By Randy Twells
I only met Tommy recently, at the long awaited premiere of the film I RIDE, at the Laemmle Theater in Santa Monica, California. But I immediately warmed to his gentle nature and could see how everyone there just took to him as well. We were all there to welcome the final result of years of work, the big screen appearance of this story about motorcycles, music, family and friendship, and as I watched I learned what the fuss was all about…
The Fryed family lived in Sacramento, California. When Tommy Fryed was a kid, his Mom used to get really upset because she had no idea where he was after school. She was working and would come home, and ‘no Tommy’. So, he solved it one day with a note left on the kitchen table, but being a kid and in a hurry to do what he REALLY wanted to do, which was to ride his bike, he kept it short and sweet—scribbling two words on a piece of paper—“I ride”.
His older brother Mark who lived elsewhere heard about this episode and the head shaking that went on over Tommy’s antics, and having a creative bent he turned two words into a poem which he sent to their Mom. A bit of light hearted family love. All the while, motorcycles connected the dots.
Then the unthinkable happened, and Mark was gone. But the Fryed family was always big on ‘family’, so they took lots of home movies. And yes even difficult scenes, they documented, such as the day everyone said Goodbye to Mark for the last time. Close your eyes and imagine thirty years ago, a day that brought sorrow and also comfort, as hundreds of motorcyclists rallied around a family’s tragedy. Open your eyes and relive it with them, on DVD, in the story of I RIDE- as the poem works its way into becoming this family’s mission–a family playing tribute with a poem that became a family anthem.
Everyone has a story of their friendship with Tommy and Harry Fryed, and some interaction along the way—just the opening scenes of the film I RIDE testify to the impact they’ve had on their peers in both music and motorcycling. And watching the film you get to appreciate why so many motorcyclists and musicians alike feel like they are part of the Fryed family. A lot of you have gotten to know Tommy, Harry and the whole family through their annual campout & anniversary party at the Redwood River Resort each September. Nothing like a good early morning pee-run from your tent, to cement the bonds of friendship.
And as life has a way of doing, the story has a new chapter, with Tommy’s passing on October 30, 2013. The kid who started it all with two words, has now left us behind. He lived, caroused, loved his family, friends, motorcycles and music, and was a gentle bear of a man. Where does the story of I RIDE go from here? We can be glad that we have Tommy on film with his brother Harry and the band as the Fryed Brothers played gigs from California to Sturgis and beyond.
As the Fryed family comes to grips with the loss of Tommy, in the far flung yet surprisingly intimate culture of the motorcycle community, the common bond of motorcycles and music that started it all in the first place, will keep this story rolling along—we just have to wait for the next page to turn and see where the road leads…
We invite you to view a short tribute video of excerpted footage from I RIDE, set to the title song performed by the Fryed Brothers Band, in the link here: View video.
Meantime, the full-length “I RIDE” film on DVD along with extra scenes, scheduled for release in stores November 19th, will give viewers a chance to relive this family’s legacy and see Tommy as he was, and for those who knew him best, always will be.
Ride On in Peace, Tommy….
August 1, 1964 – October 30, 2013
Please visit www.Quickthrottle.com Gallery for a Tribute photo collection remembering Tommy Fryed.
Or at Walmart.com