Pensacola, Florida
Monday August 20th 2018

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No Need to Throw a Fitz

By Kate Peterson

The soul-filled, raucous band Fitz and The Tantrums’ main attractions are Michael Fitzpatrick, who is lead vocals and keyboards, and Noelle Scaggs also vocals, and percussion. Forming in 2008, on a whim, they, along with a talented group of musicians, are relatively new to the music scene.

As the story goes, Fitzpatrick purchased an electronic organ that his ex-girlfriend saw at a garage sale, she called him and told him about it and he went over to buy it. The night he bought the organ, he wrote the song, “Breakin’ the Chains of Love.” After writing the song, he contacted his friend, saxophonist James King as he was on the hunt for a singer for his newest creation. King only knew of one singer who would fit the bill, singer Noelle Scaggs. The band immediately clicked.

According to Fitzpatrick, “I wanted a fierce, competitive co-singer. According to King, there was only one person, Scaggs. We had an instant connection, and we push each other live.”

Fitzpatrick and Scaggs have a real connection both personally and professionally that is apparent on stage, and in the studio. It comes through in the music and makes it exciting to see one of their shows.

They have accomplished a great deal since their 2008 beginning; they made three albums, were listed in Rolling Stone as a band to watch, played on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Conan,” “The Tonight Show” and “Jimmy Fallon,” toured with Hepcat and Flogging Molly, then Maroon 5, opened for the ska band the Specials, and performed on a web series called “Live from Daryl’s House with Daryl Hall of Hall and Oats.”

Currently, the band is a sextet. They are so conscientious about their stage presence that the musicians line up symmetrically.

Prior to taking center stage with his own band, Fitzpatrick had been a producer, helping others make their records.

“It was frustrating, working for others. I wanted the time and commitment to be for myself,” he said.

Today, with Fitz and The Tantrums, Fitzpatrick is able to focus more on his own work. And he is quick to note the strong influence soul has played on the band’s music.

“All of us have had a love affair with soul music,” he said. “The song writing, it is the best part of song writing. In the craft of making music, more often than not, we go back to soul.”

When you watch the band’s videos, you cannot help but notice that Fitzpatrick’s look and style are influenced by David Byrne, frontman for the band the Talking Heads.

Their first show was an achievement, according to Fitzpatrick, “I didn’t know I could do it. I had never done that before. We knew we were on to something when we saw the faces of the crowd. Then the crowd propelled us to engage more with the audience.”

Style, talent and professionalism resonate in their performances, something Fitzpatrick noted is intentional.

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