Life of Music
“My mother would let me walk down to the park by myself and get on the swings,” says Fayrewether, who works full time managing businesses in Lorain. High school kids pushed him on the swing as he sang “That’s Amore.”
This bravado didn’t last for long. A lack of self-confidence kept him away from the stage until his sophomore year of high school in Lorain, when he started performing in the choir. Once Fayrewether regained his voice, he never lost it. He got a full scholarship to Duquesne University for his vocal talents and performed with the Duquesne University Tamburitzans, a renowned international folk singing and dance ensemble. He traveled the United States singing Serbian-Croation folk songs.
Just after his junior year, Fayrewether and songwriter friend Emery Kapples moved to Los Angeles, where they worked as a duet. During the year they lived there, the pair performed at the second Star Trek convention, where they met the space crew.
But Fayrewether couldn’t stay away from his hometown for long. He returned and started a band with Emery called the Book of Strawberry. After gaining popularity playing David Bowie and Genesis covers at local coffeehouses and clubs and performing in three different bands, he decided it was time to start his own band. In 1974, he launched Fayrewether — and he wrote some new material with an old friend.
“Emery had a song called ‘Don’t Count Me Out,’ “ he recalls. “We made our own arrangement of the song.” The single debuted on WMMS in 1976. After that, they recorded “Picture Disk,” which they sold through Scene magazine. It sold out within a week.
But that success couldn’t save the band, which split in 1994 because of personal issues. A few years later at a Cavs game, Fayrewether met with Michael Stanley and Michael Belkin Jr., who told him to get a band together to play the Odeon in Cleveland.
The band, also called Fayrewether, includes Steve Musichuk, Gary Simmons, Marty Zlocki and John Kastelic. The group is still entertaining crowds at the House of Blues, Brothers Lounge and the outdoor Black River Landing in Lorain. The Landing is Fayrewether’s favorite venue — big crowds attend each year to hear the band’s classic rock sound and watch the show’s special-effects lighting display. This year the band will perform at the Landing on Saturday, August 14.
“The first year we had about 500 hundred people,” he says. People from Florida, Chicago, Columbus and even Toronto were there. “Last year we had more than 1,000, and this year we’re just expecting to go through the roof.”
Fayrewether says it can be hard to surrender to music after a hard day’s work, but he pushes himself to work on his craft.
“If you’re going to be a musician, you really have to love what you’re doing,” he says. He searches for inspiration in his audience. “They keep on coming out, they keep on smiling and keep singing along, and I think that’s a wonderful thing.”