I recently learned "The" Jonathan Fritz was playing at the Bitter End. I couldn't believe the world known musician played at such small venues, (The Bitter End is a well kept secret, it always has the greatest artists there) and I hoped he would do an interview after his show. As soon as he unplugged his guitar after 3AM I approached him. He said he could spare a few minutes with me while he and his band mates packed up... this guy is not only the most talented muscian but an extremely articulate gentleman,,,the epitome of cool.
In the words of Jonathan Fritz....
On Traveling: “My understanding on life is every culture has a way of life, this is where I find my center core…and this helps me create my music.”
On Culture: “Every culture has wisdom of how to live life in a beautiful way depending on what’s available. I’m always fascinated about using that attitude in a different place. Take for example…the Caribbean; it’s laid back, if you’re late meeting someone no one notices, but here…when you come back it’s like a pin ball machine and you feel like your getting bounced around. One time I was going into the Lincoln Tunnel and this Soprano looking dude tries to cut me off but there’s no room for me to move. He gets so pissed he pulls over and comes up to me. I was in a Caribbean, mellow state and did not react. My “Caribbean choice” worked better than my “New York choice” to fight back in this situation. I believe the more places and cultures you are exposed to, the better you can communicate with everyone, the better you can react…”
On Change: “Every place has its seductions and irritations, if you stay somewhere too long; the irritations take over the seductions. If I lived here all year long, that’s how I would feel, that’s why I can’t stay here…”
On Success: “I’m good because I’m successful at networking, following leads, I’m always working. Moreover, I have the ability to make my instrument SING anywhere: England, Spain…I’m going to get a gig. I work for myself, sell my own CDs. I can hire myself and take time off. I go after it, I hit the pavement, I generate a lot and I don’t mind doing it. My audience is vast: tweens, teens, young and old…and this is what I put into creating the CDs, which for me is also a healing process. Recently, I was one of the headlines in New Mexico, I got paid really well and I wasn’t even the singer!”
On inspiration: “What I care about is the music and the inspiration; I don’t really dwell on the negative aspects of it. As an artist, I would say I don’t like to waste time. Therefore, whenever I’m traveling, I record my own stuff. Take for example, I’m delayed in Denver to Houston, during the delay I can edit or if I’m driving I can use a car lighter to do some work. Right now I’m creating music from different genres on a blues record with an acoustic slide, with two Nuevo flaminco, rock and stylisitlly void…I’m always trying to fit it with more verse chorus, point A to B, where nothing is repeated, it’s sort of like a stream of consciousness.”
On Europe: “What it is (over there) people treat musicians like royalty. They really LISTEN…to everything! Everything I said, everything I did, and they remember and really know where I was coming from. During one trip to Italy I ended up teaching so many people…they were coming into see me all the time. The European government believes art has value, I’m generalizing of course, but here it’s only considered valuable if it’s famous. Because of this the representation of the promotion of art is not good. What began with Peter Frampton in 1976 (turning point for investors who became interested in money making through music) ended with people with money who did not know, appreciate or understand good music…good music and good art can leave me high for weeks, I call it ‘lifting rooms’ and sadly the way the industry is today in the American society, many listeners will never experience this because they are not being exposed to it (good music)”
On Good Tunes: “A lot of times, I listen to what I have to learn. I don’t like to play anything that isn’t heartfelt, if something is done with beauty, grace…it’s the intent, the feeling. You come into this world alone and you leave alone, what is the connection? What did you leave behind? Good music has authority and elegance; even if it’s ugly or harsh…I live and breathe this.”
On the Creative Process: “The gods I worship are of inspiration, the challenge is if I’m not inspired, how do I inspire myself, I figure out how to create that energy on my own…that’s why people get depressed. Music and art have always been a part of that, artists are the Shamans of our period, it’s a journey. Musicians are the antennas to the cosmos. All great art is timeless but every generation has to create their own. I’ve created a fusion that no one has ever done; I’m verse in chorus…new spin on the same thing. It’s an expression of what it is to be human: happy, sad, making connections, seeing the feelings. When I play well, others see themselves, they don’t see me. Through art, a person can learn who they are…in the creative process, you don’t choose what you do by technical things but by feelings and moods. I don’t think of the cords. If I have to think about it, it’s not the same affect. Regardless of what you do whether you are a doctor or a plumber…doesn’t matter, there are always obstacles, I don’t treat them personally and let them fuck with the end product. When people realize how to do this, then can get past it (doubt), the power of positivism is my religion. I am really lucky to be working with such great people and doing what I love to do for a living.”
On Family: “I am a much centered person because of my family. I don’t have anger issues that people who aren’t free from that darkness…to get there is work and there’s work and there’s no way around it. Even if you’re talented, it’s all about hard work-there is no other way, there’s no short cut, I live and breathe this. You must learn the rules before you break them. My father is an artist, he is an exceptional painter. However, I also learned from many other places, like flamingo players…funk is tight; rock-n-roll is looser. Now when I meet brilliant people I can learn certain stylistics. For example I have a friend who recently taught me something that took him years to master and learn, he taught me so much, he had these beautiful rules.”
On Parenthood: “It was my next natural step. I love the fact that I can give to someone what I have, show him things, give him shortcuts in life…I would look at it as wisdom. As a kid I saw Steve Ray Vaughn. I started (playing) late, 15-16; however, I played music since I was five. I’ve always had the ability to pick up and experiment (sipping water). Since my son was born, I’ve become more aware of investments and I work smarter, not harder. Recently I played at Joe Kelly’s Upper Room, a radio station endorsed by Prince because he cares so much about the good music they play, this station always interviews the latest funk and it’s just a great source of promotion
Saturday, September 27, 2008
MySpace.com - Jonathan Fritz Acoustic - New York - Acoustic / Latin / Other - www.myspace.com/jonathanfritzacoustic