On The Fritz

[Image: 'On The Fritz' Front Cover]

© 1985 Sparrow Records
CD, LP, Cassette


Track Listing

  1. This Disco (Used To Be A Cute Cathedral) (4:06)
  2. On The Fritz (3:56)
  3. It's A Personal Thing (2:58)
  4. To Forgive (3:54)
  5. You've Been Bought (2:45)
  6. You Don't Owe Me Nothing (3:22)
  7. I Manipulate (5:07)
  8. Lifeboat (4:35)
  9. Drive, He Said (4:30)
  10. I Just Wanna Know (4:40)

About The Album

From Taylor Made: A Tale Of Two Fittings, Strait: The Greenbelt Newspaper, April/May 1985(?):

GBL Tell me about the new album?

ST It may be called On the Fritz which is like when the fridge breaks down (translates 'on the blink') I wanted to escape the west coast sound so I went to New York to get more edge.

From Crosswalk Syndicated Radio Interview, Crosswalk, Q2(?) 1985:

I wanted a different sound. I wanted something that I thought was more immediate, had a bit more of an edge to it, and both rocked and grooved a little better. So that's why I went to the east coast, because I think the best musicians are out there.

I originally thought about doing the album in London, but I ended up doing the album in New York city with an English producer, Ian McDonald, who had started off--he founded King Crimson back in the late 60s, then went out to found Foreigner with Mick Jones and was with them for five or six years I guess. So it all just kind of fell together for him to do the album. He wasn't a Christian when he first was approached with the idea of doing a gospel album. He said, "well I'm not too into tambourines." [laughter] So from those humble beginnings, our relationship ended up being really pretty good.


I wanted to bring people along on this next album in the same way as Meltdown was a pretty big step from the first album I Want To Be A Clone. I wanted this next album to be different enough so that it would challenge the listener. So I kept in a number of issue-oriented songs, a song like "Lifeboat" or "This Disco" or "It's A Personal Thing," that were dealing with specific issues. But I also wanted to let people know that the struggles--oftentimes even though we look at different issues and say "this is right and wrong"--it all comes down to personal choices. Every person has a decision to choose between good and evil, and that includes people who claim to believe in Jesus as well.

So a lot of the songs have to do with pride--with compromise. It's just like all those things that are constantly glaring at me all the time on the road, and the choice whether to, you know, give in or to stand firm. In the past I've tend to write songs anticipating things that might come up, and that way if I've already made a stand with a song, it's like double incentive to not fall into something, because I'd feel I couldn't sing the song anymore on stage. In some ways I think this was the same kind of thing with this album. On a more personal level, I was writing about things I had seen on the road, and questions and compromises that might come up in the future, and taking a stand now and saying, "no."


I wanted to--for the songs to be real honest. If there was a criticism that was valid about the first two albums, it's that they were too distant, you know? Steve's pointing the finger at this or pointing the finger at that or whatever. So, yeah, I wanted to open up a little bit more on this album. But there was still plenty of stuff to fuel the other songs as well.

I think something that I'm particular proud of this on this new album is that I decided to do one song that would just be totally unique and different and something radically of a change for me and write a positive song. So that song "To Forgive" on the album actually had a positive message to it, and that was kind of a new thing for me.


The new album is, in some ways, to me, it's even more up-front than Meltdown in some ways. So I don't know. Again, it's a matter of, if it's going to happen, fine, but it's not something--I didn't record the album to cross over. I wanted it to be as good as possible, but I wasn't writing lyrics with that in mind. So if it happens, that'll be great.

From Post-Fritz Release Interview, Unknown source, Q2(?) 1985:

It's interesting, for I Want To Be A Clone, I had a couple of years to write just those six songs, and even when I got to Meltdown, half of the songs on Meltdown had already been written before I Want To Be A Clone was out.

With this last album I started from scratch and I had like nine months to write everything. About three months before the album was supposed to be done, I still wasn't ready to go. I just went to the Lord and said, "you've brought me to this place and given me this platform here, I want this to be an anointed album, I want to be your mouthpiece, but how am I going to do it, because I don't feel like I'm ready." The songs just weren't coming.

I really feel like the Lord used the experiences that I'd had up to that point, all the traveling that I'd done to Europe on many different occasions--to South America, the Orient--to keep my view of Christianity a balanced view instead of specifically an American view, and to keep it so that the issues that we're talking about were hopefully still coming from a Biblical standpoint instead of me just going off on a weird tangent and shooting off at the mouth.

From Gospel Lectern, Billboard, December 21st, 1985:

"We'd originally planned to record in London, but that didn't work out financially," Taylor says. "But once we got in Grand Slam Studios in New York, Ian brought an English sensibility with him."

From Steve Taylor on Staring into the Sun: Squint or You'll Miss It, True Tunes News, Winter 1993:

How did "On The Fritz" do [commercially]?

"On The Fritz" [sold] like a hundred twenty-five thousand copies.