The Zutons

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The Zutons
The Zutons.jpg
The Zutons live Coachella 2006
Background information
Origin Liverpool, England
Genres Indie rock, blues rock
Years active 2001–2009
Labels Deltasonic, Sony Records
Website thezutons.com
Members Dave McCabe
Russell Pritchard
Sean Payne
Abi Harding
Paul Molloy
Past members Boyan Chowdhury

The Zutons were an English indie rock band from Liverpool. They were formed in 2001 and released their first album, Who Killed...... The Zutons? in May 2004. They achieved their biggest hits with "Why Won't You Give Me Your Love?" and "Valerie", both taken from their second studio album Tired of Hanging Around in 2006. Both singles reached number 9 in the UK Singles Chart. "Valerie" was later covered by Mark Ronson (with the lead vocals provided by Amy Winehouse), who took the song to number 2 in 2007.

History[edit]

The Zutons formed in Liverpool in 2001, taking their name from The Magic Band guitarist Bill Harkleroad, better known as Zoot Horn (or "Zuton") Rollo. Dave McCabe had previously been in Tramp Attack, and Russ and Sean were in The Big Kids (with Sean's brother Howie Payne of The Stands). Originally a four-piece, Sean's girlfriend Abi Harding began joining The Zutons on stage for a couple of songs mid-set, playing simple saxophone lines. She was very popular with the crowd. The other band members liked the way her saxophone enhanced their sound. Abi became a full member, contributing vocals and sax.

Deltasonic head Alan Wills was initially dubious about the musical talents of McCabe, telling HitQuarters: "I’d heard other bands Dave had played in and I thought they were all rubbish." The Coral's James Skelly was persistent in trying to convince Wills of his friend's potential and the breakthrough finally came when the bedroom demos of the newly formed Zutons persuaded the Deltasonic head into working with them.[1]

At first, the band had to battle comparisons to The Coral. Both bands were Merseyside bands prominent members of the Liverpool music scene, on the same record label, shared the same producer, Ian Broudie, and were good friends, with McCabe having previously written songs with James Skelly.[1] The band's music has proved difficult to categorize, being described as "psychedelic cartoon punk".[2] McCabe, who is also the lead songwriter, includes amongst his influences Talking Heads, Devo, Sly & the Family Stone, Dexys Midnight Runners, Sublime and Madness.

The first record the band put out was the 3-track CD Devil's Deal, released in September 2002. The following spring they released Creepin' And A Crawlin', and then the download-only single Haunts Me in November 2003. The band's "Z" logo was changed early in 2004 to avoid confusion with the Zenith logo.

The Zutons' debut album, Who Killed...... The Zutons? was released in April 2004, and initially reached No. 13 in the UK album chart. However, after nearly a year later, it managed to move up to No. 9 in early 2005. The LP had a specially printed 3-D cover and came with Zutons 3-D viewing glasses, which many fans then wore to their concerts. Early copies of the album also included a bonus 4-track CD of alternative versions of their songs. The album was critically acclaimed and was a nominee for the 2004 Mercury Music Prize. The band themselves were nominated for the British Breakthrough Act award at the 2005 BRIT Awards. The album was later re-issued following the single "Don't Ever Think (Too Much)", with that song being added as track 13. The track "Confusion" was used in a Peugeot 307 car advert in the UK during 2004-2005. In the United States, the song "Pressure Point" was featured in a commercial for Levi's. This song was also featured in the video game MVP Baseball 2005. The album went on to sell 581,081 copies by July 2006.

The new album Tired of Hanging Around was released on 17 April 2006 and reached No. 2 in the UK album charts. The first single from the album "Why Won't You Give Me Your Love?" and the second single "Valerie" both peaked at 9 in the charts, a fair achievement considering their highest place previously had been with the single "Don't Ever Think (Too Much)" at 15. The band toured the UK in May 2006 following the release of this album. They played at the Jersey Live Festival on 2 September 2006 before their second UK tour which began in November 2006. In October 2006, they performed at The Secret Policeman's Ball. On New Year's Eve 2006, the Zutons appeared on Jools Holland's annual Hootenanny on BBC television on which they performed their songs "Valerie", "Why Don't You Give Me Your Love?" and "It's The Little Things We Do."

Abi Harding playing the saxophone

As the November tour began, the band gave an interview to STV discussing songwriting, making videos and their American dates with The Killers. In a separate interview, Payne complained about the tendency of music writers and magazines to generalise a particular city as the breeding ground of new 'movements', "A lot of bands get lumped in when they’re in the same neck of the woods and journalists–especially in England–like to make a big deal out of that and make it into a scene, as if the individual bands aren’t good enough to write about."[3]

The Zutons recorded a live session for Live from Abbey Road on 25 August 2006. Three songs from their second album were aired: "Hello Conscience", "I Know I'll Never Leave" and "Valerie" (with the ending of "Railroad" from Who Killed...... The Zutons? attached to the end). Their performance was shown on Channel 4 in the UK and the Sundance Channel in the USA on an episode shared with Shawn Colvin, Nerina Pallot and Ray LaMontagne.

The band announced on 13 July 2007 that guitarist Boyan Chowdhury had left The Zutons, citing "musical differences".[4] After Chowdhury left the band, bassist Russell Pritchard claimed: "It was like splitting up with someone. It set us back in a way and moved us forward too. I had a little bit of a cry about it. I'm not ashamed to admit. It was hard confronting him about it". The band claim that Chowdhury's departure was a mutual decision. In late 2007, The Zutons asked multi-instrumentalist Paul Molloy, formerly of The Skylarks and The Stands, to join the band. He has played with the band on such occasions as the Isle of Wight Festival and Radio 1's Big Weekend 2008.

The band released their third studio album titled You Can Do Anything on 2 June 2008. It was the band's first album to feature Paul Molloy on lead guitar. The first single was "Always Right Behind You" which was released on 26 May 2008. The album was recorded earlier in the year in Los Angeles, California. On 17 May 2008 The Zutons appeared on Soccer AM as guest stars. They performed "Always Right Behind You" at the end to celebrate the last show of the season. In the summer of 2008, The Zutons had their first UK tour in 2 years. They were scheduled to play seven gigs in forest settings as part of The Forestry Commission's Forest Tour.[5]

On 26 July 2008, The Zutons played in Japan's Fuji Rock Festival for a third time. On 30 August 2008, the Zutons appeared at the Indie Festival, Jersey Live, headlining the festival along with The Prodigy.[6] Over the 2008 Christmas holidays, the band was dropped from Sony/BMG.[7]

The band played at the Wickerman Festival in 2009 and headlined the 2009 Summer Sundae Festival in Leicester. Since then the band has been inactive with Pritchard joining Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Molloy collaborating with Candie Payne and Sean Payne recording with Miles Kane. In 2010, singer Dave McCabe was convicted of assault .[8] The Zutons' song What's your Problem was featured in a trailer for the 2012 movie Wreck-It Ralph.[9]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Interview with Alan Wills". HitQuarters. 24 May 2004. Retrieved 25 Nov 2010. 
  2. ^ "The BRIT Awards 2012". Brits.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-04-30. 
  3. ^ "The Zutons at Ukula Magazine". Ukula.com. Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  4. ^ "Zutons guitarist quits band". NME.com. 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2007-07-13. 
  5. ^ "The Zutons Live Music Tour 2008". Forestry Commission. Retrieved 2008-06-23. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "The Zutons dropped by record label". NME. 14 January 2009. 
  8. ^ Staff Writer (29 October 2010). "Zutons singer Dave McCabe ordered to compensate headbutt victim". The Daily Telegraph. 
  9. ^ "Wreck-It Ralph Official Trailer #2 (2012) Disney Animated Movie HD". YouTube. 2012-09-12. Retrieved 2012-12-12. 

External links[edit]