A pop-infused retro-soul ensemble, Fitz and The Tantrums is raking in the raves for its smooth, tight and funky, dancefloor-packing sound that has the band on a meteoric rise from living room band to international sensation in a handful of months; and it all started with an organ.
A few years ago, Michael Fitzpatrick a.k.a Fitz, founder and leader of the group, got a call from an ex-girlfriend who told him that her neighbor was moving and selling a vintage organ, but he needed to unload it right away. Fitzpatrick was game and by the end of the day he was the instrument’s new owner. That night, he wrote his first song on it: the catchy, blue-eyed soul number “Breaking the Chains of Love.”
Having spent years in L.A.’s music scene writing songs and working in studios, Fitzpatrick was no stranger to making music but the organ set him on a new musical course and opened up veins of creative expression in him that he didn’t know existed.
“With so much music I felt that I was trying to push a square peg through a round hole,” Fitzpatrick has said. “I was being not true to myself, and it never felt right until I wrote [“Breaking the Chains of Love”] and I sang like that. I thought, this feels so real, so natural.”
Fitzpatrick enlisted the help of longtime friend and musician James King to put together a six-piece band, including vocalist Noelle Scaggs (Black Eyed Peas, Dilated Peoples); and Fitz and The Tantrums was born. Guitarless and horn-heavy with a good-time, get-down musical ethic, the band is heavily influenced by Stax and Motown-era soul music, but also brings elements of pop and new wave that lend both a throwback and modern flavor to its soulful and sexy sound.
Receiving audience praise and critical acclaim around the world, Fitz and the gang are onto something good. Their music has been featured on Criminal Minds and Desperate Housewives; they’ve made the late-night talk show round and they consistently wow audiences with their hot-stepping, floor-shaking, work-it-if-you’ve-got-it music.
Fitz and The Tantrums perform Tuesday, May 24, at the Blank Club.