Monday, November 21, 2005

Fritz Richmond Passing 1939-2005

I am saddened by the news of the death of the innovative and ever delightful Fritz Ricmond. This is a bio written by longtime friend of Fritz's,Geoff Muldaur:


Fritz Richmond was the undisputed all-time king and
world champion of
the jug and the washtub bass; nowhere better
demonstrated than by the
Smithsonian Institution’s inclusion of Fritz’s
instruments in its

Fritz was born John B. Richmond, Jr. in Newton,
Massachusetts on July
10th, 1939. He attended local schools in Newton and
graduated from
Newton High School as a member of the class of ’58.

Fritz’s interest in homemade instruments started in
late-1958 or
early-1959 when, with friends John “Buz” Marten and
John Nagy he went
to Sears Roebuck to purchase his first washtub. Using
a broom handle
and a piece of rope, Fritz was almost immediately able
to play… and
play well. The boys formed a folk group called The
Hoppers (named
because there were three Johns!), and performed in the
Boston-area coffee houses.

Fritz continued to play the washtub through his term
of duty in the US
Army (1959-61), during which he served as a helicopter
mechanic in
Germany and Korea. Of note, and certain interest to
afficionados, is
the likelihood that, to this very day, Fritz is the
only member of the
US Army to have ever “played” a Quonset hut.

During his early days as part of the Boston and
Massachusetts folk music scene, Fritz provided his
solid bass lines for
Eric Von Schmidt, Geoff Muldaur, Tom Rush, The Charles
River Valley
Boys and many others. Fritz was a founding member of
The Jim Kweskin
Jug Band (1963) and it was with that band that Fritz
began playing the
jug. His unique talent was given nationwide attention
on US tours and
national television with the Kweskin Band (Steve Allen
Show, Johnny
Carson, Mike Douglas, Roger Miller, Pat Boone et al.).

After the Kweskin Jug Band disbanded in 1968, Fritz
moved to Los
Angeles. He continued his life as a musician in LA,
but he primarily
worked as a recording engineer with producer Paul
Rothchild at Elektra
Studios. He engineered sessions for The Doors,
Jackson Browne, Bonnie
Raitt, Lonnie Mack, The Everly Brothers et al. As a
musician during
that period, he recorded with Ry Cooder, Brown, The
Doors and many

Since the late 1970s, Fritz lived in Portland, Oregon
with his wife,
Cynda Herbold. He worked as a legal assistant at the
law firm
Markowitz, Herbold, Glade and Mehlhaf and performed
locally with his
jug band, The Barbecue Orchestra. He played during
this time with
Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, John
Sebastian, Geoff
Muldaur and others, with recent tours of Europe and
Japan. He also
performed several times on Garrison Keillor’s A
Prairie Home Companion,
where he once astounded the audience with his jug
performances, with
The Turtle Isle String Quartet, of The Flight of the
Bumblebee and Eine
Kleine Nachtmusik.

Fritz Richmond lost a year-long battle with lung
cancer on November
20th, 2005.