Frizz vs. the Hounds of Hell, Part II…

Writer Wayne Wilson remembers his friend Frizz Fuller:

Rolph was a good dog—one of those rare, sweet-tempered German Shepherds that rarely barks, never bites.

Let us fly, brothers and sisters, on the wings of poesy to the early ’80s and the back yard of a craftsman cottage in Southern California. There, on the yellowed crabgrass Rolph lies snoozing before his own miniature house. Slowly a faint uneasiness tinctures his doggie reveries. He awakens. Those deep, caramel-hued eyes narrow as the wisps of his dreams merge into the hated image: a portly, bespectacled figure, features stamped with a permanent scowl. Rolph bares his teeth and lets out a snarl. He rises. Now, like a tabby sensing the approach of a loathsome rat, Rolph knows only the atavistic compulsion to rend and tear. Raw instinct sends him loping toward the street. His furious barks drown out the whine of leaf-blowers.

Let us imagine a two-tone DeSoto sedan and, behind the wheel, a chubby fellow cast in the very image of Rolph’s nemesis. See him pale as he beholds the hellish creature hurtling unerringly down the center of the pavement toward him.

“Lock the doors!” shouts Frizz—for indeed it is he—to his passengers, who do their very best not to laugh out loud. Tires squeal, and the enraged beast recedes in his rearview mirror.

Will you join me, brothers and sisters, in a silent prayer of thanksgiving?

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Frizz vs. the Hounds of Hell, Part I…

Quick, offer him a cigarette
Quick, offer him a cigarette

Writer Wayne Wilson shares another account of his friend Frizz Fuller:

In the early 1970s I was living on the second floor of one of those dismal stucco apartment complexes in Pomona. One summer night, a friend, Phil, dropped by with a beagle puppy, no more than a few weeks old. He clipped the puppy’s leash to the wrought-iron railing outside. It was a hot night, and I left the front door open so we could keep an eye on the dog, who promptly went to sleep on the warm concrete. My pal and I were chatting, possibly downing a beverage or two, when we gradually became aware of this faint, spectral voice from somewhere in the darkness outide: “Phil . . . Phil . . .”

We looked at each other. “Did you hear something?”
“I’m not sure. Did you?”
“It sounded like somebody calling your name.”
We listened. Nothing.
“Nah—we must have imagined it.”

So we returned to our conversation. Suddenly there was that ghostly voice again, a little more urgent this time: “Phil . . . Phil . . .”
I got up and went to the screen door. There was Frizz, rigid with terror, pinned against the railing by the tiny beagle—wagging its tail excitedly and pawing the songwriter’s shoes, hoping to be petted.

Frizz spotted us at the door. “Phil,” he croaked. “Call off your dog.”

The Inland Empire Hall of Fame

 

Bob "Frizz" Fuller
Bob "Frizz" Fuller

Musician Patrick Brayer shares this remembrance:

This is from a manipulated photo series of what I call, the inland empire hall of fame, of which frizz is one entry

the photo is culled from the one and only picture I ever took of frizz

I was walking out the door of the charleston hospital in vegas when I snapped it

so you are seeing, frozen in space, the last time I laid eyes on Frizz Fuller

Bobo Saxophonus…

Enormous Beaver, Palm Desert, California
Enormous Beaver, Palm Desert, California

Writer Wayne Wilson reminisces:

If pressed, I’d guess that it’s 1971. I’m in the passenger seat of a Volkswagen bus wobbling through Indio en route to Joshua Tree National Park. I sift my moiling thoughts for our mission. The movie, that’s right, we’re going to film the final scenes of a Super 8 film. But where’s the camera? More to the point, where’s my hand? Whew!—right there at the end of my arm! When I reach for the glove compartment my fingers sink into the dashboard as if it’s made of putty.

Ahead the highway writhes toward the horizon, where, casting off rainbow-hued bubbles, it boils into the clouds. Hold on—are those tumbleweeds bordering the pavement? Or enormous beavers? And, by the way, who’s driving?

Nestled in back among a mélange of hysterically giggling companions, Frizz honks away on a battered tenor sax, having taken lessons for about a week. “Wow!” I say, as the notes swirl around my head in a phosphorescent helix. “That’s real funky, you know?”

Frizz puts down the instrument and shrieks with demented laughter for what seems like hours before gasping, “That was ‘Old Black Joe’!”

We’re not the reals..

  

Bob "Frizz" Fuller and Patrick Brayer at the<br>Starvation Café in Fontana, California
Bob "Frizz" Fuller and Patrick Brayer at the Starvation Café in Fontana, California

Musician Patrick Brayer offers this remembrance:

there is no patchwork desert-songster personification that can be pulled from a hat that can do any other than truncate the life and times of  robert “frizz” fuller / to lay an image out that might begin to tell of the “him” might be, the bathwater warmth of the santa anas frisking a coulter pine, shadowless in in-patient struggle, amidst a bossa nova borax mesa / did he have the eggs of free-range hens and beef brains for easter breakfast? / did he eye the cranes, white nor pink, and carom through the desert by the quartz light of a tiki torch, searching for an imaginary woman, a trailer park figurine, a fatherless child in tow, slung to the hip, the night whipping the drooping flag of a mythic prostitute’s long hair / he once lived briefly at the orange hotel in ontario california, he once took the carpet off up to the cement, painted everything army barracks green, walls, table, salt shaker, everything, and then wrote “martians at the window (and you in my arms)” 

Read the complete remembrance: Frizz Fuller: “we’re not the reals”

Sweet’N Low life…

 

sweet-n-low-lifeWriter Wayne Wilson remembers his friend:

The early ’80s found me living in San Luis Obispo on California’s Central Coast, where the neo-hippie community had elevated holistic dietary principles nearly to the status of a religion. One summer afternoon the peripatetic Frizz, passing through town on one of his many mysterious journeys, stopped to visit me, and we drove to a whole foods café.  

A young woman, glowing with health, brought us coffee, and Frizz asked her for some artificial sweetener.

“I’m sorry,” she said with a faintly pitying smile, “we don’t serve anything that causes cancer.”

Frizz fixed her with a stony gaze. “That’s all right,” he said, “I’ve already got it.”

He left as abruptly as he arrived…

 

kranich-and-bach

Denver artist, musician, photographer, and filmmaker John Ware is a member of Reckless Red.

In 1967 I moved back to Claremont. I guess I was planning on being a full time artist, but looking back I reckon I didn’t know what that meant. It’s hard to get out of grad school and hang up a shingle like an accountant. Hell, making art is hard. With a new wife and sketchy plans I managed to get a Craftsman house through the faculty housing office at Pomona College. They assumed I was on staff. I didn’t correct them. It was on Mills Avenue across from the wash in a mixed neighborhood of aging houses and cheap apartments common to college towns across the nation.

One spring morning my friend, Chris Darrow, stopped by to visit with an odd character in tow — Frizz Fuller. We sized each other up, drank some cheap wine, and Frizz discovered my piano, a Kranich and Bach 1895 upright grand. Frizz discovered my piano for the better part of a day. He made my wife kinda nervous, but I think everything made her a little nervous in the first couple of years of being paired with me. I thought Frizz just eccentric, but I enjoyed his rather aggressive attack on my piano. I can promise he enjoyed it.

Life was inexpensive and uncomplicated. I loved that instrument and kept it in tune. I learned that Frizz loved it too. Admittedly, our front door was seldom locked, and the first time I heard that piano in the early morning I thought I was dreaming. Of course I recognized Frizz’s sound, but we were still in bed and weren’t expecting a musical intrusion. It was the first of many impromptu free-form visitations from Frizz over the next few years. Claremont was a town of curious people. It was a curious time. Frizz was always welcome in my home. He seldom spoke to either of us. He just walked in the front door, made a sharp left turn, pulled up the stool and started playing. When he was finished with whatever he was working on, he left as abruptly as he arrived. We grew to accept the Frizz concerts (occasionally late at night and never with warning) as a benefit of residence. That was a grand union: Frizz and my Kranich and Bach.

A Frizz by any other name…

frizz-nicknames1“Frizz” was not the only nickname for Bob Fuller. According to screenwriter, author, and longtime friend, Wayne Wilson, Frizz was variously known as, Bobo, Bug, Bughouse, Frazzbo, Frink, Frizz, Frisbe, Froob, Frooba, the Hound, the Lad, Lowboy, Lug, Luggard, Lugger, Plug, Plugger, Plughound, and Streamlined Daddy.

According to Wilson:
“Streamlined Daddy” — that one may invite some explanation. After a mysterious absence of a month or so, Frizz turned up at our communal dwelling — The House of Space and Time — in Pomona, having shaved his head and gained at least 50 pounds. “Bob?” said one of our compadres, as this rotund figure, eyes of polished flint hidden by sunglasses, came huffing and puffing up the driveway.  “No,” was the businesslike reply. “Streamlined Daddy.”

Mojo mystery solved…

chris-solves-mysteryLetter from musician Chris Darrow published in a recent issue of Mojo:

Chris Solves the Mystery

Re your Mystery Man query in Mojo 180. When I first met Bob “Frizz” Fuller he was already a brilliant, 16-year-old songwriter. Frizz was a student of the arcane and the unusual in American music. Over the ensuing years we became very dear friends. In the early ’70s, Denny Bruce and I took Frizz into the studio and recorded him singing 10 of his classic tunes. He was playing an old upright piano, in an eclectic, honky tonk style.

Later, in the mid-’70s, Frizz signed with my publishing company, Indian Hill Music, and my partner, Randy Talmadge and I helped him place some songs. I recorded him again, later on, with such luminaries as David Lindley, John Ware, Frank Reckard, Randy Sterling and myself. Soon after, Walter Egan produced some sides on him, including the fabulous Surfing Ghost.

A short time after, David lindley and Jackson Browne did some tracks with Frizz featuring Russ Kunkel on drums. Sadly, none of these sessions has ever been released. Over the years his songs would be covered by a number of artists, such as Lindley, wold champion surfer Corky Carroll, Kaleidoscope, and myself. The only recording of Frizz Fuller was on Harvey Kubernik’s Voices of the Angels spoken word album in 1981, wherein he read a poem. Novelist Kem Nunn used Frizz and Robb Strandlund’s lyrics before each chapter in Unassigned Territory.

Frizz died as a result of lung complications a couple of years ago.
Chris Darrow, e-mail

Editor’s note: Chris Darrow the provider of several excellent solo albums, was a founding member of Kaleidoscope, hailed by Jimmy Page as “My favorite band of all-time.”