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Fitz and the Tantrums

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Fitz and The Tantrums are an American soul/indie pop band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 2008. Their debut studio album, Pickin' Up the Pieces, released in August 2010, has received critical acclaim and reached #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. They were heralded as a "band to watch" in an April 2011 profile in Rolling Stone. They have performed their hit single "MoneyGrabber" on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live, on TBS' Conan and on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and have toured extensively in the United States and abroad. They are signed to Dangerbird Records.

The band consists of Michael Fitzpatrick (lead vocals and keyboards), Noelle Scaggs (vocals and percussion), James King (saxophone, flute, trumpet, and harmonica), Joseph Karnes (bass guitar), Jeremy Ruzumna (keyboards) and John Wicks (drums and percussion). They are produced by Chris Seefried, who is also a co-writer.


Fitz and The Tantrums were 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 Ethan Phillips 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 Hollywood's Hotel Café 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.

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. The songs began to receive considerable airplay on Los Angeles public radio station KCRW.

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 at short notice, after previously scheduled K'naan canceled 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 KCRW. 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", directed by Joshua Leonard. It features Fitzpatrick and Scaggs in a moving and rotating bed.

In March 2010, Fitz and The Tantrums played at KCRW’s Official Showcases at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. The festival is traditionally an important event for new groups to meet with representatives of the music industry. On April 15, 2010, Fitz and The Tantrums 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.

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 Tantrums 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!'"

On January 12, 2011, Fitz and The Tantrums performed the songs "MoneyGrabber" and "Don't Gotta Work It Out" on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live in Los Angeles. On February 28, 2011, they performed "MoneyGrabber" on TBS' Conan and on April 5, 2011, on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. In 2010, the band's music video for the song "MoneyGrabber" was incorporated into the opening scene of a sixth season episode of the CBS crime-drama Criminal Minds entitled "Safe Haven". In mid-March 2011, the band's song "News 4 U" was chosen for the promo of Desperate Housewives seventh season.

In 2011, the band announced a U.S. and international tour with April Smith and the Great Picture Show.

Their song "MoneyGrabber" was featured in the "How 'bout that?" segment of the April 23, 2011 episode of "This Week in Baseball", and was featured in the first episode of 24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the NHL Winter Classic in the Flyers' clubhouse.

Musical style

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."

Critical reception

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."

In June 2011, Vogue Daily 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."


Studio albums

Title Details Peak chart positions






Pickin' Up the Pieces

Release date: August 24, 2010

Label: Dangerbird Records

Formats: CD, music download

Extended plays

Title Details

Songs for a Breakup, Vol. 1

Release date: August 11, 2009

Label: Canyon Productions

Formats: CD, music download

Santa Stole My Lady

Release date: November 26, 2010

Label: Dangerbird Records

Formats: Vinyl, music download


Year Single Peak chart

positions Album

US Adult



2010 "Winds of Change" — — Pickin' Up the Pieces

"L.O.V." — —

"Breakin' the Chains of Love" — —

2011 "MoneyGrabber" 34 33

"Don't Gotta Work It Out"A 40 —

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