Eccentric Country R&B of Illinois Payson
Narrated by Jethro Payson. Back in the land of Illinois fields and forests, we used to listen to everything: Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Blues, Trane's Blues John Coltrane. Fast Eddie Fritz, whom you'll meet shortly, went to CD first with his Bachs and Beethovens and the thousand dollar machine. There was more to hear. Heavy Metal. AC/DC, Hanoi Rocks. The elder Joneses, Brian and Paul, two before Mick. Physical Graffiti. Listening with my Grand Fury; a plymouth rock afloat. When I was seven I'd listen to Kiss and The Beatles, but I found the real stuff was more blues, more improvisation. Long stretches of time and melody spanning space. My barefeet on that patchy road. It was my Uncle. He taught us everything we knew, me and Eddie. Probably my sisters also. He lived in Hoffman Estates, a world of vinyl. He had an old Willie Nelson album, he said 'See? That's his guitar before he wore the hole in it.' The first song he taught me was 'Heroin' because it was only two chords. His guitars had the paint worn off of the back of the neck, and he taught us to tune (tried i should say). We would see all kinds of incredible things if we were over at our Uncle's house, hear all kinds of wonderful records, but as for me, i am only just now getting over these videos he had recorded, 'The Roots of Rock' and 'The Roots of Rock Part II: The Brittish Invasion'. 'Twas, for me then, a connection to the truth. Someday we would move to Chicago, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Fort Collins, Hawaii, Israel, Washington Heights, Williamsburg, Wash. D.C., Fort Lee, Kanab, Laying our own tracks? The shallowness of rock wasn't lost on us but we played some blues and jazz, industrial dance while burning copious amounts of fuel. We'd play disco's, danceclubs, vaudeville. We would've won that talent show at Cabrini Green, but it was vs. little kids. (T'was a contest to play taste of Chicago) 'Are there limits?' we'd ask ourselves...' and 'why all this vitriolic hyperbole?' Before High School Alex studied alto sax. He quit, which was a poor decision, but he grabbed a couple of guitars and practiced some, exiting public school for the Chicago Academy for the Arts. Previously he was into Hendrix and Randy Rhoads but at the Academy he was turned onto vintage Chicago blues by current pro players such as Dwayne Richardson, Pete Kovachavic and the Lewis brothers Bobby and Frayne. He subsequently has been known as Sparky, Dizzy, and Lodi Wooster. Edward George Fritz is my esteemed older brother and the bass player emeritus of the Illinois Payson. A short segment from his coming biogaphry, possibly being written by Bryan Mandel, says much of Eddie. 'Eddie Fritz and me sitting at the DMV waiting for my ticket number to be called. I had my license revoked years ago, shortly after I had received it. I was applying for a new one. It was hot; we waited for hours. The clock ticked a catatonic 12:30pm, it's third hand struggling and stifled at forty-two seconds. three hours we sat there in orange chairs made from strong plastic. Eddie Fritz slid a chair below the clock. He stood on it, separated the clock from the wall, and heaved it into a trash bin. People began to point and whisper; security was notified. I jumped up laughing nervously and grabbed a marker from Fritzs sack, and scrawled on the wall with it: The Act of . . . or The Definitive State of Being That morning at the DMV, Fritz was wearing a patchwork collage of Indian silks and Victorian style angels as pants, his leather American flag slippers, and a ten-dollar poets shirt. He had appeared via a cameo in some film. He was growing a mustache in public. As security came, I grabbed Eddie and told him to sign the wall. As luck would have it, just as security arrived Eddie shouted 'I won't sign it!' - and, somebody recognized him. A small group of disjointed types pleaded with the guard, explaining who Eddie Fritz was, and others, soon recognizing the name, joined in convincing the officer of our protection that Fritz was one of the more important people that he might encounter. They decided to rope off the affected area and after much publicity the section of the wall was removed, and sold for 2.4 million dollars, to a private German collector; FastEddieFritz's.com's most expensive piece yet, setting him atop the heap. In light of all circumstances, Eddie kept the money giving me authorship rights.' Whew Eddie keeps it going. He is keen at finding faces in images. I first learned Alex was Jewish while we were working for Mr. John Kessler of Des Plaines, IL, mowing the hillside yards of nearby Barrington. He took off for a Holiday and he told me he really believed in his 'religion'. It would be years later I would discover what 'religion' actually was. Hmm and I'd like to explain maybe as the blog unfurls. And so it was I, my brother Eddie Fritz, and Alex Remer ventured towards lofts lofting over other lofts on Milwaukee and Damen in Shytown, trying to 'grasp the azure' with all the flash & all the substance. For me though tragedy struck in the midst of these high times. In the form of a girl I met one gig, if you know what I mean. I was detoured, however G-d lays the path of a mans choosing at his feet and who I am is true and good and correct. I wound up in Ft. Collins, CO. for work in restaurants. Lonely and out of place, and then lo and behold, my band, The Seculars, got the world's smallest record contract on the now defunct 360Twist! Records. Alex and Eddie had started playing with The Ocean, a.k.a. drummer Sanjay Mehta. A friendship made at Phyllis Musical Inn on Damen. Clems lair. It was a great trio, with a brief output of sonic radiance culminating in the garage classic, El Garage of limited availability. But Alex was soon to follow my lead and left town though compelled by other forces than my own. He moved to NYC, uptown, to attend Yeshiva University. I had been listening to what Alex and Sanjay and Eddie were doing with El Garage and longed to be a part of it. So did Eddie, who had moved to Hawaii after Alex's departue but was returning mainland. So the tres amigos were back together again, this time mounting the Heights in NYC. Eddie drove his Isuzu pup pick 'em up with Hawaiian plates. I took it for a ride one day and the police just couldn't wrap their minds around it. They stopped me and swarmed me with guns drawn. They were sure I had the Hawaiian. 'Sorry, Officer!' I mustered. 'My pal is at Yeshiva University and we're on a mission from G-d!' 'Sure ya are!'