Jonny Fritz‘s sardonic, clever country rock has just landed him a record deal—signed in gravy at a local soul-food restaurant, natch—and his ATO Records debut, Dad Country, featuring backing from the boys in Dawes, has just hit shelves. He’s also trying to finish up paintings and leatherwork for a list of clients that reads like a who’s-who of the Music City hipsterati. Oh, and he got married to a woman he met at Mardi Gras. “I like to make the impulsive moves,” says Fritz, who used to go by the moniker Jonny Corndawg. Fritz will also be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on him.
Jonny: I bought this thing off eBay about six years ago. It was an impulse buy.
I got in a motorcycle wreck about a month before I bought this one. I got rear-ended by a goddamn 19-year-old kid. She ran a red light and almost killed me. I was thrown about 15 feet into the middle of the street, 12th and Wedgwood in Nashville. She did about two-grand worth of damage to my, bike but I walked away from the accident pretty much unhurt. I got bad back whiplash, though, and had to cancel a bunch of shows because of it, but that’s about it. Anyway, the girl’s mom told me that she couldn’t tell the insurance company about it because it was her fifth wreck that year and would I accept “a big check” to save their family losing their insurance policy. (Yikes, I can’t believe I’m telling this story here—hopefully nobody is judging me.) I accepted the money and fixed my bike with it, but I kept the remainder in a separate account so it wouldn’t spoil my other honest money.
Well, about a month later I was at my girlfriend’s parent’s house in St. Louis, looking for a new toy on Craigslist when this thing popped up. There was just a picture and a link to eBay. I went to the auction, and wouldn’t you believe it, the asking price was the exact dollar amount as my “big check” cursed remaining funny money. I clicked “Buy it Now” without thinking—assuming it was God sent and that ignoring such an obvious message would not go over too well with the man upstairs.
I rented a moving van and trailer and headed out to the home of this old wingnut. The name of the town, another godsend, was Sleeper, Miss., and the sheriff of the town was named Dick Wrinkle—you guessed it, another godsend. I’m telling you, you can’t make this stuff up! The only bummer was that when we finally get to the bike, the oldtimer tells me it hadn’t run since 1989 and it probably never would again. The pictures on eBay were taken the same year I was born, and it’s been living underneath a warm layer of pigeon shit in a barn for the past 20-something years.
Did I buy it? Yes. Did I get it running? Yes? Is it the coolest thing ever? Yes. What am I doing with it now? I have no idea.
Here’s the problem—it weighs 1,800 pounds! So it’ll pop the tires if you were to drive it more than 25 miles per hour. Hell, it blew out the shocks I had on there because of the weight. I made it a hard tail a few years ago, and I clean it all the time so it looks great and can be moved around without too much trouble. All of the lights work and it does technically “run,” but it’s too heavy to ride, so run has become a pretty funny word since it came into my life.
I’m open to suggestions! Get in touch!