Carl ("Fritz") Hart is our very talented lead guitarist. He also fills in on bass when Irv is busy with keyboards.
Carl is a fanatic about tone, and all of his guitars and amps reflect this passion. His main instrument is a Xaviere Lemon Drop XV-500 "Tony Zematis style" Les Paul type guitar (in the photo below) that Carl has re-wired to sound fantastic. Carl also plays a classic vintage Gibson "SG Special" (in the photo above). This guitar was manufactured in the same year in which Carl was born: 1964! Loaded with Gibson P-90 pickups, it really screams. The SG is the same model used by Carlos Santana and Pete Townshend at Woodstock. Carl also owns a half dozen other guitars, including a 1975 Electra Omega guitar, an Xaivere XV-820 Telecaster type guitar, and a 12-string Danelectro "Hodad 12" guitar.
Carl's "dirty" sounding amp is a Russian-made Sovtek "Mig 60" (manufactured in the same factory that made radios for Soviet T-series tanks), powered with screaming, Marshall-style EL34 tubes, and fed into a yellow pine cabinet loaded with four 10" Eminence speakers with alnico magnets and kapton voice coils (Jensen "P10R" clones) that produce a wonderful British Oxford tone. For his "clean" sound Carl plays through a modified Crate VC-50 amplifier (this amp is used by Joe Walsh, as well as the lead guitarists in Dire Straits and ZZ Top, among others) that is mated to a uniquely designed 2x12" cabinet with one speaker facing forward and the other facing backward.
Carl is a tube amp aficionado/connoisseur/genius. Carl even makes his own picks out of stainless steel because no other pick gives him the perfect tone he wants! One reason The Fender Benders sometimes sound even better than the original records is because all of the tube amps in the band have been modified and tuned for optimum tone by Carl (who is belovedly known by band members as "The Mad Tweaker"... among other names we won't mention here!)
As the youngest member of the band, Carl grew up in a different musical era than the rest of The Fender Benders. He was raised in a house dominated by the sounds of classical violin music. His mother toured southern German churches playing in a classical trio. It was Carl's older sister who introduced him to Rock and Roll. In the pre-format days of radio, the local station J94 played everything from The Carpenters to Led Zeppelin. It was on this station that Carl heard the song that changed his life: Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen was released at the end of 1976, when Carl was 12 years old. When he heard this song on J94, he was "completely destroyed." He walked around for a couple of weeks with the song playing constantly through his mind. After the J94 DJ's refused to take any more requests from this pesky kid, Carl finally went to Atomic Sounds record shop in the local mall and purchased his first Rock album, Queen's classic, "A Night at the Opera." Brian May's guitar work echoed all of the classical violin he had grown up with. Carl knew he just had to have an electric guitar!
For Christmas a year later, he got one... but he spent more time polishing it than playing it! About a year later, he sold it to his friend Jimmy Eliason and watched as Jimmy really began playing the thing. "Big mistake!" thought Carl, so he borrowed an acoustic guitar and began learning. About this time, Carl saw a documentary on PBS called "South Bound" with Happy MacGee that featured the blues and, for a second time, Carl was "completely destroyed." For the next few years, he played acoustic blues: Lightnin' Hopkins, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson. When he discovered Led Zeppelin, it all made sense; he understood just where they got all that stuff from. Still, Carl didn't get his next electric guitar until his second year in college.
More amazing music was coming through his big sister's door. The sound of English punk and new wave; bands like the Sex Pistols, The Clash, U2, Madness, The Psychedelic Furs, The Jam. All of them rocked hard (and the songs where a lot easier learn and play than Bohemian Rhapsody!) At this time, he also discovered an underground music revolution that years later would be called "Alernative." As formated radio seemed to strangle artistic creativity, a vast network of independent record labels sprang up. These "Indies" where responsible for promoting some of the best Rock ever made: The Replacements, Husker Du, R.E.M., Scruffy the Cat, The Beat Farmers, The Church, and Soul Asylum. Says Carl, "Most musicians in the know at this time knew these bands inside and out." (Steve and Irv obviously weren't "in the know," since they've never heard of any of them - sometimes, they think Carl speaks a foreign language... or... maybe he's from another planet?)
Carl Played in the
Sigma Nu house band Nervous Fashion, and later formed The
Missionaries. Later still, The Leather Bound Shakespeares. In
all of these post-punk bands, Carl still played the Blues -- and
he still does. (Read about how Carl's love for the blues
affected another talented musician, Jeff Harrison, in a
life-changing way by linking here: Blues Got A Hold On Me.)
Carl moved to Salt Lake and was musically inactive for several years before he joined the Alternative band Iris. He then moved back to Logan and after several more years of musical inactivity, Carl began doing all of the amplifier repairs for KSM Music. Rod Evans, drummer and then-manager of KSM, heard Carl jamming in the store and Carl, along with Rod's wife Chrissy, became the house guitarist for Rod's studio. Carl played on many radio jingles and "vanity projects" until, after a couple of years, Rod and Chrissy moved to Nashville to pursue "the dream."
For his day job, Carl works as a real estate agent and as a transportation broker. By night, he used to drive his family crazy playing regularly and loudly in his basement and, after their failed attempt to get him into golf, they were thrilled when Carl was discovered by The Fender Benders. Steve Roberts was in KSM Music one day and heard Carl testing a boutique amplifier. Steve said "Wow! We need that guy in our band!" And although the rest may not be history, it sounds pretty good!