Words by Sean Moeller // Illustration by Johnnie Cluney // Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
The days can be cruel sons of bitches sometimes. They hit us without warning when they're really strong, when they hit us hard, when they want everything and they hold us up by the ankles and shake everything out of our pockets. They crouch down and collect everything that just fell from our persons while we sit helpless and stunned a few feet away, dejected and bitter. We watch as those days walk away from us and only gain a little satisfaction when we throw up two wagging middle fingers that they never turn around to see us holding. Most of the time, we're glad that they don't turn around because we'd hate to find out what might happen if they saw, took offense and refocused their efforts to do us in. These days that are sons of bitches are fairly rare though, coming at us few and far between. They just leave a lot of residue. More often, what we get are those days that are periodically shitty, but they clear up quickly after the damage has been done, leaving us with a far greater percentage of the day that's not half bad and there we are stuck having to figure out how we're going to treat it.
We've been on the other end of a phone line with Jonny Fritz (formerly known as the great Jonny Corndawg) on the same day that his beloved motorcycle died on him for the last time, after spending nearly everything he'd saved to buy it and ride it home. We've heard him talk about loneliness and the hard road in ways that don't sound at all like complaining, but real, full-bodied pain. We've watched the amazing documentary, "Stray Dawg," filmed by Sean Dunne, that follows Fritz for the last few days of his journey toward running the Surf City Marathon, at the end of a run of dates, opening for his buddies Dawes. It's a touching and intimate snapshot of one man working through his life - making it as adventuresome, making it as beautiful and interesting as possible - the best that he can. It's about training for and covering the distance of 26.2 miles, but it's all kinds of other things. It's just the way his songs work.
So, some songs are about forgetting - unlike those fucking Andersons down the street - to take out the garbage on Monday morning, but they are more about the odd relationship with a girl that carries through the songs. Man, is she ever going to be pissed about the garbage not getting out. He's going to hear about it and times are going to be tense for a while. It's such a little matter and yet it is a SIT-U-FUCKIN-ATION. It's not just the garbage and it's not just being forgetful. It's everything hitting all at once. A motorcycle breaking down isn't the end of the world, but being stuck out on the highway with it, after spending every cent you had on it, might be. Every time we see Fritz, he's more the person he seems meant to be. The boots look better. The beard is where it should be and the ranched up Cosby sweaters are a nice added touch. The small particulars and all of those pretty nuances of daily life are still his bread and butter, when it comes to writing. He lives for the contradictions. He lives for the humor in all of the seriousness that we get worked into a lather over and yet most of that humor might stand for some pretty dark, bleak laughs. He believes in the beautiful nights and the kinds of good friends, those great buds that you'd lay down for and yet all of them combined sometimes aren't enough to keep the blue days away.
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