Fitz and The Tantrums

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Fitz and The Tantrums
Fitz and The Tantrums 2013.jpg
Fitz and The Tantrums in 2013
Background information
Origin Los Angeles, California, USA
Genres Indie pop, neo soul
Years active 2008–present
Labels Dangerbird, MapleMusic (Canada), Elektra
Members Michael Fitzpatrick
Noelle Scaggs
Joe Karnes
James King
Jeremy Ruzumna
John Wicks

Fitz and The Tantrums is an American neo soul/indie pop band from Los Angeles, formed in 2008. Their debut studio album, Pickin' Up the Pieces, released in August 2010, received critical acclaim and reached No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.[1] They were heralded as a "band to watch" in an April 2011 profile in Rolling Stone.[2] They signed to current label Elektra Records In early 2013 and went on to release their sophomore LP More than Just a Dream on May 7, 2013.

The band consists of Michael Fitzpatrick (Lead vocals), Noelle Scaggs (co-Lead vocals and percussion), James King (saxophone, flute, keyboard, percussion and guitar), Joseph Karnes (bass guitar), Jeremy Ruzumna (keyboards) and John Wicks (drums and percussion). Producer Chris Seefried was also a co-writer on the band's first album, Pickin' Up The Pieces. Their second album, 2013's More than Just a Dream, was produced by Tony Hoffer.


Fitz and The Tantrums was founded by Michael Fitzpatrick in 2008. Having purchased an old Conn electronic organ, he was inspired to write the song "Breakin' the Chains of Love" that same night.[3][4] He contacted his college friend, saxophonist James King, who recommended singer Noelle Scaggs and drummer John Wicks. In turn, Wicks brought in bassist Joseph Karnes and keyboardist Jeremy Ruzumna. According to Fitzpatrick, the band immediately clicked. He has said, "It was literally like five phone calls, one rehearsal, and we could have played a show that night."

The band performed their first show at Hotel Café in Hollywood, in December 2008, which Fitzpatrick booked one week after their first rehearsal.[5] In interviews, he has stated the importance of booking a date before the band was ready, in order to bring out the best in all performers. During the first half of 2009 they performed at several clubs in Los Angeles, including the Viper Room and Spaceland.

The band recorded their debut EP, Songs for a Breakup, Vol. 1, during the first half of 2009 at Fitzpatrick's home in Los Angeles.[2] The EP was first released on August 11, 2009 through Canyon Productions.

In September 2009 they toured with Hepcat and Flogging Molly. In November 2009 the band opened eight concerts on the Maroon 5 Back to School Tour.[6][7][8] Their appearance was at short notice, after previously scheduled K'naan cancelled due to fatigue in late October.[9][10] According to Fitzpatrick, "Adam Levine from Maroon 5 was in New York to get a tattoo and his favorite tattoo artist had downloaded the record after hearing us on the radio. He told Adam, 'you gotta hear this band.' A week and a half later we're opening for Maroon 5 on their college tour."[2] In December 2009 the band shot the official music video for their first single "Breakin' The Chains of Love", directed by Joshua Leonard. It features Fitzpatrick and Scaggs in a moving and rotating bed.

Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs at a 2010 performance in San Diego
Fitz and the Tantrums in 2010

In March 2010, Fitz and The Tantrums played at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. The festival is traditionally an important event for new groups to meet with representatives of the music industry. On April 15, 2010, Fitz and The Tantrums opened for ska legends The Specials on their North American reunion tour at Club Nokia in Los Angeles. On April 26, 2010, Dangerbird Records announced that they had signed Fitz and The Tantrums.[11][12] Their first full-length album, Pickin' Up the Pieces was released on August 24, 2010.

In October 2010, Daryl Hall invited the band to perform on his popular web-series Live From Daryl's House.[13] They played a seven-song set including four Tantrums songs, early Hall song "Girl I Love You", "Perkiomen", and finishing with "Sara Smile". "I walked back into the kitchen of his big old house in upstate New York and his mother was there," recalled Fitzpatrick. "She said, 'Fitz, come over here. You sound just like my son!'"[2]

Fitz and The Tantrums performed the songs "MoneyGrabber" and "Don't Gotta Work It Out" on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! in Los Angeles on January 12, 2011. On February 28, they performed "MoneyGrabber" on TBS' Conan and on April 5, on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

In 2011, the band announced a U.S. and international tour with April Smith and the Great Picture Show. On Friday, February 3, 2012, Fitz and The Tantrums performed the song "Don't Gotta Work It Out" on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Episode 581, taped for broadcast at the Hilbert Circle Theatre in Indianapolis. They performed a free show at Thursday at the Square in Buffalo, New York on June 14, 2012 and at the Basilica Block Party in Minneapolis, Minnesota on July 7, 2012.

The band's sophomore LP, More Than Just a Dream, was released May 7, 2013 on Elektra Records.[14] The album features the lead single "Out of My League", which reached number one on Billboard's Alternative charts on September 30, 2013.[15]

"Out of My League (version française)" has also been released, and is being played on Canadian radio. This version has most of the verses sung in French, while the chorus remains in English.

Use in popular culture[edit]

Professional skateboarder Mike Mo Capaldi used "MoneyGrabber" as his song choice for the Girl/Chocolate skateboard video "Pretty Sweet". Another band's song featured in a skateboard video, "L.O.V." was chosen for Trent McClung/Trevor McClung's part in Bones (TV series) "New Ground". "MoneyGrabber" is also featured in the 2013 commercial for New Amsterdam vodka

The band's song "News 4 U" was chosen for the promo of Desperate Housewives seventh season in mid-March 2011. Their song "MoneyGrabber" was featured in the "How 'bout that?" segment of the April 23, 2011 episode of "This Week in Baseball", and was featured in the first episode of 24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the NHL Winter Classic in the Flyers' clubhouse. "MoneyGrabber" was also prominently featured at the beginning of the Criminal Minds episode "Safe Haven" (6.5).

Their song "Spark" is on the FIFA 13 soundtrack as well as an Argos advert for Christmas 2014. Their song "The Walker" was featured at the beginning of Suits (Season 3, Episode 9) as well as the 2013 film Identity Thief. "The Walker" was also featured as the backdrop to Ellen DeGeneres' one-take Oscar trailer, released on December 19, 2013. It was also featured in Season 5, Episode 6 of The Vampire Diaries, is currently used in Reebok's Z-Jet commercials, and is the theme for the MLB Network series "High Heat." Spark is also the goal song of the Rochester Americans.

The instrumental version of their song "Dear Mr. President" was used in a Wells Fargo Bank Commercial.

Musical style[edit]

Fitzpatrick has said that the band's musical style can be fairly described as "soul-influenced indie pop." He noted that while the band is influenced by the classic songs of the Motown and Stax record labels, the band is not trying to create an exact replica of that music.[16] In another interview, Fitzpatrick talked about his decision to not use guitars in the band. "I did want to try and make a big sounding record without guitars," he said. "For me, I just feel like in any music that has a band, the guitar is always there, it's always featured, it's always prevalent. I'm just sick of hearing it."[17]

Critical reception[edit]

Los Angeles Times music critic Ann Powers wrote, "Fitz & the Tantrums is the kind of band that communicates best in concert, but this album serves as a fine proxy and party-starter."[18] Aly Comingore of the Santa Barbara Independent wrote that the band members craft "soulful, nostalgia pop that's not only infectious, but just fresh enough to make it stand apart from its predecessors."[19]

In June 2011, Vogue Daily named Fitz and The Tantrums the "Hardest-Working Band" of the 2011 summer festival circuit.[20] "Not only do L.A.–based six-piece Fitz and the Tantrums share James Brown’s penchant for snazzy-dressed brass bands and feel-good retro ballads, they also have the late godfather of soul’s tireless work ethic."


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions


Pickin' Up the Pieces 140 1 18
More than Just a Dream 26

Extended plays[edit]

Title Details
Songs for a Breakup, Vol. 1
  • Release date: August 11, 2009
  • Label: Canyon Productions
  • Formats: CD, music download
Santa Stole My Lady
  • Release date: November 26, 2010
  • Label: Dangerbird Records
  • Formats: Vinyl, music download


Year Single Peak chart
(sales threshold)
US Adult


2010 "Winds of Change" Pickin' Up the Pieces
"Breakin' the Chains of Love"
2011 "MoneyGrabber" 2 34 33
"Don't Gotta Work It Out" 23 34
2013 "Out of My League" 65 101[A] 3 14 1 14 More than Just a Dream
"The Walker" 58 67 5 13 1 11
2014 "Fools Gold" 13 38 13 26
"—" denotes that a recording did not chart.


  1. ^ "Out of My League" did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100 but did peak at number one on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, which is an extension of the Billboard Hot 100.


  1. ^ Fitz & the Tantrums at
  2. ^ a b c d "Band to Watch: Fitz and the Tantrums Put a Modern Spin on Motown". Rolling Stone. April 12, 2011. Retrieved June 22, 2011. 
  3. ^ Fitz & the Tantrums at Allmusic
  4. ^ "Fitz & the Tantrums: Finding plenty of soul mates". Buzz Bands (Los Angeles). June 17, 2010. Retrieved Jun 22, 2011. 
  5. ^ Korina Lopez (February 13, 2011). "On the verge: Fitz & the Tantrums channel the Motown spirit". USA Today. Retrieved April 18, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Fitz and the Tantrums". Alternative Press 267 (October 2010), p. 58.
  7. ^ "Event archive 2009". Retrieved June 24, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Maroon 5 Fleet Of Buses!". November 8, 2011. Retrieved June 24, 2011. 
  9. ^ "News Archives Oct. 2009". October 30, 2009. Retrieved Jun 24, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Fitz and The Tantrums open for Maroon 5". The Shorthorn. November 3, 2009. Retrieved Jun 24, 2011. 
  11. ^ Martens,Todd (April 26, 2010). "Dangerbird inks neo-soul act Fitz & the Tantrums". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 25, 2011. 
  12. ^ Martins, Chris (April 27, 2010). "Fitz and the Tantrums Sign to Dangerbird, Tour with Dap-Kings, Plan Spaceland Residency". LA Weekly. 
  13. ^ "Live from Daryl's house – Episode 35, Fitz and the Tantrums". October 15, 2010. Retrieved June 25, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Fitz and The Tantrums broaden their sound on new album". The Rolling Stone. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ Jansen Seymour, Jane (June 1, 2010). "Fitz & the Tantrums Keep Busy Over the Holiday Weekend". PopMatters. 
  17. ^ Johnson, Alexandra (January 17, 2011). "More Soul Than the Devil Could Buy: The Pockets of Sound with Michael Fitzpatrick". 
  18. ^ Powers, Ann (August 9, 2010). "Album review: Fitz & the Tantrums' 'Pickin' Up the Pieces'". Los Angeles Times. 
  19. ^ Comingore, Aly (August 30, 2010). "Fitz & the Tantrums – Pickin' Up the Pieces". Santa Barbara Independent. 
  20. ^ Campion, Freddie (June 7, 2011). "Music: Best of Summer 2011 Festivals". Vogue Daily. 
  21. ^ "Fitz & the Tantrums Album & Song Chart History – Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Fitz & the Tantrums Album & Song Chart History – Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Fitz & the Tantrums Album & Song Chart History – Independent Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Out of My League – Fitz & the Tantrums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved October 23, 2013. 
  25. ^ a b "BDSRadio Charts". Billboard. Nielsen BDS Media. Retrieved February 26, 2013. 
  26. ^ "MoneyGrabber – Fitz & the Tantrums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  27. ^ "MoneyGrabber – Fitz & the Tantrums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  28. ^ "Fitz & the Tantrums Album & Song Chart History – Rock Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  29. ^ a b c "American certifications – Fitz and the Tantrums". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved January 11, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Canadian digital download certifications – Fitz & The Tantrums – The Walker". Music Canada. 

External links[edit]