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

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Who was Fritz Rabyne? Thank you very much! (blackcat, Pennsylvania, USA)

When the band started (Fall 1966) we were struggling to come up with a name. We couldn't think of any. At that time we were kinda folksy and soft-rock oriented. Fritz Rabyne was a terribly shy, inauspicious German kid (probably the son of immigrants or an immigrant himself) whose name we picked right out of the blue (I am not sure whose bright idea that was-it may have been my idea cuz I knew him better than anyone else)! We called the band the Fritz Rabyne Memorial Band (1967) at first, but the name continued to be cut down until we settled for just FRITZ (1968). The poor guy was a classmate at Menlo-Atherton HS who didn't really enjoy the sudden popularity of his name. He moved away and we never heard from him again. (We hardly knew him to begin with!)

Was it as difficult to work with Lindsey as some other musicians have said? Also has Fritz recorded or have wanted to record anything to release on a major label. If so, will they ever be released? (Jeff Baer, Thorofare, N.J., USA)

At first, we were all babes in the woods. I had been playing since sophomore years in 1966 (senior year) Lindsey hadn't started writing anything yet, this was his first group. Stevie had a couple of country songs, and we did them with little embellishment, keeping the simplicity intact. It was a good contrast to the other more "metalish" type of music. When we got together, we all participated in writing parts for the songs. I was doing most of the music writing but everyone contributed something. Back then Lindsey was easy, but we were very fastidious about doing good work, we knew what the competition was doing, so we had to make every song as perfect as possible. We were sticklers for original parts--every part had to have something going on. Perhaps Linds got his perfectionism from this.

Was Stevie as dramatic and emotive on stage then, as she is now? Thanks. (Logan, Garland, Texas, USA)

She was always an emotive and dramatic singer, and people remembered her for it. There was a song we did by Buffy Saint Marie (Codeine) in which Stevie cringed and doubled up and acted out withdrawal pains while she sang it. I used to complain about it because to me, it seemed all a big "put on." That was her show biz side. But Stevie persisted and of course, this always got noticed. People noticed that and were moved by it. But she could also stir you with a simple country song as well.

Hello! I am 14 years old. When Lindsey and Stevie were in Fritz, did you have any idea that they would be as successful as they soon became? Did you have some feeling that they would eventually make it big, or were you surprised when they did? Also, do you still talk to Lindsey and Stevie? Thank you. (Josh Williams, East Liverpool, OH, USA)

When Stevie and Lindsey were in Fritz we thought Fritz would become a big thing. We worked hard at rehearsals and at gigs, and we had faith in our work. We were on the verge of a record deal in L.A. when things started to disintegrate. After they left and the band folded, it was a big surprise to everyone that they had joined Fleetwood Mac. I know they have a lot of talent, so I am glad that they were able to work together with the members of FM. Had they not joined that group, I am sure they would have enjoyed some national success on their own. I haven't talked to Stevie since 1971. I saw Lindsey and jammed with him at my house about 19 years ago.
Did any of the members of Fritz ever feel a little jealous of Stevie and Lindsey's success? How much did Stevie and Lindsey contribute to the band? Did the members of Fritz keep in contact with Stevie and Lindsey after they left the band, or did you all go your separate ways? (Nia, Monmouth, NJ, USA)

I don't think there was any ill will directed at them after they left. The band broke up, they moved to L.A. to make a go of it as a duo. They cut an album but it didn't exactly rock the entire world (except for some suburbs in Alabama). Anyway, their big success came about 5-6 years after Fritz, so that's a long time. I haven't asked the other members of Fritz what they think of Stevie and Lindsey's good fortunes because I haven't really seen them. FRITZ was a group of five individuals and each contributed something special to the group. Stevie was into writing her songs, doing most of the lead singing, Lindsey could play bass, guitar, and banjo, and also sang a lot. I played with Brian Kane in a band called Fingers (1972), but that was short-lived. We all pretty much went our separate ways. After they left to live in Los Angeles, Bob Aguirre had better contact with Lindsey than anyone else.

How much lead guitar did Lindsey play in Fritz, since legend has it that he was only the bass player; yet the photo [in the article above] clearly shows him on electric guitar? (Steve Denison, CA, USA)

At that time (April 1969) Brian Kane had joined the group some time before that and there were songs that Lindsey played on guitar, so we kept it at that. We were lucky in that we could change around the timbre of the band. We could do an acoustic song with only Lindsey on guitar (I would play bass on the Hammond B-3), or Lindsey could play banjo while Brian played bass. But most of the time, it was Brian on lead guitar. Brian had more a bluesy-lead guitar experience at that time and Lindsey stayed on the bass. But I think this would ultimately frustrate Lindsey.

What were the tensions like in the band when it became apparent that Stevie and Lindsey were going to move on without the rest of the guys? Stevie seems slightly devastated in some interviews...were you equally emotional? Also any plans to have a Fritz reunion!?! You know the good ole days? (*LauraTN*, Morristown, TN)

When Fritz was about to break up, it was because we ourselves were pulling in different directions, we were arguing too much, things were cloudy, there were personal issues that never got addressed, it seemed as though people were tired of the arrangement. Lindsey was tired of playing bass, Brian wanted to play more blues, I was going through personal identity problems. We were also being pulled and manipulated by outside forces as well. We had been dragged down to Los Angeles by David Forest our personal manager because he was working down there and wanted to continue to control and/or profit from the group. Personally, I hated plastic L.A., wanted to make it in groovy San Francisco. Dave hid from us the fact that Bill Graham had shown interest in managing the group, so Forest made us believe that L.A. was our only viable option (in terms of "making it"). This in itself caused much dissention in the group. We were split over this. While in Los Angeles, producer Keith Olsen advised Linds and Stevie that they didn't need the rest of the band, and that in itself may have bolstered their determination to want to part ways. Its not that Linds and Stevie were instigating the entire breakup on their own, but we weren't getting along. We were all ambitious, we all wanted to make it, but there was no more kindness or respect. Yes, it was very emotional, I always knew we could make it musically, but as a social experiment, the ensemble floundered. We put in a lot of time together. There are no plans for a reunion, there hasn't been any communication with each other! But somehow, I am confident that we will meet again. Who knows, I wouldn't rule it out. We did a number of great musical numbers that I am very proud of. Just like a high school reunion, FRITZ was a school for us, I'm sure someday we'll want to sit and talk, and reminisce together again.

What was your most memorable gig with Fritz and why? Also, were there any special or memorable events that happened within the band that you would be willing to share with us? (Spirit, Birmingham, AL, USA)

We were together for three and a half years, there were a number of memorable moments. A very exciting time was when we played four days straight at Fillmore West and Winterland. The first night I was sweating like the dam had burst. Everyone was extremely nervous--we didn't know if we were going to go over or what. I'll never forget that feeling. Well, we did go over, the audience was very receptive, it was great. After the first night we were all much more composed. Another thing that stands out most in my mind were our last gigs in Southern California, when we played the Santa Monica Civic Center and the San Diego Sports Arena. The band was going through its serious problems while at the same time we would be visited backstage by record producers and important whatnots. Prospects were great but we (as a band) were on very shaky ground. It was a very exciting time and it was also a very emotional time.

My question is, since Stevie was so influenced by Janis did she ever get the opportunity to meet her? (Susan, Pasadena, CA, USA)

Yes, we opened some show at the San Jose Fairgrounds (1970) where Janis Joplin was the closing act, and we met and shared some of her Southern Comfort backstage. I think we in Fritz were all agast at Joplin's macho-like character. She could be very crude and unladylike, "just like one of the guys!" That made an impression. I don't think Stevie decided she wanted to be "just like Janis" after that initial meeting!

Did you guys have time for other friends? (Stephanie, East Liverpool, OH, USA)

When we were in Fritz, the band was our entire life. We rehearsed at least four times a week, for 4-5 hours each day and we would play 2 or 3 times on weekends. This was all we wanted to do, it was a steady occupation. We tried to make time for family, friends, or other concerns, but this personal time had to revolve around our schedules. Of course, most weekday evenings were ours, but sometimes we even hung out together. I know I spent a lot of time composing on my own.

I'm sure that a lot of newer FM/Lindsey/Stevie fans that never got a chance to see Fritz would love to be able to hear even a snippet of your music. Do any recordings of Fritz exist, and if so, would there be any way that the fans on The Penguin might be able to hear a bit of the great music the band created? (Diane Stewart, Hillside, IL USA)

I'm working on it. Give me some time to get it properly mixed. I have some live material that I had recorded on reel-to-reel tape but it needs to be cleaned up. People will be super surprised when they hear this--its very different from FM material--like night and day! I used to be criticized by Forest who said this was all very un-commercial. He's right, we didn't write 3-minute ditties, but I still happen to think its very good music, we were wailin'!

The article states that Fritz was primarily a cover band that nevertheless threw in some originals. What would an average Fritz set consist of? Which band member (or members) were primarily responsible for choosing the set list? (David Oberman, Los Angeles, CA, USA)

From the inception of FRITZ there were original songs, mostly mine, but we did music that was popular as well. We thought a lot about creating our own sound.

Up to 1969 (date of the article) we relied a lot on copy tunes because we played high schools, dances, etc. To give an idea of some of the music: Dusty Springfield (The Look of Love), Boxtops (The Letter), Stevie Winwood (Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring; Mr Fantasy), Ronstadt (Different Drum), Dylan (Just Like A Woman; Stay All Night), Spencer Davis (Keep On Running), Steppenwolf (Born to Be Wild), Ray Charles (Georgia) and Jackie DeShannon (What the World Needs Now). But we did inject a lot of original material as we started playing more and more concerts and becoming more proficient, musically. By the last year of the band, Keep on Running would be our closing number and the other material would mostly be original.

Javier Pacheco

Mr. Pacheco, thank you for the article and picture of Fritz; I see that Stevie is playing acoustic guitar in the picture - did she play guitar a lot in Fritz's performances? Did she or Lindsey ever play any other instruments (such as piano or keyboards) while performing with Fritz? I'm curious too as to which "cover" songs you did - can you give us any examples (I'm especially curious about the country tunes)? Finally, Fritz opened for/performed with a lot of highly successful bands of the time - who were some of your favorites and why? Thank you so much! (Lori Aimino, Indiana, PA, USA)

No, it was rare that Stevie would play guitar. Only around the beginning, soon after she had joined. I am sure that we were doing one of her songs in that picture, probably the tune, Where Was I? Lindsey took out the banjo to do the theme from Bonny and Clyde--that was the only instance. As I mentioned before, he played guitar on some country songs (like the one in the picture) and a song by Dave Harley, I've Just Been Created. Neither of them had played any keyboards at that time.

Of the "big name" bands, of the groups that I really admired a whole lot, I was tickled pink to be on the stage with the likes of Steve Miller (Cuz I love his music--I was always a fan), Chicago (loved the brass--they were so tight!), Ike and Tina Turner (high-powered act, wonderful R&B), Leon Russell (a hot rocker). Oh, and we also opened in San Jose for a show featuring Jimi Hendrix, but we played way before him and didn't get a chance to go back stage. I had seen him before and he really could energize an audience! To my mind, few Rock trios could ever sound so full. Cream (W/Clapton) is the great exception. We also played on the same bill as Santana, Janis Joplin and the Holding Company, Deep Purple, and Chuck Berry. I'm sure I'm leaving others out, but I can't remember now.

Who influenced the band to change their sound from that soft rock sound you mentioned to the psychedelic sound you ended up with? Stevie has mentioned several things Fritz got to be a part of as an opening band (such as the Monterey Festival and the scene at the Fillmore), do you have any special memories from that time period? Were you as affected by Hendrix and Joplin as she seems to have been? (Tracy Garner, Atlanta, GA, USA)

Good question. FRITZ started with Lindsey on the guitar (1966). At that time, Linds knew more chords than he did lead passages. Whoa, please back up and read what I said previously about San Francisco during Flower Power days. After June, 1967, Brian Kane became our lead guitar. His influences were Hendrix, John Mayall, and Eric Clapton, to name the most obvious. When Brian entered the band we adopted more of a bluesy sound. Add to that the San Francisco influences I mentioned previously, and the writing in the band became markedly more intense. But wait! I have heard FRITZ described as a psychedelic band. I first bristled when I heard it because it is absolutely not true. Yes, we did do a two or three numbers that were "psychedelic," (characterized by sections with long, open, free-flowing improvisation) but we also did some of Stevie's songs which were Country, we did R&B, we did Dylan, Spencer Davis, John Mayall. Some of my music even had a Latin tinge to it, other tunes were more hard rock, and there were soft ballads. To label FRITZ as purely "psychedelic" would be comparable to identifying with only one small part of our entire repertoire. I would hate to label everything we did. I don't think "psychedelic" fully capsulizes our production at that time.

As I mentioned before, Hendrix made a great impression on me. Fritz never played the Monterey Pop Festivals. We did play Monterey, but not the festivals. The one time we played at Fillmore West and Winterland, it was with Chicago, James Cotton Blues Band, Family, and Fritz. We opened. Rubbing elbows with a lot of these "name" people made them much more human to me--not like the hyped-up semi-demigods, as they were sometimes portrayed in their flashy promotions. I was intrigued by the writing capabilities of Lennon/McCartney, Stevie Winwood, Chicago. I was leaning toward R&B and jazz at that time. Actually, I listened to everything, from The Beatles to The Mothers of Invention (Frank Zappa). Everyone in Fritz had very different likes and dislikes.

I saw Hendrix's first show at the old Fillmore. Bill Graham was giving out apples at the door. My friends and I were not prepared for what we saw! Jimi set fire to his guitar and the music kept on playing! It was a memorable concert. The smooth guitar and bass lines, the quick drum breaks, the modulations and transitions, the vocal harmonies and choruses--these were some of things that influenced me. Music was all around us. The Bay Area was the center of the music world, as far as I was concerned. It was the height of flower-power. The Haight-Ashbury was in its renaissance. You could go to Golden Gate Park and hear Quicksilver Messenger Service, or The Grateful Dead, Country Joe and the Fish, or Jefferson Airplane. Some people were psychedelicized, others took their clothes off to dance, there were good vibes in the air, I had very long hair. It was a great time to be playing in a band and doing creative things.

According to your knowledge of Stevie, did she always want to be in the singing business? (Keshia Marie, Ohio, USA)

Stevie tried a year at San Jose State University, but I don't think she liked it much. When I first met Stevie, she seemed more like a wall flower. But the singing business transformed her, brought out her latent creative talents. From the moment she joined FRITZ, she was quite determined to stay in that band. I think she always had that dream of being in music, thanks in part to the influence of her grandfather, who was himself a kind of legend in country music. She put as much effort into the group as anybody else. I know she liked to write songs, she liked sharing her lyrics with her friends. And the accolades one gets from audiences is like a wonder drug--you want more and more. It was a great motivation. Stevie was very enthusiastic about what she did. We got to a point where we knew we were going places. We had one of the best booking agents in the business. This guy went from starting his own agency, to working for Bill Graham, to finally working for Creative Management Associates in Los Angeles, the mother of all booking organizations! We were quite fortunate.

Can you give some general impressions of Lindsey and Stevie as people back then? In the press, through the years, the love/hate relationship between Stevie and Lindsey has reached quasi-legendary proportions (hehe) -- was there any inkling of any kind of intense relationship brewing between them back then? Was there even any notion that they might have any kind of special musical or personal relationship at all? Who's original idea was it to form the band? Were the original members all friends at school before, or did the group bring you together? Any embarrassing performing moments you might share? >From what you know, have any of the other members of Fritz gone on to musical or music-related careers? Do you still write music? Thank you Mr. Pacheco! (Les, San Diego, CA, USA)

Geez, that's a lot of questions!! Your first question is too general and vague. To give you a more concise and to-the-point answer, I'd rather ask that you wait 'til I publish my memoirs. Then you can understand where I'm coming from and why I say what I say. For now, suffice to say the members of Fritz were comprised of both scions from the well-to-do and people from working class backgrounds (Bob Aguirre and I). We represented distinct social and ethnic backgrounds. The band was a social as well as musical experiment. I was quite a political radical back then and we disagreed on a lot of things, even on how to talk to the Highway Patrol. My songs contained very heavy social themes. You can see what kinds of things Linds and Stevie have been writing about. That's all I want to say.

About Stevie and Lindsey's relationship, no one could predict how long it would last.

I think Cal Roper started the band in Fall, 1966. He enlisted his cousin Jody Moreing on vocals. They called Lindsey Buckingham and Bob Aguirre. Bob called me. I had been in a hot group before that (called the Toads) that had just broken up, so I was free to join what would later become Fritz. I had played with Bob Aguirre in my first band (The Castiles) when we were both sophomores (1964). The group Fritz brought us together. Though I grew up living right next to Atherton, I was from the proverbial "other side of the tracks." We became friends, and by the time Brian Kane And Stevie Nicks had come on board, we were working very closely together on a daily basis. Bob, Lindsey, and I were seniors, Stevie had graduated in 1966, and I think Brian was Stevie's age as well.

Embarrassing moments: When we played at Fillmore West the first night, I was sweating so hard, I couldn't see. The sweat was burning my eyes, so I couldn't open them. I think that was about the worst! You're asking me about gigs I did 30 years ago!

I heard Bob Aguirre was playing in a country band in Santa Cruz. Haven't heard anything from Brian in over 25 years. Myself, I went into Latin Jazz, Salsa, and some classical. I went back to school, majored in music, and graduated from SFSU in 1974 with a B.A. in Music History; UCLA in 1986 with a M.A. in Music; & 1994 (UCLA) with a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology. I have transcribed a lot of charts since 1974, for myself and for other ensembles; today I write music on Finale '98 (Macintosh)--original music, art music and Afro-Cuban dance music.

Hi Javier. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Can you tell me if there is any music of Fritz available today? I would love to hear the band play esp since you played everything from Country to "Metalish". It must have been great to play such a variety of music. Also did Fritz perform songs from other bands or mostly songs written by the songwriters within the group? Thanks. (Dani, FL, USA)

As far as I know, there is no Fritz music on the market. We never did more than a couple of demos. I recorded a couple of concerts on a stereo reel-toreel machine.

I have always liked variety, and we did play a variety of styles in Fritz. I already answered that question about material. We gradually snuck more of our own tunes into the set lists until there were very few copy tunes left. I wrote most of the music, Stevie contributed a couple of tunes as well. (Linds hadn't started writing yet) The band would learn the basic music and then we would come up with collective ideas for a band arrangement. So usually, everyone pitched in with the structure of the piece. But we invariably ended the night with Spencer Davis' Keep on Running because it featured Bob on a long, climactic drum solo.

Frankly, I am surprised Stevie hasn't recorded the songs she wrote with us. They are very good, in my opinion. As far as hearing all that varied material some day, maybe......

Do you own Lindsey and Stevie's albums both solo and with Fleetwood Mac if so what do you think of them? Also, did you ever see them when they were on tour and do you feel their styles have changed much since they were in Fritz? What have you been up to since the band broke up? Thank you! (Samantha, Lakewood, CA, USA)

I dropped out of Rock 'n Roll in 1974. Nothing to do wid-it. When I got in touch with Lindsey in 1980, I went out and bought Tusk and Rumours. Of course, I had heard some songs on the radio. Tusk is quite forgettable, while Rumours is a fine album, very inspired. I never saw them live because I wasn't into rock music anymore. I did see their video (the reunion) a couple of years ago. It had plenty of good moments. I particularly liked it when the FM musicians would communicate to each other with their eyes. I have also listened to Lindsey's solo albums. Both Stevie and Lindsey are very talented and have matured as composers. While some of their themes are rather ho-hum, production was integral. I always thought Stevie had to get away from two-chord songs, but I can't say I have heard all of her music. What strikes me though is that they take very few risks in their music. Lindsey, perhaps a little more than Stevie. To me, music is about taking risks, not just when you are improvising.

I majored in music at college and graduated, have been involved in the Latin music scene, also teaching music at the college level (Sonoma and San Francisco, in Spring, 1997), thereafter, I taught elementary music and this past school year, multiple subjects for 4th grade kiddies in East Menlo Park. I was banished from SFSU by a very blind, aversive music chairperson for whom the world is black and white (with no shades between). I want to teach adults back in the academia, but so much of university life has become a "dog and pony show," its frightening.

I like a number of New Song composers, and through that music, I have returned to appreciate Rock again. I started listening again. Unfortunately, Rock written after 1980 (with some exceptions--like Talking Heads, or Devo) doesn't sound very original to me. Its been a rebirth! Thank God almighty!! I've been reborn!!! I even played with a funk band the other day! I write some Rock now and then (in the form of New Song), but I do not particularly appreciate the artificial "star system" that Rock moguls nurture.

Did your interest in music and writing end once Fritz broke up? Are you still writing songs? Do you like the music of any of the incarnations of Fleetwood Mac? (Thank you so much for doing this for us! What I've read so far is fascinating.) (Tracy Garner, Atlanta, GA, USA)

Not at all!! I have always been a lover of music. I always pushed to go into new directions, to challenge myself, to become ever more musical, to do more things. But our gauntlet in Los Angeles in 1970 contained pressure (from the boys who wanted to manage FRITZ) to write songs for "twelve to fourteen year-olds" which was considered the market for Rock. I refused to abide and was instantly an outsider. I was very obstinate and proud. I knew my strengths. I had my own sense of creativity, and the whole San Francisco music experience to fall back on, but Los Angeles was another country for me! So I didn't fit in. The others wanted to make it at whatever the price. FRITZ was bound to die.

People keep asking my thoughts on FM. I really liked the early, bluesy Mac. I always loved Christie McVie's voice, way before 1971. Stevie and Lindsey did great things to revive what was a Mac on the skids. Once they were in, group sounded good, they worked well together, very cohesive. I know this instinctively, not because I lived with them or shared their lives. You can hear it in the music. Later (1977), Lindsey proved to be Sisyphus, holding up the whole band on the strength of his inspirations. Even though their style is not my cup of tea, they have done some very pretty things, they deserve the praise they have gotten, no doubt about it. Simplicity is not necessarily abject commerciality, but sometimes the twain does meet and you have a hit. For example, a simple idea can be a very powerful testament of one's feelings. Some of Stevie's songs are very simple but quite powerful. You keep remembering the lyrics. The best-loved classical music is some fancy, lyrical line that sticks out in your mind. All musics have this. I find good in all music, even Country!! I am glad Stevie and Lindsey found a great outlet (FM) in which to grow and develop as musicians. That's where its at.

Hi, Javier! Just wondering if you have listened to/own any of Stevie or Lindsey's solo work. If so, what do you think of it? (Mike Brewer, Spartanburg, SC, USA)

Hi! To be very honest with you and to be fair to Stevie and Lindsey, I don't think that I have heard enough of their material to write an informed opinion about it. All I can say is that Lindsey has a unique guitar-playing style, and that I have seen Stevie and she can be very interesting to watch. I can only touch on some of the themes, which seemed a little indulgent to me (i. e., Lindsey's Law and Order), and sometimes some of Stevie's lyrics sounded too vague or hocus-pocus. But I really haven't heard most of what either of the two have recorded, especially in the last ten years. Have they gone through changes in their writing? I hope so! Usually, I have borrowed music from the local library to find out what's going on. But I have yet to hear most of Stevie's Bella Donna (for example). I guess I have some "catching up" to do! Mind you, I am on a different planet, musically.

Hi! This is great you are doing this thank you! Anyway, you stated that FRITZ was 5 very individual people, so did that make it difficult to get along? Aside from rehearsing and touring, did the five of you "hang out"? Was it more split or was it everyone for themselves? Was it really hard when you finally broke up as a band ? (Janet Strayer, Palmyra, NJ)

At first, we got along well, I felt there was a certain unity in the band from the fact that our booking agent/manager Dave Forest kept us busy just about every weekend playing here and there around the Bay Area. Some of us (Bob, Stevie, and I) were taking college courses. We also had our individual girl friends, etc. When Stevie entered the band she was seeing an ex-high school football star, but as her involvement in the band grew, this relationship waned. She would then become unattached and now and then would go out to events with Bob or a group of friends. I remember going to a music concert with her myself once. Yes, we did "hang out," we went to see other shows, to the Fillmore, to movies, even bowling. I remember going with Bob, Brian, and some friends to the Haight-Ashbury to see Magical Mystery Tour when it first came out. Once Stevie and Lindsey became an item, they kind of kept to themselves and this was the beginning of a real division in the group. Now it was mostly Brian, Bob, some friends and myself who "hung out," if at all. There was a fundamental change when Linds and Stevie became involved. It was subtle at first, later it would become more pronounced. The band broke up because Stevie and Lindsey decided they wanted to move to Los Angeles. If you ask the others, they may spread the blame around. They might say I was a tyrant, a rat. Yes, I know I was starting some fights, but I wanted to confront issues in the band while others preferred to just let things ride. We were in Los Angeles when Linds declared that they (He and Stevie) "Didn't care anymore" about what happened. Dave Forest might have encouraged that, the bag men in L.A. who were interested only in them may have encouraged that. At any rate, the bottom fell out. Here we were on the verge of a deal with RCA and there was no more enthusiasm anymore. Gee, well if those people pumped up Lindsey and Stevie, I can see why they would feel emboldened to quit this nearly four-year endeavor of ours. The break-up left Brian, Bob and I without the main vocal part of the band. No more weekly rehearsals, no more weekend jobs. Dave Forest didn't come around to console us or offer us any help. The L.A. managers cleaned out our bank account like vultures. I was fortunate in that I knew other musicians and joined a jazz-rock group named Fat Chants. I know the other guys didn't fare as well, in terms of staying active musically right after the split. We acted like it was "everyone for himself, but it was really a split down the middle, encouraged in part by outside forces. We all weathered the storm the best way we could. What hurt was all that material we had rehearsed which fell by the wayside. What hurt was not knowing all the dynamics and foul play that had really been going on around the sidelines (like Bill Graham's interest in the band, which was kept from us), things that we wouldn't find out until years later. And then when you see flakey bands come an go, making it on the strength of some fluzzy single that you know FRITZ could have played circles around it, well then you realize how strong a band we really were. That's what time does for y'all.

If Stevie and Lindsey re-released Buckingham Nicks and wanted you to make a guest appearance on some new tracks...would you do it? Would you feel honored..or would it be more like friends inviting you over for Karaoke night? (~LauraTN~, Morristown, TN)

Oh-oh, now we're getting into the speculation biz. I always pride myself on doing the best that I can anywhere. Even after FRITZ broke up, I remember Stevie and Lindsey coming over my house some time later to record some songs I had written. One was called "Ivory Walls," and it was about an insane asylum. It came out nicely, considering it was only a home recording. We had a good time. If Lindsey and Stevie were to call me up to do some tracks, I would feel honored, but moreover, I would hope that it would be like friends simply doing what friends do--enjoying each other's company.

Did you ever date Stevie Nicks in high school ? (Brian, Laurel, MD)

I didn't even know Stevie in high school, she was a whole year older. I had seen her around (she was the varsity quarterback's girl then), but never knew her really until after she joined FRITZ. Before settling with Lindsey, she did go out a few times with the drummer. I did ask her out at one time to attend a musical concert in the City. 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.

After reading your response to Janet's question...in which you said things changed after Stevie and Lindsey hooked up...was it because they just chose not to work with you (as a band) or was there some male dominance thing among the males? Oh and just one goofy question? Was Stevie a majorette in HS? She sure can twirl a baton... (~LauraTN~, Morristown, TN)

No, they just became more reclusive, distant from the rest. There was never any rivalry over her. Again, I didn't know Stevie at Menlo-Atherton High School, and she was a year ahead of me. I hardly spent any time there myself, I hated the school because there were so many rich kids and snobs there. (As Frank Zappa once sang, "I'm losing status at the high school; ...I used to think that it was my school!") I barely graduated with my class cuz I had been cutting so much. I started playing professional band gigs from the time of my sophomore year. In my junior year, I hung out at schools in Belmont, San Carlos, San Mateo, because my cool musician friends went to these schools, I had hot girl friends there too, and generally, I liked the scene better. This blew over in the summer of 1966, when the band I was in (The Toads) took a powder (broke up). Then Bob Aguirre called up to find out if I was available, and I started playing music with him, Cal Roper, Jody Moreing, and Lindsey Buckingham (we were all seniors). You'll have to ask Stevie if she twirled the baton at M-A.


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Thank you so much for your time! This is making excellent reading. Tusk..."quite forgettable". Care to expound? That just slayed my soul. However, I've recovered enough to pose a few more questions. Did most of the Fritz bandmembers have support and encouragement from their families? Were you guys able to take advantage of that whole groupie-let's get naked and do drugs-free love thing, or was that just a myth to make those of my generation jealous? Did the "social experiment" work out? Surely Stevie and Lindsey were not snobs (in other words were you ever invited to the Buckingham's for a pool get-together?) Answer what you can, ignore what you won't...and thanks again! (Rhapsody, Chillicothe, OH, USA)

I was out of line with that off-the-cuff statement about TUSK. I apologize for that. I didn't sign on to do these sessions to start criticizing their productions, that was not the purpose of this endeavor. Just keep in mind, I am into world musics, I am a musicologist, and I am very critical, even about my own work. I do listen to Rock, am not against it. I find good in everything. But this is not the place for a critique on LB's or SN's works, particularly because I have not listened to all of it, have not really studied it. I apologize to FM fans and reiterate that thanks to their success, there are curious people like you interested in talking to this ole grumpy!

"Did most of the Fritz bandmembers have support and encouragement from their families?" At first, Stevie's Mom was vehemently opposed to her activities with the band. Late 1967, Linds and I went to her door to pick her up for a rehearsal once, and her Mom said "Why don't you boys just go to Vietnam?" (To me, that was like saying "why don't you go to hell!") It was funny, but also chilling. The Vietnam War was not a pretty sight, and much more dangerous a place than Bosnia or the Gulf War because it lasted so long, involved so many troops. Later, I think Stevie's Mom kinda "chilled out," to use a colloquial. Brian's folks were ambiguous about his involvement. Bob's parents were supportive, as were mine. My parents always supported my musical activities. Lindsey's parents were very supportive. The first couple of years, we rehearsed out of Lindsey's garage. Lindsey's Mom made lemonade or was just plain gracious. Thanks to Mr & Mrs Buckingham, we always had a place to rehearse, to meet, to watch TV, after practicing, etc. Not that we overdid our stay or anything. We may have gone swimming in the pool once or twice, not that much. We tried not to impose too much upon his family. Despite the different economic and social realities, we got along quite famously. We were enthusiastic about our music and that was the great unifying factor. Every now and then someone would get picked on (groups occasionally tend to identify a "village idiot" as a point of comic relief)--that was either Bob or I. We might have even played up to the part! I tended to avoid those moments. I say we were a social experiment because on the whole, we did get along, we were very productive and creative as a group. Momentarily, the social conventions that have traditionally kept us apart as Hispanics and Anglos was broken down, there was a lot of positive interaction. The unifying element was the music and the sense that creatively, we were in control of everything. In 1977 Fleetwood Mac was distinguished by the make-up of two genders. FRITZ may have set some trends in terms of its integration of ethnicities and styles. Again, this diversity was reflected beautifully in our repertoire.

Flower Power was partially responsible for breaking down those artificial barriers that existed (or may still exist) between people from "different sides of the tracks." This was Renaissance time, conformity to the old ways was waning, people of our generation were opening their minds to new ideas, new cultures, new life styles, it was a time of incredible changes, some cosmetic, some major. The Beatles showed us it was o.k. to sport long hair. But not all people, you know, the majority always considers it safer and more prudent to stick to convention than to buck the system. (I remember Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead getting harassed by some jocks at my high school in 1964 because of his hair--and it was only touching his ears!!!) As far as love and Flower Power goes, no I am not kidding, there were frisky groupies for days. There were a lot of "beautiful people" budding and flowering all over the place! But let's get one thing clear, promiscuity is promiscuity in any age!! You had to know the difference between a one-night stand and real love. As far as the stimulants, while there may have been some experimenting with psychedelics, no one went off the deep end and started showing up to rehearsals without their panties or trousers. At least not at this time!! Oh, and remember that when we first formed FRITZ, everyone in that band was absolutely straight, no nothing!!! One by one, we all started trying marihuana in a very subtle process of discovery ("Shall we tell Javier?"). But we were careful not to overindulge. For instance, in our third year, we'd rehearse in the morning, take a lunch break, smoke a doobie after lunch, then maybe another in the evening, going home. I have been in bands (very briefly) where the dopehead members smoked for breakfast, lunch and dinner, then got lost on their way to the gig! FRITZ was a much more centered, disciplined organization. At least speaking for myself, the music always came first. I am sure LB and SN would concur.

I saw in the newly updated Fritz bio (thanks to you) that originally there was a different female vocalist...Jody Moreing. How did things change after she & her cousin left for college? Did Stevie have to audition for the band, or did Lindsey make the decision to ask Stevie to join (as I've heard in interviews). Also, did it take a while to readjust to the new incarnation of Fritz? Thank you! (Tracy G., Stockbridge, GA)

Actually, things got much better after Jody and Cal left, because Brian Kane joined us and we became stronger as a rock band, we became a more driving force. It was like switching into third gear. I really don't exactly remember the process by which Stevie joined the group, but we were a collective entity, we all had to agree on new personnel, it was never the decision of just one person. I think it was Bob who originally asked Stevie to try out with the band. She had a good appearance and a pleasant voice, so I think there was no hesitation at first. But while the group was leaving its old soft rock and folksy base, becoming more grounded in bluesy hard rock, this placed new pressures on Stevie, whose mellow voice was not really designed (or prepared) for the kinds of musical challenges and demands placed before her. And she knew this, we knew this, so I'd say her initial stay in the band was a little tenuous. This was part of the adjustment that had to be made. The result is we kept some folksy-soft rock pieces for her (also incorporating a couple of her country tunes) and Lindsey started to take on the bulk of hard rock vocals. This meant we had a greater diversity of material to draw from. With the addition of Brian and Stevie, FRITZ began to "take off," we developed our own sound, people started to take serious note of the group.

Because you worked so closely with Stevie and Lindsey for so many years, you must have gotten to know their real personalities. Could you just tell us what each of them were like back them if you had to describe them in basic term and maybe give examples of incidents that revealed what they were like as friends/people? Casting aside the fact that it had a role in breaking up the band, do you thing their pairing was a good thing for both of them? Thank you so much for the time you have put in to answer all our questions in such a well thought out manner. (Liz Niziolek, Forestville, CT, USA)

Thank you for the kind words.

Stevie and I had a chance to become close friends but I may have seriously blown all that by my own silly machismo and arrogance. She was always a little "on guard" with me, not totally trusting. Moreover, I knew her only exposure to Mexican culture was through her parents' string of Raza gardeners and maids, so I felt that her approach to me was at times, a bit condescending. Moreover, once she became emotionally involved with Lindsey, any chance of trying to salvage or improve our friendship would be thwarted by her new obsession. The two of them would become a wedge in the group. They hung out together, pulled together, and then it was Bob, Brian and I, on the other side. I think Stevie and Lindsey were a very compatible couple--Gemini and Libra, respectively. Therefore I would say it must have been a great romance!

Yes, it is true I didn't think she could cut the group at first, but as it became clear that she would be staying in the band, I became resigned to working around her vocal strengths and weaknesses. But this came after a lot of teasing and jaw-boning on my part. Hey, we were all just kids then! The teasing went around--everybody participated. Stevie became the victim, and I was the big bad wolf.

Yes, I was very critical of Stevie, but her songs did move me, I didn't try to block her creativity--I did think she had a talent for expressing honest sentiments. Her first FRITZ songs have stayed with me. In fact, one song in particular I have sung over and over again for the past thirty years--country and simple, but right on the mark. The lyrics go thusly: "Well there's a deep sense of a funny kind of love, ...when you look back on the way it really was. Kind of like a marriage after it has broken up; Well, there's a deep sense of a funny, ...kind of love." She was speaking of the coming downfall of FRITZ. See, we were writing love and break-up songs to each other way back in 1969-70. This didn't just start with the Mac. If you really want to uncover Stevie Nicks, you need to look at the culture of her family, her parental roots, etc. In terms of her whole life, my impressions are but a brief window.

I was always closer to Lindsey, we were both seniors, we had worked together on a number of music works. I'd say Lindsey was the most pliable, as a person, as a musician. Part of it is the result of his capabilities. He could adjust to my new music, he had an open mind, always contributing new ideas that helped the material along. I know he didn't particularly like the bass, but I have heard few bass players attack the bass the way he did, his style of playing was unique. Just as he can pluck guitar strings in a discernable way, his approach to the bass was also unique. Lindsey came from a very decent family of three boys who each made good on their own. Therefore, Linds was a decent chap, he was somewhat of a spiritual center in the band. As a Libra, he brought balance to the group, he mediated heated discussions where there were disputes, brought a sense of levity to things, he was like the glue in the band. He was even-handed, level-headed, with a great sense of humor and genuine musical sensibilities. One time (1970--after I had upset Stevie) he got really mad at me and took a swipe. This was the only time that there had ever been a violent incident among us. Though I asked for it, I know he really regretted that moment of anger as much as I did--he was that type of person. As an expressive singer, Lindsey was a composer's dream. He could handle any vocal challenge put to him. I will always remember that he was always open to trying new things, new styles. When I saw him in 1980 it was almost as though time had not even passed. I valued his friendship then, and shall always wish him well.

You've said that you are into Latin music and other sorts of music. I listen to a wide variety of music for example: John Mclaughlan, The Latin Playboys, Jazz, Blues, Ambient, etc... Where can I get a hold of some of your material that you've been doing or the last couple decades? I'd be really interested to hear some of it. (Jeff Baer, Thorofare, NJ, USA)

Thanks for your interest. My list of recording credits is very meager. Salsa Alacran was the only record I have produced--this was a 12-piece ensemble--Latin Jazz & Salsa. I spent a lot of time in grad school pursuing music degrees. I paid for my school in part by performing in a number of ensembles from 1977 through the 90s. I continue to get calls from salsa bands in the Bay Area. I have formed my own group, called The Pacheco All Stars. Four of us are cousins. I have yet to do a major tour. I have done other session work but it is too little to mention here.

RECORDINGS

1971 Cañada College Choir and Chamber Ensemble, Location Recording Services
1975 Francisco Aguabella, Aguabella Hitting Hard! Epsilon E. Records
1976 Salsa Alacrán, "Adentro/Inside” & “La Cosecha" Arroz Records, JP4-22
1989 Hispanic Art Exhibit/Walkman Tour, Antenna Productions, S. F.
1990 Rafael Manríquez, Canto a Gabriela, Hi-Note Studios, Oakland
1993 Agustín & Patricia, Songs of Love and Struggle, Lira/Wells Prod. Records, Fresno
1994 Juan Oliva, Demo Tape, Los Angeles

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