Freddie “Schnickelfritz” Fisher Tribute

img001Years before Spike Jones and his City Slickers combined funny music with rude noises and zany, choreographed shows, Freddie Fisher (b. 1904 Lourdes, Iowa) showcased his own brand of Dixieland jazz & hayseed havoc in the mid-1930s. Fisher was expanding upon the sound of then-successful corn-fed cut-ups, The Hoosier Hot Shots. Fisher’s “Schnickelfritz” band antics included punctuating a musical note with the opening outhouse door on stage that revealed a bare-assed occupant; mimicking a locomotive to the tune of “The Wreck of the Old ’97” and peppering their lyrics with double-entendre. img003

Fisher’s Schnickelfritzers initially gained a devoted following playing at the Sugar Loaf Tavern in Winona, Minnesota, then moved to bigger venues in St. Paul-Minneapolis. The band impressed visiting entertainer Rudy Vallee who brought them to Hollywood. Fisher_37Freddie recorded dozens of sides for Decca Records and opened his own nightclub in L.A. Later he made Aspen, Colorado his home and continued to play until his death in 1967.

Dave Michael

Dave Michael

Nels Laakso

Nels Laakso

In honor of Freddie Fisher’s 100th birthday, Jerry with Dave Michael, drummer of the Southside Aces paid tribute on KFAI radio’s Musical Transportation Spree with a two-hour special. Listen: https://archive.org/details/Schnickelfest Internet Archive logo

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The Tony Levin Interview

Jerry & ChrisJerry & Chris Waterbury (pictured left) had the pleasure to speak candidly by telephone with one of guitar’s legends, Tony Levin.

Tony Levin

Tony Levin

Tony describes working with drummer Bill Bruford (Tony & Bill are an important part of King Crimson), specifically their Upper Extremities collaboration featuring David Torn & Chris Botti. Also heard is Black Light Syndromewith Terry Bozzio & Steve Stevens.

Tony is considered one of the greatest exponents of the Chapman Stick (pictured). He’s also a sought-after session musician, playing for Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, Catie Curtis, Buddy Rich and many others. Tony talks about his work with them, running his own independent record label, and his unique love of barbershop quartet harmonizing.

Also heard: The Clams, Tony’s rare 45 spoofing The Carpenters’ “Close to You” (ala Spike Jones).

Listen: https://archive.org/details/musicaltransportationspreetonylevininterview

Internet Archive logoBroadcast 1998 on The Musical Transportation Spree, KFAI Minneapolis-St. Paul.

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