Fitz and The Tantrums
Fitz and The Tantrums in 2013
|Origin||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
Fitz and The Tantrums are an American indie pop and neo soul band from Los Angeles that formed in 2008. The band consists of Michael Fitzpatrick (lead vocals), Noelle Scaggs (co-lead vocals and percussion), James King (saxophone, flute, keyboard, percussion and guitar), Joseph Karnes (bass guitar), Jeremy Ruzumna (keyboards) and John Wicks (drums and percussion). Their debut studio album, Pickin' Up the Pieces, was released in August 2010 on indie label Dangerbird Records and received critical acclaim. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. The band signed to their current label Elektra Records in early 2013 and went on to release their second LP, More Than Just a Dream, on May 7, 2013. Their self-titled third album was released on June 10, 2016.
Fitz and The Tantrums was founded by Michael Fitzpatrick in 2008. Having purchased an old Conn electronic organ, he was inspired to write the song "Breakin' the Chains of Love" that same night. He contacted his college friend, saxophonist James King, who recommended singer Noelle Scaggs and drummer John Wicks. In turn, Wicks brought in bassist Joseph Karnes and keyboardist Jeremy Ruzumna. According to Fitzpatrick, the band immediately clicked. He has said, "It was literally like five phone calls, one rehearsal, and we could have played a show that night." The band performed their first show at Hotel Café in Hollywood, in December 2008, which Fitzpatrick booked one week after their first rehearsal. In interviews, he has stated the importance of booking a date before the band was ready, in order to bring out the best in all performers. During the first half of 2009, they performed at several clubs in Los Angeles, including the Viper Room and Spaceland. Before Joseph Karnes was brought into the band, the previous bassist, Ethan Phillips was with the band for the first EP, and a part of their first album, "Pickin' Up The Pieces".
The band recorded their debut EP, Songs for a Breakup, Vol. 1, during the first half of 2009 at Fitzpatrick's home in Los Angeles. The EP was first released on August 11, 2009, through Canyon Productions. In September 2009 they toured with Hepcat and Flogging Molly. In November 2009 the band opened eight concerts on the Maroon 5 Back to School Tour. Their appearance was on short notice, after previously scheduled opener K'naan cancelled due to fatigue in late October. According to Fitzpatrick, "Adam Levine from Maroon 5 was in New York to get a tattoo, and his favorite tattoo artist had downloaded the record after hearing us on the radio. He told Adam, 'you gotta hear this band.' A week and a half later, we're opening for Maroon 5 on their college tour." In December 2009 the band shot the official music video for their first single, "Breakin' The Chains of Love", which was directed by Joshua Leonard. It features Fitzpatrick and Scaggs in a moving and rotating bed.
In March 2010 Fitz and The Tantrums played at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. On April 15, 2010, they opened for ska legends The Specials on their North American reunion tour at Club Nokia in Los Angeles. On April 26, 2010, Dangerbird Records announced that they had signed Fitz and The Tantrums. Their first full-length album, Pickin' Up the Pieces, was released on August 24, 2010. Producer Chris Seefried was also a co-writer on the album. In October 2010 Daryl Hall invited the band to perform on his popular web-series Live From Daryl's House. They played a seven-song set including four FATT songs, early Hall song "Girl I Love You", "Perkiomen" and finishing with "Sara Smile". "I walked back into the kitchen of his big old house in upstate New York, and his mother was there," recalled Fitzpatrick. "She said, 'Fitz, come over here. You sound just like my son!'"
The band performed the songs "MoneyGrabber" and "Don't Gotta Work It Out" on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! in Los Angeles on January 12, 2011. On February 28 they performed "MoneyGrabber" on TBS' Conan, and on April 5 on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, they performed the song again. In 2011 the band announced a U.S. and international tour with April Smith and the Great Picture Show. In the fall of 2011, they made their first appearance at Austin City Limits Music Festival. On Friday, February 3, 2012, they performed "Don't Gotta Work It Out" on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Episode 581, taped for broadcast at the Hilbert Circle Theatre in Indianapolis. They performed a free show at Thursday at the Square in Buffalo, New York, on June 14, 2012, and at the Basilica Block Party in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on July 7, 2012.
The band's sophomore LP, More Than Just a Dream, was released May 7, 2013, on Elektra Records. It was produced by Tony Hoffer. The album features the lead single "Out of My League", which reached number one on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart on September 30, 2013. A French version of "Out of My League" was also released and played on Canadian radio. This version has most of the verses sung in French, while the chorus remains in English. The second single from More Than Just a Dream, "The Walker", also reached number one on the Billboard Alternative songs chart. In October 2014 FATT returned to the Austin City Limits Music Festival and played both weekends of the expanded festival.
In March 2016, the band released the lead single, "HandClap", off their self-titled album. The album was released on June 10, 2016, and was supported by the 2016 Get Right Back Summer Tour. In July 2016 FATT performed at Slossfest in Birmingham, Alabama. The band supported OneRepublic on the 2017 Honda Civic Tour which began on July 7, 2017.
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"MoneyGrabber" was featured in the "How 'bout that?" segment of the April 23, 2011, episode of This Week in Baseball and in the first episode of 24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the NHL Winter Classic in the Flyers' clubhouse. It was also prominently featured at the beginning of the Criminal Minds episode "Safe Haven". "MoneyGrabber" is also used in the 2013 commercial for New Amsterdam vodka. Professional skateboarder Mike Mo Capaldi used "MoneyGrabber" as his song choice for the Girl/Chocolate skateboard video "Pretty Sweet". Another of the band's songs featured in a skateboard video. "L.O.V." was chosen for Trent McClung/Trevor McClung's part in the Bones episode "New Ground". "News 4 U" was chosen for the promo of Desperate Housewives seventh season in mid-March 2011. An instrumental version of "Dear Mr. President" was used in a Wells Fargo commercial.
"Spark" is featured in the soundtrack for the EA Sports game, FIFA 13, as well as in Argos commercials Since 2012 and is still used to this day. It was also the goal song of the Rochester Americans professional hockey team from 2012-2016.
"The Walker" was featured at the beginning of Suits (Season 3, Episode 9) as well as the 2013 film Identity Thief. The song was used as the backdrop to Ellen DeGeneres' one-take Oscar trailer, released on December 19, 2013. It also featured in the Reebok's Z-Jet commercials, Supercuts commercials, and Walmart commercials. The song is also the theme for the MLB Network series High Heat.
"HandClap" was used in Forza Horizon 3, Power Rangers and Gameloft's video game Gangstar New Orleans. It was also used by The CW to promote their new and returning shows for the 2016-17 television season. It was also used for player introductions in the 2017 NCAA women's basketball Final Four telecasts. "Roll Up" was used in Madden NFL 17 as well as the TV show, Shameless. It is currently being used in commercials for the Crowne Plaza hotel chain.
"Roll Up" is featured within the trailer for the 2018 film Peter Rabbit, then subsequently within the production itself.
Fitzpatrick has said that the band's musical style can be fairly described as "soul-influenced indie pop." He noted that while the band is influenced by the classic songs of the Motown and Stax record labels, the band is not trying to create an exact replica of that music. In another interview, Fitzpatrick talked about his decision to not use guitars in the band. "I did want to try and make a big sounding record without guitars," he said. "For me, I just feel like in any music that has a band, the guitar is always there, it's always featured, it's always prevalent. I'm just sick of hearing it."
Los Angeles Times music critic Ann Powers wrote, "Fitz & the Tantrums is the kind of band that communicates best in concert, but this album serves as a fine proxy and party-starter." Aly Comingore of the Santa Barbara Independent wrote that the band members craft "soulful, nostalgia pop that's not only infectious, but just fresh enough to make it stand apart from its predecessors." The band was heralded as a "band to watch" in an April 2011 profile in Rolling Stone. In June 2011, Vogue named Fitz and the Tantrums the "Hardest-Working Band" of the 2011 summer festival circuit. "Not only do L.A.-based six-piece Fitz and the Tantrums share James Brown's penchant for snazzy-dressed brass bands and feel-good retro ballads, they also have the late godfather of soul's tireless work ethic." Their most recent work has been described as "a product of contemporary market forces and a depressing relic of an era of the music industry best forgotten."