There are two things that Colin Bryce Fraser III would like you to know about him: he would very much like not to be homeless and he and his band Mercury Legion are filming a reality show, Onward Christian Soldier. The premise is simple: Mercury Legion performs and then Fraser interviews the audience. “Do they believe in the Bible? And if not,” he says, “what do they believe in?”
Fraser is handling the shooting. He says he uploads raw content to the show’s producers in Long Beach for editing. He’d rather not say who they are, but he says they have enough rough material in the can for a dozen episodes.
A former member of San Diego’s Deadbolt (he used the stage name Moose Cutter), Fraser admits to having been a “hard-partying animal. Deadbolt,” he says, “was the reason I became a pastor.” These days, he works odd jobs for coin, plays out with his band, and preaches the Gospel whenever and wherever.
When asked how he arrived at his current situation, Fraser’s answer is blunt: “My son was kidnapped.” The child, he says, was taken by his ex-wife. “I spent every cent I had trying to find him.” After Fraser lost his home, he lived in his car until the engine blew, then he junked it and bought a bicycle. The bike bears handmade paper signs that identify Fraser as the Homeless Pastor.
“It’s amazing how many people come up to me,” he says. Other times, Fraser, a self-ordained minister, preaches from the bandstand, as he did during a recent Mercury Legion show at the Shakedown Bar. Why? “Nobody wants to minister to punks,” he says.
Fraser spends much of his time urban-camping in North County. At 38, in spotless khaki shorts, sneakers, and a “Jesus Beat the Devil” T-shirt, Fraser is articulate and clean-shaven. “You’ve got to face homelessness head on, or it will kill you.” Except for his Stratocaster, everything he owns fits into a couple of backpacks. He produces a Sony digital video camera from a pocket. This, he says, is what he has been using to film Onward Christian Soldier. Fraser hopes to save enough money from the reality show (he says he won’t be paid until it airs) and side jobs to be able to start a video-production company and live near his now-eight-year-old son. “I’m trying to earn my way back to Bryce Jr.,” he says.