In just a year or so, soulsters Fitz & the Tantrums went from the living room to the main stage. The recipe for meteoric success? Six killer musicians, five dapper suits, irresistible songs, some serendipity and one vintage organ. Since their first show at Hollywood’s Hotel Café in December 2008, Fitz and co. have toured with Maroon 5, played to thousands at Colorado’s world famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre, shared the stage New Year’s Eve with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and performed on KCRW’s esteemed show, Morning Becomes Eclectic, all this on the strength of their stellar five-song EP, Songs for a Breakup, Vol. 1.For some bands, it takes a lifetime to build this success, but few performers deliver an unrestrained blast of soul-clapping, get-down-on-the-floor, moneymaker shakers like Fitz and the Tantrums. Now post-release of their debut full length, Pickin’ Up the Pieces, which has since earned them a 3 ½ star album review in ROLLING STONE, the troupe is poised to get down in dancehalls across the universe.
Fitz shared his vision with long-time friend and saxophonist, James King, who immediately connected with the sound. While the electric guitar drives rock, the saxophone takes center stage in soul, and that’s the way Fitz likes it. “We wanted to find a new vocabulary for the genre, I wanted to make a record without any guitars. Could we make a huge sound with out any guitars?”
Those blistering performances are now well-chronicled for adequate ubiquity, Last Call With Carson Daly nailing the money shot for “MoneyGrabber” at the band’s sold out show in November at LA’s El Rey Theatre featuring a sea of a thousand pogoing fans and a handful of F.A.T.T. gems rocked along with blue-eyed soul vet, Daryl Hall on the band’s spot on Live From Daryl’s House. Lest we forget, an omnipresent T-Mobile HTC ad that actually namechecks the band that, for the past several months, is impossible not to see if you’re watching even an hour’s worth of television. Oh, and there are the hot spots on Criminal Minds, Desperate Housewives and a great many more, not to mention a ton of success at radio for the aforementioned runaway “MoneyGrabber,” all with the promise of more to come.
Check out the first time we saw Fitz and the Tantrums at Nashville Sunday Night!
In their sound and on the stage, Fitz and the Tantrums are nothing but professionals, and never less than classy. Enter the Tantrums, Fitz’s airtight ensemble keeping it real like it’s 1969. Funky drummer John Wicks is a Motown B-side aficionado and prolific session player, Jeremy Ruzumna manned the keyboards and was musical director for Macy Gray. James King backed De La Soul and bassist Joseph Karnes is a well sought after session player. Then there’s Noelle Scaggs, the powerful voice behind Fitz’s croons. Make no mistake, Scaggs is not just there for “doo-wops” and handclaps. She shimmies and flirts, she stokes the crowd and simmers them down, and she has no qualms about keeping Fitz in check. “She is not just a backup singer,” Fitz says, “We have repartee. Onstage, we’re Ike and Tina.”
Lightning 100 capture this cover of The Raconteurs “Steady As She Goes” at Marathon Recorders!
There, on the stage, Fitz and the Tantrums are not just a band, they’re an explosion. Scaggs high steps it to the tight-as-hell rhythm section, while Fitz, cooler than cobalt, croons like the aforementioned Mr. Hall for a new generation. It’s obvious that this is no tryst for the band, this is a full-blown, head-over-heels love affair.