“I walk to the sound of my own drum” boasts a lyric from “The Walker,” a new song from Fitz and The Tantrums’ highly-anticipated sophomore release More Than Just A Dream on Elektra.
During their performance at the Red Bull Sound Space in Los Angeles, frontman Michael Fitzpatrick a/k/a “Fitz” explains that the song is based off a local Silverlake, Los Angeles hero dubbed “The Walking Man” when he was alive.
The Walking Man would often be seen speed-walking through the streets of Silverlake for hours while reading a newspaper, usually in nothing but little green shorts.
Everyone thought he was a little crazy, but he proved to be a reasonably normal guy, a doctor even, who just liked to walk to the beat of his own drum.
Just like Fitz and the Tantrums.
Their newest musical endeavor has broken off slightly from their signature soul-influenced indie pop, more representing the band’s eclectic musical tastes. However, their performance style is just as high-energy as the dance-oriented call-and-response days of soul and Motown.
Much of this is owed to the amazing chemistry between Fitzpatrick and frontwoman Noelle Scaggs, a sonic pairing so dynamic that the band’s lack of guitar isn’t musically missed.
When a fan in the crowd did asked if it was natural for the band to be sans guitar, Fitzpatrick said that they decide from the “getty” that they were going to try and make songs that were as big as possible and that would “rock your socks off without guitars.”
“Sorry to all guitar players. No noodling in this band.” With talented musicians like James King, Joseph Karnes, Jeremy Ruzumna, and John Wicks on the plethora of instruments the band has coursing through the soul of every song, noodling seems a thing of the past.
For all their retro influences, Fitz and the Tantrums seem like a sextet from the future.
LL Cool J tapped Fitz and The Tantrums to co-write songs with him. Scaggs also sang on one of his tracks.
“She was just watching him lick his lips,” joked Fitzpatrick, later regaling the crowd with a story about how Snoop Lion, “one of the sweetest guys ever,” rolled up with “a big blunt in his mouth like ‘What up?’”
While Scaggs might have been watching LL lick his lips and whispering his ad libs into her ear, Fitzpatrick said that when Fitz and the Tantrums played Live at Daryl’s House “he was getting his man crush on.”
“A true legend,” gushed Fitzpatrick. “At first I was a little intimidated but he was so welcoming and if you ever watch that ‘Live From Daryl’s House’ episode, I’m smiling like a little girl the whole time.”
Which is what Fitz and the Tantrums made the crowd at the Red Bull Sound Space do while they played songs like “Break the Walls,” “Don’t Gotta Work It Out,” “Out Of My League,” “Moneygrabber,” and “The Walker.”
“I mean, it is truly a dream come true for us. We just wanted to say from all of us to all of you, thank you so so so much for supporting a local band like ours.”
Fitz and the Tantrums have become those local heroes that they so graciously write about or thank, proving that following in the footsteps of those you “man crush” on can be “more than just a dream.”
Fitz and the Tantrums’ More Than Just A Dream comes out May 7th on Elektra Records and is now available for pre-order.
–Nadia Noir, CBS Local Los Angeles