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Leif Totusek and Eric Fridrich at Delizioso European Bistro and Wine

LUKE PUTVIN | Last Updated: 11.26.2019

On the evening of November 23, guitarists Leif Totusek and Eric Fridrich performed at Delizioso European Bistro and Wine in Mill Creek. They played a wonderful assortment of blues, Latin jazz, Gypsy jazz and other genres.

Fridrich played an acoustic and sang on several songs as well as playing harmonica, and Totusek played on his electric. The two were clearly good friends; they were laid back, having fun, smiling and tapping their feet all the way. They traded solos for varying lengths, and the crowd at Delizioso European Bistro and Wine was clearly having a great time listening to the music.

Totusek was raised in a musical family in Seattle and has played in many groups over the years. I asked him what he likes to do outside of music, but he said, “Life is all music for me, 24 hours.”

Fridrich was born in Chicago but has lived in the area for about 15 years. Totusek heard him play somewhere, said they should get together and jam one day and they’ve been playing together ever since. Fridrich said the first gig the two did together was just him picking up Totusek and talking about tunes on the drive over. “We did a three-hour gig where the rehearsal was a 20-minute drive,” Fridrich said.

Fridrich recalled getting into music and mentioned his grandma having an old broken down piano when he was young; he would write tunes on it. His family eventually got him lessons, but Fridrich said the teacher wanted to teach him other things while he just wanted to show him the tunes he had written, so the lessons didn’t work out.

He picked up guitar in late teens; his father is a great guitarist, Fridrich said, but he was in New York and didn’t grow up with him. He visited his father when he was 17; he said his dad was living “the zen life” in a shack, so Fridrich didn’t have anything to do but read, think, walk and play the guitar.

Fridrich also talked about some genre influences.  As it could be seen from the variety of genres in the performance, he is inspired but many different styles. “Styles are just like spices; some people get really into one genre, and that’s cool, but I like seeing all these cool spices blend together.”

His advice to aspiring musicians is, “Try to be real; don’t try to be someone else. Try to find out who you are on your instrument, and take the time to get good.”

Totusek’s advice was, “Surround yourself with people going in the direction you want to go. Learn and understand numerous musical forms and styles from all cultures and musical genres. People have been studying music for thousands of years and have left us great knowledge of their studies for us to learn and interpret from.”

Both offered a similar answer to what they think the overall benefit of music is to society. “Music is healing energy,” Totusek said, “and an opportunity for all to come together and share and learn from each other.”

Fridrich said the same thing and added that training in music when you’re young helps you in so many different categories of life like human relations, mathematics, socials skills and others.

Leif Totusek and Eric Fridrich are playing another show together at the Gravity Bar in Edmonds on November 30 at 6 P.M. You can listen to Fridrich’s music and see more upcoming shows at www.facebook.com/fridrichmusic/. Learn more about Totusek at www.leiftotusek.com.

Leif Totusek and Eric Fridrich

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