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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, 2016
Labels Deltasonic/Sony Records
Associated acts Tramp Attack, The Big Kids, Dave McCabe & The Ramifications, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
Past members Dave McCabe
Russell Pritchard
Sean Payne
Abi Harding
Paul Molloy
Boyan Chowdhury

The Zutons were an English indie rock band, formed in 2001 in Liverpool.

They released their debut album, Who Killed...... The Zutons? in May 2004 and achieved chart success 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.

The band disbanded in 2009 and returned in 2016 for two tributes, firstly for in memory of Viola Beach and secondly for the former Tramp Attack frontman Kristian Ealey.[1][2]



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 the band Tramp Attack. Both Pritchard and Payne were members of Edgar Jones' post Stairs band The Big Kids (with Sean's brother Howie Payne of The Stands). Originally a four-piece, Payne's girlfriend Abi Harding began joining The Zutons on stage for a couple of songs mid-set, playing simple saxophone lines. The other band members liked the way her saxophone enhanced their sound, and Harding became a full member, contributing vocals and sax.

Deltasonic head Alan Wills was initially dubious about the musical talents of McCabe: "I’d heard other bands Dave had played in and I thought they were all rubbish".[3] 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.[3]

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.[3] The band's music has proved difficult to categorize, being described as "psychedelic cartoon punk".[4] McCabe, who is also the lead songwriter, includes amongst his influences Talking Heads, Devo, Sly & the Family Stone, Dexys Midnight Runners, Sublime and Madness.

Early singles and Who Killed...... The Zutons? (2002-2005)

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.

Tired of Hanging Around (2006-2007)

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."[5]

The band announced on 13 July 2007 that guitarist Boyan Chowdhury had left The Zutons, citing "musical differences".[6] Although the band claimed Chowdhury's departure was a mutual decision, bassist Russell Pritchard remarked that "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". In late 2007, Paul Molloy formerly of The Skylarks and The Stands joined the band.

You Can Do Anything and split (2008-2009)

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 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.[7]

On 26 July 2008, The Zutons performed at Japan's Fuji Rock Festival for a third time. On 30 August 2008, the band appeared at the Indie Festival, Jersey Live, headlining the festival along with The Prodigy.[8] Over the 2008 Christmas holidays, the Zutons were dropped from Sony/BMG.[9]

Following a run of 2009 festival performances including Summer Sundae in Leicester and Wickerman Festival, the band quietly disbanded.

Post split and one-off reunion gig

Pritchard joined Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Molloy collaborated with Candie Payne before forming Serpent Power with Ian Skelly and joining The Coral and Sean Payne recorded with Miles Kane. In 2010, singer Dave McCabe was convicted of assault before releasing solo album Church of Miami in 2015.[10] The Zutons' song What's your Problem was featured in a trailer for the 2012 movie Wreck-It Ralph.[11]

In April 2016, 3 members of the band including original guitarist Boyan Chowdhury performed at a tribute concert for the Warrington indie rock group Viola Beach, whose members had died earlier that year in a car accident in Sweden.[1]

On 23 June 2016, it was announced that the original lineup of the band would reform for a one off gig at Mountford Hall, Liverpool on 30 September 2016. A fundraiser in celebration of their friend, actor and former Tramp Attack frontman Kristian Ealey, who died earlier in the year.[12] The show is being billed as the band's "last ever".[2] McCabe explained that "I’m not against doing gigs as The Zutons, it’s the others who don’t want to keep doing it, and I understand why. With two of them it’s personal issues and Russ plays with Noel Gallagher". He also revealed that the band almost reformed in 2014 to mark the 10 year anniversary of the band's debut album, but added that "if The Zutons were ever to reform properly, I don’t think it would be the original line-up".[13]


Studio albums


  1. ^ a b Fitzgerald, Todd. "The Zutons, The Kooks and Blossom line up to pay tribute to Viola Beach at tribute concert". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 13 May 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Zutons Reunited for 'last ever show' | Liverpool Confidential". Retrieved 2016-09-29. 
  3. ^ a b c "Interview with Alan Wills". HitQuarters. 24 May 2004. Retrieved 25 Nov 2010. 
  4. ^ "The BRIT Awards 2012". Retrieved 2012-04-30. 
  5. ^ "The Zutons at Ukula Magazine". Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  6. ^ "Zutons guitarist quits band". 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2007-07-13. 
  7. ^ "The Zutons Live Music Tour 2008". Forestry Commission. Retrieved 2008-06-23. 
  8. ^ [1] Archived 2 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ "The Zutons dropped by record label". NME. 14 January 2009. 
  10. ^ Staff Writer (29 October 2010). "Zutons singer Dave McCabe ordered to compensate headbutt victim". The Daily Telegraph. 
  11. ^ "Wreck-It Ralph Official Trailer #2 (2012) Disney Animated Movie HD". YouTube. 2012-09-12. Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  12. ^ "The Zutons on Twitter". Retrieved 2016-09-29. 
  13. ^ "The Zutons reunion: Dave McCabe gears up for Liverpool tribute gig". youmove magazine. 2016-09-02. Retrieved 2016-09-29. 

External links