Minden resident hearkens back to rock past
October 29, 2013
Minden resident Fritz Schweigert's past has finally caught up with him.
Prior to moving to Carson Valley 21 years ago, the 52-year-old musician played in the hard rock band, Love Razors, which was a fixture in the Hollywood rock scene.
In April, Schweigert was contacted by a record label out of Nashville interested in releasing some of his old music.
"When I was first contacted by FnA Records, I thought it was one of my old band mates messing with me, but then I talked to the art director from the label, and found out he was a really big fan of the band. Heck, what did we have to lose? It was just sitting on some master tapes in someone's garage," Schweigert said. "I vetted the label through some people I knew who were still in the business and they said it was legit. They are very much a boutique label specializing in '80s and early '90s hard rock and glam, but they are passionate about the bands they sign and apparently there is a decent market for it. I'm sure I'll have to keep my day job, though."
During their time together Love Razors recorded demos for various record companies who showed interest in the band, but never offered them a record contract.
Schweigert joined the band in 1986 as the bass player along with singer Sten Sarracino, guitarist Tom Sarracino and drummer Jamie Simone.
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Within a short period of time, the Love Razors were one of the top draws in L.A., and being managed by heavyweight firm Sanctuary (Nigel Harrison, onetime bassist for Blondie was their manager during most of their time together).
During this period they also drew opening slots on L.A., Orange County and San Diego tour dates for English hard rockers Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction, as well as moody English gothic rockers Mission UK (formerly Sisters of Mercy).
When not playing in L.A., the Razors played during this same period at the Stone and Nightbreak clubs in San Francisco, Annie Oakley's in Las Vegas, the Bacchanal in San Diego, and the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano as well as the Ventura Theater in Ventura Calif.
"Playing in LA in the late '70s and early '80s was amazing. It was such a hotbed for all kinds of cool music. I grew up seeing Van Halen and some of the really seminal punk bands like the Simpletones at backyard parties and it seemed like music was everywhere," Schweigert said. "Later when I started playing we played shows with The Circle Jerks, The Dickies, Mötley Crue, Jane's Addiction, X, Faster Pussycat, Sisters of Mercy. Just great, great bands and times. I was a musician, but I was a fan before that, so it was very addicting. We were always kind of a hybrid band because all of us had such different tastes, but we made it work musically. Punk was my true love, but the other guys were more traditional hard rock influenced."
The band played one last reunion show as Love Razors in 1991 during their annual Christmas party at the former Sunset Club in Sierra Madre, Calif.
Schweigert and his wife moved to Minden in 1992 with their oldest daughter, Rebecca, who was 1 at the time after deciding to raise their family in a small town, and not L.A., where they both grew up.
"Really we moved here on a whim. I knew the area because when I was little we vacationed in the summer at South Lake Tahoe almost every year," he said. "After I stopped playing music we decided it would be a good place to raise a family and it was close enough to UNR that I could commute to school while finishing my degree."
After graduating in 1995, Schweigert was planning on teaching, but after doing student teaching he decided it wasn't for him.
He got a job working at Bently Nevada where he still works.
"When I first stopped playing, I missed it so much that I sold all my gear, most of my guitars and all my big amps, to pay for tuition at UNR, but also I think it helped to not have to see it around. When we first moved to the Valley I sold change at Harveys and then the CVI at night after school and it was hard for me to even watch the casino bands play because it made me want to play so badly," Schweigert said. "Over time it got easier and I sort of forgot about it. I didn't even pick up a guitar for about seven or eight years because it was kind of painful. But once I did again, maybe 10 years ago, it just felt so great. Like I turned on a faucet and all this music came pouring out. It was amazing. Even though my playing took a while to get back to form."
His life since moving to Carson Valley has revolved around raising his daughters and coaching the girls soccer team, the Elements.
Rebecca, 22, is a 2009 graduate of DHS and 2013 graduate of UNR, and Hannah,16, is a junior at Douglas High School and plays on the varsity soccer team.
When the Love Razors album was released three weeks ago, Schweigert said his daughters were thrilled.
"After I told them about the album coming out, I think they thought I was kidding. But after it came out they blasted messages to all their friends on Facebook about how proud they are of their dad," he said. "They grew up with music and knew what I did when I was younger. We always took them to lots of rock and punk shows in Reno. I think Hannah was 5 or 6 when she saw her first live show. And while Rebecca was in middle and high school I was always carting her and her friends to shows in Sparks and Reno."
The album is made up of demos the band did for Capitol, MCA and Hollywood records.
The material had never been released formally except on some tapes sold back in the '80s at shows.
The music spans recordings from 1987-90.
"We are being asked to play a reunion show in Hollywood in a few months, but not sure it will happen. Everyone is so busy doing their own things, and no one but the guitar player still makes a living in music. He is a guitar teacher," Schweigert said. "I'm still very close with everyone from the band and see them a couple times a year. Everyone but me has lost their hair, but I'm sure in their mind's eye they still have plenty of hair. I've known all of them for so long, they are just part of my fabric. Jamie Simone (the drummer) and I usually play in his front room when I go down to LA for holidays, just an acoustic guitar and his drum kit. Same as we have done since we were 14."