson. Not only that, but we are told that that is the best we can ever hope for. I didn’t think it was the best we could ever hope for, so immediately, I became the cog in the wheel, I am the spoiler. Bob is content to follow the majority, Brian is somewhat confused and unsure about it all. He becomes almost withdrawn.
I was wondering if the story in Mick's book about how Lindsey and Stevie met is true? The one about them meeting at a party? church meeting? whatever..she sings with him - California Dreaming? By the way I love the pics!! BTW, my first name is supposed to be Spanish - it's spelled wrong actually somebody told me once that someone had probably tried to Anglicize it by adding an "n". I think it's correctly spelled Viana..have you ever heard of the name? Thanks so much. (Vianna Barksdale, Alexandria, VA, USA)
Mick’s book is rife with incorrect or third-hand information. Lindsey was already in the band as a guitarist--this, before I even joined and way before we came up with the name “Fritz Rabyne Memorial Band.” I tried to correct some of Mick’s stuff earlier. Whether or not S&L’s paths crossed at that so-called school or church party two years earlier is a mystery to me. I had never heard that version from either Linds or Stevie. As far as I know, they met in earnest when she came into the Fritz Rabyne band in 1967.
How did Stevie and Robin meet? I may be misinformed but I heard that Robin was a speech therapist and that Stevie took Speech and/or Communication of some sort in College. Is this how they met? Did Stevie ever have a speech impediment? (Aislinn, Milton Keynes, UK)
I am sorry. I don't have any information about how they met. Its possible that it could have been at SJSU. Robin was from Los Altos.
Hi - I hope this question hasn't already been asked. I was wondering if Lindsey or any other members of FRITZ ever called Stevie by her real name - Stephanie. Also, did any of the rest of you guys have nicknames that you frequently went by? Thanks for taking time to answer all of our questions! I have really enjoyed learning more about you and the members of FRITZ. (Spirit, Birmingham, AL, USA)
Thanks for your interest. Nobody ever called Stevie "Stephanie." My nicknames ran all the way from Hav, to Havy, and Harvey-air. Linds sometimes called Bob "Bobo." Brian's nickname was "Bri." Lindsey's was "Linds."
Like other people, I would like to thank you so much for doing this great Q & A session with us! I was wondering: I have seen you addressed as Dr. Pacheco. What type of doctorate do you have? And when did you receive your PhD? Thank you again! (Josh Williams, East Liverpool, OH, USA)
Gee, Josh, its been mentioned here already. I received a PhD in ethnomusicology at UCLA in 1994. My dissertation was about the new song movement in Mexico City.
Wwew Lindsey and Stevie popular in school??? I have heard Stevie was, but I was never sure about Lindsey. (Anonymous)
Stevie was slightly more active yes, but remember she was new to M-A. Lindsey was not a big extrovert. I think swimming was all he was involved in. I only knew of him when I joined the band.
In many of your responses you refer to Lindsey as "Linds". I was wondering if you guys had other nicknames for each other ? (Kris, Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Look on this same page. I have answered that question here already.>>
Did the Buckingham's travel w/ Greg to the Olympic games or did they stay home glued to the TV ? (Kris, Los Angeles, CA, USA)
I tend to believe they stayed home and watched. But these games occurred before I met Lindsey, so he would be a better person to ask.
You mentioned in one of your answers you never dreamed you would be this old and still be single, Does it surprise you that Lindsey has never married or does it fit his nature as you knew him? (Susan, Bloomington, CA, USA)
Yeah, it does kinda surprise me. Isn't he married now? I never imagined he'd resist the altar that much!
Hello, Javier, I was just wondering if you have seen Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks Behind the Music and some of their other specials of VH1? What was your opinion of them? Did they get anything wrong? Do you think Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks are exceptionally creative? What's your favorite Fleetwood Mac song that you have heard? Also, who were you closest to in Fritz; who was your biggest buddy? Who do you identify with most in Fleetwood Mac out of the 5 from what you know? Also what kind of music do you listen to now? THANK YOU SO MUCH! (Cheryl Hollis, Montgomery, AL, USA)
No I haven’t seen the specials. Did they talk about the Fritz past? I’ll tell you. I have seen in the Penguin Ledges references to things Stevie said somewhere else about “being so upset that the record companies wanted to separate her and Lindsey from the band,” etc., etc. That’s pure bunk. If she comes out with a biography and sticks to those hard molasses, I guarantee you she’ll have a hard time refuting the rest of us that she claimed to so woefully have left behind. I won’t allow the truth to be squashed as its been for thirty years. Please get it straight, Stevie! Let the chips fall where they may.
Seems to me the last year of FRITZ was a REAL BAD TIME [obscenity removed by MEA]!! Was there a specific time when the tides started to turn? Did the rest of the band ever just go to S&L and say..lets talk about our problems? (Laura TN, Morristown, TN, USA)
Are there any parallels between the Fritz breakup and some of the FM problems? I’ll let you the readers decide on that one. Things were not nearly as crazy--we didn’t do tootsies.
Mr. Pacheco, Lindsey has often been described as having a very "intense" personality, was this also true back in the days of Fritz? (Annie, Los Angeles, CA, USA)
When I first met him, I just thought he was a regular guy, a nice person. Because of age and experience, I don’t think he was quite as intense in Fritz as he would become a few years later with FM. In FM he would have greater stakes in the game. But I did witness his growing musical development, and his involvement in Fritz was total. He gave his all 99% of the time. His playing grew to be very intense. His participation was intense. He was very principled about doing good work. On the positive side, Lindsey could be caring, graceful, gentle, co-operative, amenable, diplomatic, and calm. On the negative side, he could be non-committal, indulgent, insincere, vain, insipid, indecisive, and uncomfortably delicate.
Perhaps winning the award for the ultimate fluff questions: How tall is Lindsey Buckingham? Did Stevie make the transformation from brown to blonde when you knew her in Fritz? Did Stevie's tambourine/cow bell playing contribute at all to the musical mixin Fritz? (I ask the latter question b/c critics have accused Stevie of playing the tambourine like it was for her life on stage though you could not hear it "even if you were inside her dress," as one put it.) (Kelley Cash, Texas, USA)
Ah, yes. Are you sniffing Bounce? Or Downy? I have no idea how tall Lindsey is! Try 5’10”? I dunno! Don’t his bios say anything ‘bout that? Stevie was kinda a dirty blond when I met her. I thought that was her true hair color. You mean its not?
Why did the band decide to go to LA? Was a record deal essentially promised, or did you go to try to gain interest in the band? Did all of the members of Fritz have to go through an 'audition' like the one you described? Did all of you go to LA together? Do you think the record company (or whoever) already had their mind up? (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA, USA)
Dear Tracy, I have already answered your first question. I will offer an another angle here. L.A. is the recording capital of the world, no doubt. The only thing happening in San Francisco at the time was Bill Graham’s Maillard Agency. We were led to believe that there was no interest from Mr Graham. Forest kept the truth from us because he knew he would have eventually lose any influence in the band had we signed with Graham. Any assertion that he was only looking after our best interests is a crock. Why keep the truth from us about Graham’s interest? Why? So that we would realize that our only alternative was Los Angeles. Now, let’s assume that there was no such interest by Graham. Forest got us to sign with a Los Angeles management team (Shiffman and Larson) who wanted 60% of our publishinjg royalties. He connected us with two producers--Keith Olsen and I forget the other chap. We put us on those gigs in Los Angeles and also arranged for record people to come hear us. We were tight and considered ready for recording. The stage was set.
You said earlier that the only exposure Stevie had to the Mexican people was to maids, etc. Once she got to know you (before things started to go sour) did she get along with you pretty easily? Did you know that once Stevie began her solo career in 1981, she's had musicians of several different ethnic groups in her band? Do you think that being in Fritz helped to open her and Lindsey's eyes to different cultures? (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA, USA)
Yes, we got along fine in the beginning. There were infrequent invitations to come have supper at my house. They met my whacky Spanish-speaking family. I wasn’t heavily into my “ethnicity” at the time, but S&L and Brian were able to see how I lived. I mentioned that even after we had stopped gigging in 1971, S&L came by to record some tunes at the house. I am glad to hear that Stevie integrated ethnic musicians into her 1981 group. Its been my firm belief that diversity makes us stronger and ultimately, more interesting.
Did all of you listen to those live recordings you made? What did you think of your sound? Were you surprised by anything? I know it surprised me the first time I heard my voice 'on the record' (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA, USA)
We did listen ocassionally to recordings together, particularly in the first year. We were largely satisifed that our voices were blending together. Sometimes we recorded ourselves during rehearsals. I didn’t like my voice--compared to L&S’s I didn’t have a voice. Thats why I hardly sang lead on anything. I would have loved to, but the fact was, S&L had the good voices in the band. Vocally, I felt like the George Harrison of the group. Unfortunately, nobody got into the habit of recording our gigs. I did it a couple of times, but I guess we were all so lazy about hauling recording equipment around. We often carpooled to gigs. If you wanted to do a good job it had to be a stereo recording. There were no slick Tascam machines just yet. I used my Dad’s crusty Uher machine a couple of times--that’s why we have two samples of shows. Unfortunately, one of the mikes got accidently turned around during the 1970 Aragon High School show--the lead vocals were practically cut out--& this was a hot concert.
I know it's been a long time, but do you think Lindsey may have been working on his own tunes when he was noodling around on the piano? It surprised me when you said that Lindsey hadn't begun writing when he was in Fritz. I know he's said that lyrics don't come easily to him, but I'd be shocked to no end if his first compositions were for the B/N album. Maybe he was just shy about showing them? (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA, USA)
Tracy, you're like the Eveready Bunny! Yes, absolutely, Lindsey’s first compositions were for the B/N album. It seemed like he might’ve been doing some personal inspirations when he ocassionally "noodled" around on the piano, but Lindsey never brought an original song to the table. Brian on other hand, was already starting to write and contribute tunes. Even if he had only half a song, he knew he could bring it to rehearsal anytime and we could try to develop it further. As far as I can recall this never happened.