Fitz & The Tantrums: “Keepin’ Our Eyes Out”

When it came time to form a band, Michael Fitzpatrick knew which instrument he didn’t want: the guitar. “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,” Fitzpatrick stated in an interview. “I’m just sick of hearing it.” So the Los Angeles native started out with what he had lying around his house. He took to an old church organ he bought off a neighbor for $50, and in one day he wrote “Breaking The Chains Of Love.” And just a few weeks later, after recruiting four other friends, Fitz & the Tantrums were born. The group quickly took off, earning huge nods for their 2010 album Pickin’ Up The Pieces and its hit “MoneyGrabber.” Critics praised the band for melding Motown soul with a more contemporary edginess.

Now it’s safe to call Fitzpatrick one of the most dynamic frontmen in the music business, but he started out on the other side of the glass. As a sound engineer, Fitzpatrick learned the trade under producer Mickey Petralia, who’s eclectic resume includes Beck, Flight of the Conchords, and Rage Against The Machine. He brings that ear to his own music, too. When he was originally putting the Tantrums together, Fitzpatrick knew he needed a co-lead singer he could play off of musically. Enter Noelle Scaggs, who previously put in time as a backup for the Black Eyed Peas, Mayer Hawthorne, and Damian Marley. In the live setting, the pair are unstoppable, alternating the spotlight with ease.

Fitz & the Tantrums recently stopped by KUTX’s Studio 1A, and they revealed to host Kevin Connor that Austin was the final piece of the puzzle. In 2010, the band attended SXSW for the first time, but their shows were sparsely-attended and somewhat disheartening. It wasn’t until a final performance for Dangerbird Records at Mellow Johnny’s that something clicked. A few months later, the Tantrums were signed to Dangerbird and well on their way. Now the group has a second album to its name–More Than Just A Dream–and they’re back on the road. The band played to a packed house in Studio 1A, blasting out of the gate with the catchy–and guitar-less–“Keepin’ Our Eyes Out.

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