Fitz and The Tantrums Is More Than Just a Dream

Categories: Interview, Q&A

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Needless to say, my blonde roots were showing on the day of my chat with John Wicks from Fitz and The Tantrums. Being a native Texan living in Arizona, where you never set back the clock, is bound to set anyone off eventually when discussion of time zones falls into place.

Needless to say: I mistook Mountain Time for Pacific. However, John thought just one state not changing the time for daylight savings was creepy and we were able to work out an interview over the phone.

Time-zone creepiness aside, Fitz and The Tantrums will be making their way to Phoenix on August 4 to perform at the Crescent Ballroom for their More Than Just a Dream tour. Besides the nostalgic moments that John and I obsessed over for a bit -- Fitz and the Tantrums was my first review for this paper -- we were able to chat about the differences between their first and second album, along with his obsession with running marathons and coffee -- he has his own coffee blog.

Up on the Sun: Funny enough, about this time last year, I got to chat with Noelle Scaggs about how y'all were in the process of recording your most recent album. As well, it's kind of nostalgic to me, but last time y'all made a stop by in Phoenix, y'all had an outdoor concert in downtown. That Fitz and The Tantrums show was the first concert that I ever reviewed.

John: That's right. I remember that now. Wow, it's all coming back to me now. Last time I was in Phoenix for that show, I ran the Rock and Roll Marathon right after we played. I'm like a freak runner. I played the show, ran the marathon after, and right after that I jumped on a plane and flew to Denver to meet the band and play a show that night.

I was cramping during the set, eating crackers, and salt pills. It was brutal. I have a 50-mile race and a 100-mile race coming up in the fall. I'm training for it now.

And we've added many to our crew now, and we have people out in Phoenix, and they reminded me that y'all don't change time out there. And I'm like, that is freaky. Being from Montana and not living in L.A. like the rest of the Fitz crew, I didn't realize that was such a thing. And I remember that when we were out there for that concert I had some issue with time change.

I'm from Texas and lived here for about three years now, and apparently I still can't grasp this freakiness. Clock times aside, Fitz and The Tantrums has got a really distinct sound. There is no guitars; it's very abstract and different. Pickin' Up The Pieces really possessed that sort of Motown sound, but with More Than Just A Dream it seems that there was a different transition or progress throughout the band toward a more varied sound.
Well the first record was very much -- well, I would even say that it was probably about 75 percent done [when] we had all met Fitz. He had done a lot of that record already in his living room. So the tone of Pickin' Up The Pieces had already been set and the compass had already been set to a certain direction.

And now with More Than Just a Dream, the difference is that we've all been a band for a little over four years now. We all have our distinct influences and voices. As a result, you're going to get a completely different sound. The first record, like I had said, the compass was already set.

Strangely, it was actually really fortuitous that the first record had already sounded that way, that kind of Motown vibe. That was actually the reason I got called for Fitz. I had a reputation when I was working with Bruno Mars and Cee Lo to be able to produce that sort of sound on the drums and play within that style.

And then before I knew it, I was in this band that sort of took off, and I never really had any plans of being in a band. I was just, like, a hired drummer guy. [Laughs]

But like I was saying, when our most recent record came about . . . we all have our own influences. I'm usually influenced by disco, funk, and new wave. That came into the album. Jeremy, our keyboardist, is really influenced by Prince.

And as a result, [with] our different styles, we got this new album. The rules going into making it was that there were no rules. Many times we would get the remark, "Well, this doesn't sound like Fitz and The Tantrums, so we can't do it." [For this], we weren't allowed to say that.

It was like nothing was off the table, and we were really into that. I know a few times people would say that it didn't really sound like us, and we would be like, well, screw you!


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