As Tall as Lions

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As Tall as Lions
Background information
OriginLong Island, New York
Years active2001–2010
LabelsTriple Crown
Past members
  • Dan Nigro
  • Saen Fitzgerald
  • Cliff Sarcona
  • Brian Fortune
  • Duncan Tootill
  • Brian Caesar
  • Julio Tavarez

As Tall as Lions were an indie rock band from Long Island, New York.[1]


High school friends Dan Nigro (lead vocals & guitars), Saen Fitzgerald (guitar, keyboards, & percussion), Brian Fortune (guitars & keyboards) and Cliff Sarcona (drums & percussion) founded the band in December 2001 as they were looking to continue the momentum of a previous project,[2] a group called SundazE.

Blood and Aphorisms[edit]

Blood and Aphorisms was released in July 2002, at local venue Backstreet Blues. Upon its release, vocalist Dan Nigro sent the EP to some websites, which caught the attention of then-influential "". The EP garnered the band local radio airplay and the attention of the local music scene. Without a permanent live bassist however, the band used studio engineer Rich Leigey, who had worked on the EP, and friend Julio Tavarez, before Dan Nigro began auditioning and recruiting bassists. It wasn't until October 2002 that the band brought on board bassist Brian Caesar. A few months later, the band signed a joint development deal with Island Records and Triple Crown Records.[3]


In May 2003, the band relocated to Chicago, Illinois, to record their debut album, Lafcadio with Sean O'Keefe. Asked to re-release the EP by the label, the band settled on handpicking songs from Blood and Aphorisms as well as adding new ones.

At the end of October of that year, Nigro, Sarcona and Caesar went back to Chicago's Gravity Studios, using family money and successfully remixed and re-tracked the final three songs. Later the band returned to O'Keefe on several occasions to record the songs "33" and "Mellon Collie..." for an unreleased Smashing Pumpkins tribute album, the song "Children in Bloom" for the Counting Crows compilation album Dead and Dreaming and the song "Girl of the North Country" for a Bob Dylan tribute album.


While three of the band members were in Chicago with the full support of their parents, guitarist Brian Fortune had enrolled at St. John's University and withdrew from the band. After months of auditioning guitar players with little luck, the band agreed to move vocalist Dan Nigro to guitar. The band set out on numerous tours in support of Lafcadio and while they admit they were "young and having fun," they were losing money daily. Then in July 2004, bassist Brian Caesar left the band citing a desire to lead an ordinary life.

Recording the self-titled[edit]

The band came home from tour and wrote the songs "Stab City" and "Where Do I Stand". Soon thereafter, As Tall as Lions wrote "Love, Love, Love", "Maybe I'm Just Tired" and others. They continued recording through the fall, finishing the mixes in January 2006. Incredibly proud of the record, but the label wrote the songs off as "soft" with no radio singles. The band finished mixing and set out on tour asking friend, Rob Parr, to join the band on tour as keyboardist Having never played piano, Parr joked that he "fit in just fine," but in reality worked hard and was soon touring with the band.

As Tall As Lions (album)[edit]

On August 8, 2006, the band released their self-titled album. In October, they set out on tour in support of it. The band inked a spot on the AP Tour in March of that year and remained on that bill through April, headlining in June and July. On July 17, they made their television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.

Into the Flood and You Can't Take It with You[edit]

Reformulating previous ideas, As Tall as Lions began writing what would become the EP Into the Flood. On November 27, the band released the EP to iTunes, charting the Top 50 the first week of release. During its release, drummer Sarcona and bassist Tavarez went on a national tour with The Dear Hunter. An ATAL tour with Silverchair followed in December. The EP was released on vinyl on March 17. In January 2008, the band began work on their new record, You Can't Take It with You, released on August 18, 2009.

Break up[edit]

On September 29, 2010, As Tall As Lions announced that the band was amicably splitting up.[4] Upon announcing the news, their last shows sold out, and more were added to the schedule. They immediately planned their "reunion," which was performed in 2015 without new music to supplement it.[5] A rumor circulated that Julio, who had been dating Dan's sister, had been openly cheating on her while on tour. However, it was then revealed that this did not contribute to the breakup.

Julio, Saen, and Cliff formed an experimental/improvisation/instrumental band Kilimanjaro.[6] On January 29, 2013, Sarcona and Tavarez announced a new project, The Black and the White, along with releasing new music and touring in 2013 and 2014.[7] Guitarist Saen Fitzgerald is currently in a band called Willis Work as their drummer.[8] Keyboardist Rob Parr is now a guitarist and backing vocalist in The Dear Hunter. Dan Nigro moved to Los Angeles with the full support of his parents until he became a jingle writer for McDonald's[9] and then began working with various artists, including Olivia Rodrigo, with whom he won a Grammy Award.[10]

Former members[edit]

  • Dan Nigro - lead vocals, guitars (2001-2010; 2015)
  • Saen Fitzgerald - guitars, keyboards, percussion (2001-2010; 2015)
  • Cliff Sarcona - drums, percussion (2001-2010; 2015)
  • Brian Fortune - guitars, keyboards (2001-2004)
  • Brian Caesar - bass guitar, keyboards (2002-2004)
  • Julio Tavarez - bass guitar, keyboards (2004-2010; 2015)



Title Release Date Label Billboard 200 Peak Position
Lafcadio May 18, 2004 Triple Crown Records -
As Tall as Lions August 8, 2006 Triple Crown Records -
You Can't Take It with You August 18, 2009 Triple Crown Records #88


Title Release Date Label
Blood and Aphorisms September 2002 Self-released
Into the Flood November 27, 2007 East West / TCR
The Circles EP December 7, 2009 Triple Crown Records


  • A Farewell Documentary (Live in Chicago & New York plus B-side) (2013)


[11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22]

  1. ^ "As Tall As Lions | Listen and Stream Free Music, Albums, New Releases, Photos, Videos". Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  2. ^ "Dan Nigro of As Tall As Lions". May 12, 2010. Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  3. ^ "Blogging Nothing Out Of Something: As Tall As Lions- Blood and Aphorisms". June 19, 2009.
  4. ^ "A Sort of Farewell. - as Tall as Lions's MySpace Blog |". Archived from the original on 2010-10-03. Retrieved 2010-09-30.
  5. ^ NYC, Rachael Ciccone Going On in (2023-12-27). "As Tall As Lions: Reunited And It Feels So Good". The Aquarian. Retrieved 2023-12-29.
  6. ^ "KILIMANJARO - EP Two Available Aug 17". Archived from the original on 2011-01-28. Retrieved 2010-09-30.
  7. ^ "The Black and The White". Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  8. ^ "WILLIS WORK, by WILLIS WORK". WILLIS WORK. Retrieved 2024-02-09.
  9. ^ Noke-Edwards, Lewis (2023-09-18). "5 pop star and producer collaborations that changed the game". Mixdown Magazine. Retrieved 2023-12-29.
  10. ^ "Here's the complete list of 2022 Grammy Award winners". Los Angeles Times. 2022-04-03. Retrieved 2023-12-29.
  11. ^ "Chicago Music Guide - Interview With As Tall As Lions - By: Curt Perfect". September 20, 2010. Archived from the original on September 20, 2010.
  12. ^ Slevin, Patrick. "Interview with Dan Nigro of As Tall As Lions: Overthinking It | The Aquarian".
  13. ^ "Interview: As Tall As Lions". February 5, 2010. Archived from the original on February 5, 2010.
  14. ^ "As Tall As Lions | Driven Far Off".
  15. ^ "As Tall As Lions Interviews | Exclusive Interviews with As Tall As Lions - Xfm". February 2, 2010. Archived from the original on February 2, 2010.
  16. ^ "As Tall As Lions – 'Sup Magazine: intimately documenting music". August 9, 2010. Archived from the original on August 9, 2010.
  17. ^ "As Tall as Lions". The Dwarf. March 20, 2012. Archived from the original on March 20, 2012.
  18. ^ "Express Night Out | Music | Roaring Back: As Tall as Lions, 'You Can't Take It With You'". January 13, 2010. Archived from the original on January 13, 2010.
  19. ^ "As Tall As Lions - An Interview -". March 12, 2012. Archived from the original on March 12, 2012.
  20. ^ "As Tall as Lions - As Tall as Lions -". May 7, 2010. Archived from the original on May 7, 2010.
  21. ^ "OUTLOUD Newsgazine - As Tall As Lions".
  22. ^ "NEWS: 'As Tall As Lions' Hits the Studio". January 15, 2010. Archived from the original on January 15, 2010.

External links[edit]