"It has a six-car garage," he said, "a basement, a recreation room for the kids and an entertaining room, all on 2½ acres. It's all stone, and it's only 10 years old."
That six-car garage, one must guess, is the most attractive feature of the establishment so far as Joe Frazier is concerned. In addition to his magnificent motorcycle, which he hopes to convert into an "antique," he has a 1934 Chevrolet, "which I already got into top shape," his wife's station wagon and a 1962 Corvette, on which he has been working with all the knowledge and skill that he acquired from his father, Rubin Frazier, in Beaufort, S.C.
The Fraziers lived on a 10-acre farm, which they owned, and raised hogs and vegetables, mostly to feed a family of 13 children, of which Joe was next to the youngest. Joe's father had lost his left arm in an accident.
"So I became his left arm," says Joe. "He'd hold a bolt with his right hand and I'd screw it. By the time I was 7 I could drive a tractor, and when I was 8 I was driving an automobile. He taught me everything I know about life."
Old friends of the Frazier family today see an extraordinary similarity between father and son. "Rubin's not really dead," the saying goes around Beaufort. "Joe is still around."
Thanks to Rubin's training, Frazier is extremely sensitive to any inkling of a defect in a car or even an airplane. Friends recall taking off with him for Las Vegas one day. Soon after the plane was airborne, Joe began to fidget. "This plane is flying out of balance," he told a companion, who could detect nothing wrong. But in a matter of minutes the pilot was announcing an unscheduled landing because, he said, the rudder was defective. It was an incident that turned Joe against flying, though he does take a plane occasionally when he finds it necessary.
Recently, when one of his cars was acting up, he took it into a repair shop, corrected the difficulty himself and paid an admiring mechanic for his time.
The Fraziers were deeply religious. Rubin attended the Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Beaufort, and Joe's mother went to St. John's Baptist Church, even after her marriage. "Mom had been going there before she married," Joe said, "and I guess she just stuck with it. That's where all her friends were. I learned music in church. I never sang in the choir, but I would often lead a song from the audience. You know, someone would start singing and then everyone would join in.
"Now, with the band, what I do is rock ballads. I like to do slow songs better than the fast ones. [Some say that his singing is very like the gospel music he learned in church.] I sing in B, B flat and C, and it has to be specially arranged for me. I don't read music, but I put the feeling into the music myself."
He is thinking seriously of trying to write his own songs, with a little help from someone who knows how to transcribe them. "The way to write a song," he said, "is to have someone with you who knows how to put it down. You got to get some good words which get to the people. Music like this catches the guys because it's the way they live. They say 'Yeah!' It is that kind of song that gets them.