By Caleb Calhoun
The Fritz has a lot to be thankful for these days.
The Asheville-based funk band has a new record coming out next fall, a live album in the works, and a rapidly growing fan base. The band is also coming off an outstanding festival season that culminated in one of the most well-received shows at Hullaween.
Friday night, they’ll bring their hard-hitting brand of funk home to the Asheville Music Hall for what promises to be one of the biggest parties of the year, Fritzgiving. The lineup features opening act Hustle Souls as well as a late-night set by DJ Marley Carroll.
While this will not be a two-set show, the extended set should be enough for their fans to get their fix. With a new album in the works ,it seems likely that there will be quite a few new songs for their faithful to enjoy.
“A lot of the songs (on the new album) have been written in the last month,” percussionist Mikey Spice offers proudly.
“Our most recent stuff is the best reflection of our material. We actually played a few of them for Dave (Brandwein) a few weeks ago in New York and he could tell the difference between what we had written recently and what we had not.”
If that’s the case, then listeners are in for a treat because, to be honest, Bootstrap, their first and only offering to date, was one helluva record. Spice says the band’s songwriting has only grown from there.
“Up until about two years ago we wrote from a more traditional standpoint,” Spice tells me. “One person would bring a song and the rest of us would work out our pieces. Now someone just brings an idea and together we all explore every nuance of it that we can.”
The only rule they have, according to Spice, is that “if anyone has an idea, no matter how big, small, or crazy, we have to hear it played back one time before we say no.”
That seems like a solid rule for a band covering as much ground as The Fritz. While their baseline is funk, their sound is clearly influenced by a number of diverse styles, ranging from prog-rock to jam to pop. The one thing that every song has in common is that you can shake your damn ass to it.
While not prolific in the studio yet, The Fritz has made quite a name for themselves as a live act. With more than seven years playing together, and hundreds upon hundreds of shows, they’ve built a level of chemistry that far exceeds that of your average band.
“This is the family that we have created for ourselves,” says Spice. “We’ve become best friends.”
There may not be any turkey, stuffing or pumpkin pie (although, if you check out The Fritz on Facebook, you could be led to believe that there will be cranberry sauce) at the show Friday. But anyone who makes it out to Asheville Music Hall gets to celebrate Thanksgiving as one of the Fritz family. And what a funky-ass family gathering it promises to be.
Caleb Calhoun studied writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and music at a plethora of clubs and bars across the southeast. He is the author and publisher of Rosman City Blues and currently resides outside of Asheville with his dog and best friend, Dr. Gonzo.