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An Interview with Fitz & the Tantrums: Soul Meets Funk

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Although they are fairly new to the game, Michael Fitzpatrick and company, otherwise know as, Fitz & the Tantrums, have been on the soul circuit since 2008. The collective will be playing Thursday at the Square on June 23.The modern mix of music the septuplet has been noted for is its eighties synth meshed with a twist of Motown soulful funk.

Now, the band whose album “Pickin’ Up the Pieces”, which was released in August of last year, is just picking up steam and the first single “Moneygrabber” is being noted as one of most memorable songs of summer 2011, will make Fitz and the Tantrums less of a novelty act and more of a serious force to be reckoned with in the music industry.

It all started with an organ and a break up and as Fitzpatrick says, “I went through a bad break up and music lifts me out of any funk I’m in and saves my ass.” After Fitz got possession of an old church organ he wrote one of his first songs, “Breakin’ the Chains of Love” all thanks to an ex-girlfriend. “In that moment I always wanted to find my true voice and finally found myself as a vocalist.”

With just that song, Fitzpatrick knew what he wanted in the band—saxophones, no guitars, and another female vocalist---and the end product was Fitz and the Tantrums. “That was really the catalyst that started the band. I made a few phone calls and it was people who knew people, really, that started this non-stop onslaught first rehearsal of the band.” Noelle Scaggs, Joseph Karnes, James King, Jeremy Ruzumna, and John Wicks completed the band and their resume and history speaks for itself—musicians, writers, and back up singers to DeLaSoul, Macy Gray, and Black Eyed Peas---to just name a few.

Fast forward to May 2011, the band has made several late night television show performances across the board, the single for “Moneygrabber” featured as a You Oughtta Know Video on VH1, and their album peaking across three billboard charts. “We have played shows in front of 40 to 80 people and now our single is finally getting some heat and it is just a great feeling,” Fitzpatrick stated.

Pickin’ Up The Pieces, the band’s sophomore LP features their most well known song to date, a little ditty called “Moneygrabber”. “The song was born out of a relationship that had other agendas that was important to my girlfriend at the time. Let’s put it this way—I’ve never made the best choices when it came to relationships,” jokes Fitzpatrick. “’Grabber’ just started taking on its own meaning in the post-wall street, post-corporate era.” Fitz was shocked that ‘grabber’ morphed into something more universal, but it happened nonetheless.

The band have road tested much of the new songs and based on word of mouth and some radio airplay, they became a hit out of the box. They have much to be thankful for, which includes the L.A. clubs they came from. “Personally, I love to play a small, sweaty basement club. Our performances are high energy and we just want people to come out dance and celebrate, but we cannot wait to play the festivals either—especially, Buffalo, New York, where we will play Thursday at the Square June 23 and we hope everyone comes out to dance with us then too.” concludes Fitzpatrick.

For all information on Fitz & the Tantrums check out their web site: http://fitzandthetantrums.com/

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