RAGGED Exclusive: Lessons in Soul with Fitz and the Tantrums


October 24, 2011

Straight from the pages of the brand new issue of RAGGED, enjoy an excerpt from our feature story with Fitz and the Tantrums here, and be sure to download your free PDF of the full issue here, for the rest of the article including additional photos from our shoot!


Some breakups burn hard, and take twice the amount of time that you were in the relationship to recover from. Others are fateful lessons learned that urge us to reflect back —- “What was I thinking?” Regardless of how it goes down and which side of the fence you land on, there’s nothing like a good solid breakup anthem to propel you towards the light at the end of the tunnel. With words that yearn but make you feel stronger at the same time, moved by the satisfaction that comes from discovering that you’re not alone, songs are the perfect workout for a broken heart.

Los Angeles-based six-piece Fitz and the Tantrums dished out the soul food and heartbreak helper with their debut album, Pickin’ Up the Pieces, last year. The band is composed of two lead singers, Fitz and Noelle, who channel a modern-day version of Ike and Tina Turner, trading barbs and melodies while the Tantrums (bassist Joe Karnes, keyboardist Jeremy Ruzumna, flautist and saxophonist James King and drummer John Wicks) deliver tight, ’60s-esque jams that lift you right up off of the floor. They’ve got the presence and moves to assure you they’re one of the hardest-working bands around and here, RAGGED catches Fitz for a moment during his band’s current tour to discuss the past, present and future sounds of post-heartache hope.



How did you all come together as a band? I heard it was very serendipitous…

Fitz: “Serendipity” is definitely the right word. From writing the first song to putting the band together, it has been almost divine intervention. We had barely played 10 shows when Maroon 5 took us out on tour. It just exploded from there.

The band is unique in the fact that there is not a guitar present. Was that a conscious choice?

I don’t think people always realize it. I am a piano player, so it was just natural to revolve the songs around that instrument. We wanted to see if we could create a big sound without guitars.

What’s better source material: real life experiences or fiction? Do you think one is more difficult or presents problems over the other?

Real life. No more truth can be found than in drawing from your personal experiences. It connects you to the songs every night when you perform them and people can feel that.

You seem to be quite insightful about breakups in your songs. What makes you such an expert?

A very long list of relationships gone bad. I have had more breakups than I care to remember. Problem is, at a certain point you are the common denominator!

What are a couple of breakup survival tips you’d share?

Pour yourself into what you love, hang tight with your friends and get a good make-out session.

What is the worst love advice you were ever given?

I don’t need advice to make bad love decisions. I do that all by myself.

Do you feel that writing as a band is more difficult than writing alone? What is the process like?

They are definitely different. Alone, it can be just your vision but it’s also more challenging to carry all the weight. Writing as a group, there are six of us coming up with ideas and that can be incredible— and sometimes it can be too many ideas.

(Continued in the pages of RAGGED…)




posted by Staff