drivel; it's embarrassing. But you have to
have one or no one will know what to write
about you. So here it is, and for the readers
sake I promise not to drift into that record
corp. journalistic style where I pretend to be
an unassociated third party who absolutely
loves this band. Okay? Oh yeah, I'm Fritz Beer
(nice to meet you).
I started Punchy shortly after moving to
Austin from St. Louis. My goal was to form a
band that highlighted a singer/songwriter - me
- but maintained the "group" aesthetic that,
as a midwesterner, I always liked. I was
thinking of Son Volt but not as country, The
Replacements but not as drunk, The Clash but
not as English. To me these groups epitomize
songwriting without being folk singers. You
got the main writer guy(s) and the band are
people you know too, and they're playing hard
- that's what I wanted to do.
Back In St. Louis I won a bunch of songwriting
awards with a group called 'The Bishops'.
These songs were released on various
compilation records, and I got some
certificates and some cash, so I was feeling
pretty good about myself. I suppose this was
my skill honing period. Overall, the group was
having some success as well. We put out two
albums on Grinder Records and did a lot of
touring, opening for Uncle Tupelo, Smashing
Pumpkins, Soul Asylum, The Posies, The
Connells, Afghan Whigs etc... But, the Bishops
eventually stalled, and I decided to sell the
big amp and lean harder toward the
singer/songwriter thing I mentioned above.
Once In Austin I hooked up with a high school band mate,
Daniel Bull. He's the bass player who beat leukemia and,
for his efforts, was honored by the City of Austin as the
toughest musician around (this is not a joke, but it is
another story). Daniel and I ran Drummer-wanted adds and
quickly found a guitarist - Errol Siegel. He liked the
singer/songwriter/group philosophy as well and convinced us
that he was more important than any drummer right now.
He was right; by month's end he had strong armed us several
gigs - even if it was coffee house and happy hour schlock.
The point was, we were playing, and the songs were coming
through. By the time drummer, Armando Reyes joined we
sounded, I thought, pretty freakin' good. Once Reyes was
in, the gigs and the travelling came pretty thick.
Because of on-going illness, bassist Daniel Bull was
replaced by Lee Abramson. Daniel's health was suffering
badly, and the traveling didn't help. Of course it was sad
to replace an old friend, but the new guy, Lee, has been a
So what's it sound like? I don't know, we get compared to a
lot of things. Since Lee joined I think we sound more like
Elvis Costello, at least more than we did. My latest
favorite comparison is Mick Jones (The Clash) doing Bruce
Springsteen. We get Tom Petty a lot. I've heard Graham
Parker before. Someone recently said we were like Soul
Asylum done right (Hang Time and Horse, were done right). I
like political stuff like The Clash and Public Enemy. I
also like freaky Tom Waits shit and big rock like Bush and
Urge Overkill. Since I'm pressed, I think we're midwest
rock but not so guitar top-heavy. Then again, I don't know;
I just write the best songs I can. There's a tape that
comes with this bio; you tell me.