Jonny Fritz

Sid The Cat & Bootleg Theater Present

Jonny Fritz

Albert and his Dreamboats

Sat. June 9, 2018

8:30 pm

Bootleg Theater - Bar Stage

Los Angeles, CA

$15.00

This event is 21 and over

Jonny Fritz
Jonny Fritz
Jonny Fritz is back- with a new album, a new hip, and a new homebase in Los Angeles, California. When last we met our hero, Jonny had just wrapped up the purgative classic, Dad Country, his call to the rising generation for a renewed lyricism in country music, recorded in Jackson Browne’s personal recording studio and released by ATO records. Now in his newest, Sweet Creep, the lyricism returns, but with a wide hopeful grin. Recorded in Jim James’ makeshift hilltop studio in Montecito Heights, where golden twilight fills up thirsty grass valleys, Sweet Creep reverberates with the same feeling of sunny new vistas. From the empathetic “Are You Thirsty?“ to the summer-crushy “Humidifier,“ Sweet Creep is a freshly-signed lease on life, with the movers downstairs waiting by the truck.
For the couple years prior, Jonny hobbled around the globe on a hip fractured in an ill-advised marathon run. He bounced between Malibu, New Delhi, Houston, Australia, Montana, Tokyo, Mount Hood, London then back again, looking for the right landing for the album, to no avail. He jumped from town to town and house and house, unpacking and packing up, with characteristic restlessness-until one day, the pieces all snapped together. A doctor looks up from the x-ray and wisely says “son, you need hip surgery.“ Jonny finally buckles down in Los Angeles to make music and leatherwork because, as he puts it, “Nashville had gotten too LA for me.“ And then with some welcome advice from Jim James, Jonny throws himself into Sweet Creep by stripping things down to the essentials. He gathered up the crew-Nashville’s Joshua Hedley and Dawes’ Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith-and literally recorded the whole album outdoors, in three days, underneath a tent purchased at Home Depot, with half the equipment “borrowed“ from Guitar Center. The fresh air, freedom from studio pressures, and strong cups of tea all mix into the music, with ATVs briefly heard in the background and two senior tortoises listening at Hedley’s feet as he fiddles away. If as John Hartford tells us, “style comes from limitation,“ Jonny credits Jim James for much of the pared-down and uninhibited sound of Sweet Creep. James encouraged the first takes, the simpler set-up, the outdoors, and the worry-free flow that coasts us from the first to the last of the record.
Born in Montana and raised in Esmont, Virginia, Jonny has passed weeks in nearly every city in the United States, and plenty others overseas, cramming ten lives into one, and half his possessions into the garages of friends and well-wishers. But despite the vitalism and exploits he’s gained a name for, most of his music comes from the smaller moments. He takes a weird little piece of life, unnoticed by most, then steeps it in song until it’s ready for vinyl. The overlooked sorrows of a fellow party goer. The real tedium and pains-in-the-ass of touring life, rather than the mystique. An old residential hotel, once hidden back, but whose uncurtained windows now tell human stories to the drivers-by on a newly built highway. An impromptu songwriting session with a friend’s four-year old daughter that includes the line “I burped in my pants then the party was over“ and ends in a cloud of Jonny’s laughter. In contrast to the heartsick Dad Country, the songs of Sweet Creep are, if not always brimming, at least fully accepting of his fortunes. On a song like “I Love Leaving,“ Jonny even learns to love his own discontent, surmising “but me I hate talking ’bout the good old days / I never want go down memory lane / I only want to get into the passing lane, and I’ve always been that way / I guess I love leaving, leaving when I said goodbye.“
Sure enough, for all the anguish it may sometimes bring him, we have this discontent to thank for Jonny’s tremendous creative range-his It’s-a-Fritz leatherwork seen on stars and stages all over, his forays into character acting and hosting his own variety show Who’s That Singin’, his public love of vehicles, country legend, chill animals, and craft of any kind-not to mention the constant stream of deep goofing that turns even his average days into a show well worth watching. Jonny is a torchbearer in that celebrated country music tradition of giant-sized personalities overflowing into song. John Hartford, Roger Miller, Billy Joe Shaver-fans look to these country musicians for more than just music strictly speaking. They look for life, for outrageous legend-for a showmanship on and offstage that Jonny Fritz will never fail to deliver. He might not have shot anybody, or spent any considerable time in prison, but in Sweet Creep, he reminds himself and his fans, that sometimes great lives can also be pretty good ones.
Albert and his Dreamboats
Albert and his Dreamboats
Welcoming you in with the gregarious porch-hang manifesto Cheap Beer and fare-thee-welling on the post-romantic I Don’t Love You, Albert and His Dreamboats’ debut album Glad We Spent the Time effortlessly pairs high musicianship with lyrical wit in an odd brand of honky tonk that is half Roger Miller, half Frank Zappa, and kissed all over by the Southern Californian sun. Prior to the Dreamboats, all the members— Thomas Berg, Robert Anderson, Lincoln Mendell, and Albert himself— were crackjack session musicians, trained to nail down an album in a matter of days. So naturally when Albert gathered up these long-admired talents and locked them into the Dreamboat line-up, out would pop tightly-arranged songs gleaming with flourish— New Boots, Friday Nights, and I Think You Kinda— all produced and dialed to effect by Jason Soda down at Palomino Studios. The album consists of roughly two halves: one for the pals, the other for the gals. For the gals are the songs of tender uncertainty— I Think You Kinda or Ready for Someone— that warble with the negotiations of love. For the pals are grinning numbers like California, New Boots, John Wayne, and Friday Night, all about loving life— even when that life consists of napping after a TV dinner or cruising up the generally-unappreciated 405 to Northern California where “the air is always brisk and clear. All the girls are playing bongos are rarely ever wash their hair. You can find me up at the Fisherman’s Wharf with a brown bag bottle of beer.”

The Dreamboat humor has a longer story, but was evident from the get-go, when Albert and His Dreamboats first truly synergized during a month-long residency at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles. On top of their musical acts and stage antics, and as Albert himself delivered a keynote presentation in a Steve Jobs turtleneck, the crowd was plugged with a thumbdrive replete with videos, songs, those same songs converted into ringtones, a folio of printable, pre-autographed band photos, and— à propos of nothing— a basketball videogame. The attendees left puzzled but well-apprised of the humor at the heart of the Dreamboats project. “I actually had do some of the animation for the videogame myself,” Albert notes, “because originally the player jumped up and down but didn’t let go of the ball. But you know, letting go of the ball— it’s a big part of basketball.” Albert was made and raised by two comedic actors who taught their son how much laughter lifts even the heaviest of things. And it’s this same mix of laughter and pathos that inspired both the record and centerpiece track, Glad We Spent the Time, a tribute to the time Albert remained home for the golden years of his father and life-inspiration, Dwayne Hickman, best known from the TV series The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. As Albert reflects, “It’s strange to have been so superhappy during such a difficult time. There’s this closeness with friends and family, where we get to rehearse all day then sit down for a big spaghetti dinner all together. And at the end of the day, that’s what this record is about— it’s about regretting nothing...and letting go of the ball.”
Venue Information:
Bootleg Theater - Bar Stage
2220 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90057
http://www.bootlegtheater.org/