Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

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Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
ESMZ Press Photo 2015-2.jpg
Background information
Origin Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres Indie folk, psychedelic folk, gospel, neo-psychedelia
Years active 2007–present
Labels Rough Trade Records, Communion, Community Music
Associated acts Ima Robot, We Are Each Other, Sugarcult, Alexander, Fool's Gold
Website edwardsharpeandthemagneticzeros.com
Members Alex Ebert
Stewart Cole
Josh Collazo
Orpheo McCord
Christian Letts
Seth Ford-Young
Mark Noseworthy
Christopher Richard
Mitchell Yoshida
Nico Aglietti
Past members Jade Castrinos (Lemons)
Aaron Embry
Nora Kirkpatrick
Aaron Older
Tay Strathairn

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros is an American folk rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 2007. The group is led by lead singer Alex Ebert. The band's name is based on a story Ebert wrote in his youth, about a messianic figure named Edward Sharpe. Drawing from roots rock, folk, gospel, and psychedelic music, the band's image and sound evoke the hippie movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The group's first show was played July 18, 2007 at The Troubadour in West Hollywood, California. Their first studio album, Up from Below, was released on July 7, 2009 on Community Records and featured the popular single "Home". The group released their second full-length album, Here, on May 29, 2012, and third album, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, on July 23, 2013. Their fourth studio album, PersonA, was released in April 2016.

Since its founding, the band has undergone several iterations. Most notably, singer Jade Castrinos left the band in 2014. The band's current members are Mark Noseworthy, Orpheo McCord, Josh Collazo, Christian Letts, Nico Aglietti, Seth Ford-Young, Mitchell Yoshida, Christopher Richard, Stewart Cole, and Alex Ebert. The band also operates Big Sun, a non-profit focused on funding and developing co-ops and land trusts in urban areas around the world. Their first large-scale project, "Avalon Village," is in Highland Park (within Detroit), Michigan.


Origin and first studio album (Up From Below)[edit]

The group performing in a park in 2009

After years of the Los Angeles party life and subsequent drug addiction, Ima Robot frontman Alex Ebert broke up with his then-girlfriend, moved out of his house, and spent time in rehab.[1] During this time, Ebert began to write a book about a messianic figure named Edward Sharpe that was "sent down to Earth to kinda heal and save mankind, but he kept getting distracted by girls and falling in love." Ebert adopted the Sharpe persona as his alter ego. He said, "I don't want to put too much weight on it, because in some ways it's just a name that I came up with. But I guess if I look deeper, I do feel like I had lost my identity in general. I really didn't know what was going on or who I was anymore. Adopting another name helped me open up an avenue to get back."[2]

Though the band at times grew into an ensemble of more than ten people, Ebert began initial writing and recording completely alone, doing "the horn lines with [his] mouth or a kazoo on the demos" and "all the background vocals layering ... pretending that there were people there."[3] After meeting singer Jade Castrinos outside a Los Angeles cafe,[4] Ebert and Castrinos started writing music together, and became a part of the art and music collective The Masses, which was partially started by some seed money from actor Heath Ledger.[5] While the two had a romantic relationship that did not last, their fledgling group eventually swelled to more than ten members, some of whom had been Alex's friends since he was young. In mid 2009, Ebert, Castrinos, and a group of musicians toured the country by bus as Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. The first show they played in 2009 was at the Marfa Film Festival in Marfa, Texas.[1] The band recorded their debut album, Up from Below, in Laurel Canyon. Produced by Aaron Older and Nico Aglietti, it was released on July 14, 2009. Up from Below is also the name of one of the songs in this album, in which Alex states "I was only five/when my dad told me I'd die/I cried as he said son/ was nothing could be done". Says Alexander, "My dad would be doing therapy in his office upstairs and I'd hear screamings, because they'd be role-playing and he'd be acting as his patient's father and they'd get upset and hit him and all this stuff. When he wasn't working, I'd go up there to draw and one day the music he was playing, Beethoven I think, delivered to me the idea of life and death. The information was bequeathed to me by the music. It was sonic and emotional. I tapped my dad on the shoulder and asked him if I was going to die and he said, 'Yeah.'"

The group performing at Lollapalooza Chile in 2011

On April 12, 2009, the band released "Desert Song", a music video and the first of a 12-part feature-length musical called SALVO!.[6] Part 2, "Kisses Over Babylon", was released November 24, 2009 through Spinner.com.[7] Part 3, "40 Day Dream", was uploaded to YouTube by the band on May 19, 2011.[8]

Big Easy Express and second studio album (Here)[edit]

In April 2011, the band joined Mumford & Sons and Old Crow Medicine Show on the Railroad Revival Tour. According to American Songwriter, the tour stopped in six cities, playing alternative venues such as an Austin, Texas high school where Mumford & Sons taught the marching band how to play their hit "The Cave". The tour was also the subject of Grammy-nominated director Emmett Malloy's latest documentary Big Easy Express, which strove to capture "the pure joy of music" through Americana folk imagery.[9] The documentary went on to win in the category for Best Long Form Music Video at the 2013 Grammy Awards. In 2011, Railroad Revival Tour bands Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Old Crow Medicine Show together closed their shows at every stop with "This Train".

The group's second album, Here, was released on May 29, 2012.

Third studio album (Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros)[edit]

The band's third studio and self-titled album, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, was released in 2013. This was followed by tours of North America, UK, Europe, and Australia which included headlining concert dates as well as major festivals.[10] The band became known for taking people onstage with them, including a former patient they had previously met in a hospital performance, and a disabled man in a wheelchair.[3]

Fourth studio album (PersonA)[edit]

The band's fourth studio album, PersonA, was released April 15, 2016 through Community Music. Recording the music almost entirely in one room together in New Orleans, their approach was a far cry from their ramshackle, come-one-come-all production audible on recordings of their previous albums.

In an in-depth interview with Transverso Media, Ebert explained his desire to evolve on PersonA, stating, "In a lot of ways this album does things that are missing." He went on to discuss why the name Edward Sharpe is crossed out on the cover, saying, "There was no character to begin with, so why not kill him? He never really was there. If anything, and at most, Edward Sharpe was a vehicle for me to get to slough off whatever I had become up until that point, and to get back to or sort of allow my pure self to come forth into sort of a clean slate." [3]


Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinos made up the singing core of the band for years

As of marketing on the band's Facebook page in 2013[11]:

  • Mitchell Yoshida – piano, clavinet, vocals

Additional, touring and/or recording personnel[edit]

As listed in the iTunes LP for the most recent album, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, 2013, or present tour:

  • Nico Aglietti – guitar and co-producer; previously synthesizer, keyboards, vocals, and a main band member
  • Aaron Arntz – piano; previously also clavinet, vocals as a main band member
  • Aaron Embry – piano, organs; previously keyboards, piano, vocals, harmonica as a main band member
  • Roger Joseph Manning Jr – piano
  • Omer Tamuz – didgeridoo
  • Nathaniel Markman – fiddler
  • Fred Bows – violin
  • Susie Bows – violin
  • Hippos August – humming, moaning, Surbahar
  • Joy Cantor – public relations
  • Ryan Messick – tour manager
  • Bryan Ling – manager

Former personnel[edit]

In addition to Aglietti, Arntz and Embry:

  • Aaron Older – co-producer, bass, vocals, banjo, percussion
  • Tay Strathairn – piano, harmonica, vocals
  • Jade Castrinos – vocals, guitar, percussion, keyboard
  • Nora Kirkpatrick – accordion, keyboard, vocals

Past touring/ additional personnel[edit]

  • Odessa Jorgensen – fiddle, vocals during 2012-2013 tour
  • Anna Bulbrook – viola, vocals
  • Tyler James – piano, vocals
  • Felix Bloxsom – drums
  • Adam Privitera – penny whistler
  • Ryan Richter – guitar, lap steel
  • Michael Farfel – manager/announcer


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions



Up from Below 76 13 86 175 176 94 52
  • Release date: May 29, 2012
  • Label: Vagrant, Rough Trade
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
5 1 37 9 97 170
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
  • Release date: July 23, 2013
  • Label: Vagrant, Rough Trade
14 2 24 10 74 97 51
  • Release date: April 15, 2016[23]
  • Label: Community Music Group
  • Some songs already available on Soundcloud[24]
130 12 57
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or have not been released in that region



Year Single Peak chart positions Album





2009 "40 Day Dream/Geez Louise" Up from Below
2010 "Home" 9 18 39 40 39 64 7 57 27 50
"Memory of a Free Festival"
"Chickens in Love"
2011 "Home" (Party Supplies Remix) 19 Non-album single
2012 "That's What's Up" Here
"One Love to Another" [A]
"Man on Fire" [B] 24 [C] [D]
2013 "Better Days" 21 109 Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
"Life Is Hard"
2016 "Hot Coals" PersonA
"No Love Like Yours" 29
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


  1. ^ "One Love to Another" did not enter the Billboard Hot 100, but peaked at number 18 on the Hot Singles Sales chart.[25]
  2. ^ "Man on Fire" did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100 but did peak at number 23 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, which is an extension of the Billboard Hot 100.[25]
  3. ^ "Man on Fire" did not enter the Alternative Rock Songs chart, but peaked at number 18 on the Alternative Digital Songs chart.[25]
  4. ^ "Man on Fire" did not enter the Rock Songs chart, but peaked at number 23 on the Rock Digital Songs chart.[25]

Other charted songs[edit]

Year Title US

2012 "Give Me a Sign" 9 Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros


  1. ^ a b "Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros: C'Mon Get Happy! :: Music :: Features :: Paste". Pastemagazine.com. 2009-09-28. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  2. ^ McDonald, Scott (2009-11-06). "Edward Sharpe, aka Alex Ebert, finds himself with The Magnetic Zeros". Sdnn.com. Archived from the original on 31 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  3. ^ a b c Edward Sharpe Is Dead: Alex Ebert on The Magnetic Zeros' Pursuit of Failure, Identity, and Unrealism — TRANSVERSO. Transversomedia.com. Retrieved on 2016-04-15.
  4. ^ Marta Tarbel (24 November 2009). "Dynamic, Charismatic and Determined to Set the Soul Free". Telluridewatch.com. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  5. ^ Randall Roberts (2008-07-10). "Heath Ledger's Final Days Among the Masses - Page 1 - Film+TV - Los Angeles". LA Weekly. Archived from the original on 9 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  6. ^ “”. "Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros - Desert Song". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  7. ^ "Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, 'Kisses Over Babylon' - Video Premiere". Spinner. 2009-11-24. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  8. ^ "Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, '40 Day Dream (extended version)". THE MASSES & Community Music. 2011-05-19. Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  9. ^ Moss, Marissa (27 April 2012). "Mumford & Co. Chase The American Dream In Big Easy Express". American Songwriter. Retrieved 5 June 2012. 
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 12, 2014. Retrieved August 11, 2014. 
  11. ^ Omslagfoto's. Facebook. Retrieved on 2013-08-08.
  12. ^ "Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  13. ^ "Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Independent Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  14. ^ "The ARIA Report: Week Commencing 8 February 2010" (PDF) (1041). Pandora Archive. February 8, 2010. Retrieved December 3, 2012. 
  15. ^ "australian-charts.com - Discography Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros". Retrieved December 3, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b [1]
  17. ^ a b [2]
  18. ^ "Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Billboard Canada 200". Billboard. Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  19. ^ a b Discographie Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. lescharts.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-22.
  20. ^ a b Discography Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros. irish-charts.com. Retrieved on 2016-07-22.
  21. ^ a b Discographie Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros. lescharts.com. Retrieved on 2016-07-22.
  22. ^ Official Charts Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros. officialcharts.com. Retrieved on 2016-07-22.
  23. ^ PersonA by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros on iTunes. Itunes.apple.com. Retrieved on 2016-04-15.
  24. ^ Edward Sharpe Mag Zeros | Free Listening on SoundCloud. Soundcloud.com. Retrieved on 2016-04-15.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Billboard.biz". billboard.com. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  26. ^ "'Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Adult Alternative Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  27. ^ "Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Alternative Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  28. ^ a b "Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros - Home - Music Charts". Acharts.us. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  29. ^ "Chart log uk: new entries update". Zobbel.de. Retrieved 2013-07-22. 

External links[edit]