Fans aren't throwing any fits or tantrums this year as the local band gone big league, Fitz & the Tantrums, continues its tour throughout the country in support of its latest album, “More Than Just a Dream.”
The band performed an electrifying sold-out show at the Hollywood Palladium show on Saturday, performing its breakout hit “Money Grabber” as well as the sextet's latest singles “The Walker” and “Out of My League,” the group's first No. 1 hit on the U.S. Alternative Songs chart.
“We are very proud Angelenos. We really pull all the stops for our local shows,” said bassist Joseph Karnes. The Palladium is “the largest venue we played to date on our own as a headliner in Los Angeles and it's wonderful. It's another dream.
“I've never played the Palladium before and we've never done it as a band ... Right now, it's a total dream come true to sell out the Palladium.”
Topanga native Karnes and his fellow L.A.-based bandmates — frontman Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick, co-vocalist Noelle Scaggs, keyboardist Jeremy Ruzumna, James King on the horns and drummer John Wicks — also plan to headline the second annual Tachevah: A Palm Springs Block Party on April 16 between the two weekends of the highly anticipated Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio.
The Los Angeles News Group caught up with the busy band's bassist to talk about Fitz & the Tantrum's jet-setting schedule:THE BAND WAS RECENTLY NAMED HEADLINER FOR TACHEVAH, THE BIG BLOCK PARTY IN PALM SPRINGS. IT'S NOT COACHELLA, BUT HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE DOING THAT SHOW?
I love going out to the desert whenever we can and being part of the whole Coachella week is really phenomenal. I think it's what all Angelenos are proud of because we all created it and now it's this worldwide recognized festival that people fly to from all over. ... so we are very proud to be part of it in any way we can. We were happy to play the fest in the past and would love to do it again soon, but we're just as excited to go out there and grab that desert energy.
YOU GUYS PLAYED COACHELLA IN 2011. NOW THAT YOU GUYS DON'T HAVE TO WORK THE FESTIVAL, DO YOU PLAN TO CHECK IT OUT JUST FOR THE FUN THIS YEAR?
You know, I haven't even had the chance to think about attending Coachella. We're also playing so many festivals throughout the country that, personally, I may just sit this one out. As much as I love going out to Coachella, I think we're all going to have our share of festival fun.
IT WAS RECENTLY ANNOUNCED THAT THE BAND IS HEADLINING LOLLAPOLOOZA AND A FEW OTHERS THIS YEAR, BUT AMONG ALL OF THEM, WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE FESTS TO PLAY?
Coachella is definitely a favorite because it has that hometown vibe. Before we got to play it, it was a dream on our bucket list. But now we've been able to check off playing Lollapalooza — we're actually coming back this year for our second time — and we did Bonnaroo in 2012 and coming back this year too, which is really cool. Bonnaroo is actually a very cool festival in its own right because everyone gets a full hour solid set. But I do have to admit, I have a bias toward Coachella.
YOU STILL SOUND SO ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT PLAYING LOCAL VENUES AND FESTIVALS. TALK ABOUT THE EVOLUTION OF FITZ & THE TANTRUMS AND HOW THE BAND HAS GROWN OVER THE YEARS. IS IT WEIRD TO HEAR ONE OF YOUR SONGS ON TV FOR COMMERCIALS NOW?
It's exciting. It's amazing. I remember my first gig was at the 3 Clubs in Hollywood and gaining momentum from there to eventually do a residency at the Echo in early 2010. After KCRW played us for the first time, all of a sudden we would get out onstage and people we didn't know in the crowd were singing along with us. Having grown up in L.A. and playing in other bands during that time, it's kind of a miracle to get to the level we are now. It's a hope and dream realized — and it's mind-blowing.
WHAT ABOUT THE EVOLUTOIN OF THE BAND'S SOUND? THE FIRST ALBUM, "PICKIN' UP THE PIECES," REALY HAD THAT MOTOWN FEEL WHILE "MORE THAN JUST A DREAM" HAS A MORE MODERN POPPY SOUND. WHAT WAS THE BAND'S THOUGHT PROCESS BEHIND THAT?
Fitz always says this and I think it's really true on how we evolved sonically. First it was all about the Motown, soul and R&B — that was definitely prevalent. This next record, one of the things we wanted was to add more color to the songs with more synth. We wanted to bring in all the other influences that we've collected over the years. It's still upbeat and the vocals of Fitz and Noelle are still very much there, but we wanted to push our sound and it's really fun to see that all our fans decided to come along for the ride with us. So yes, the album changed up sonically but even when we put everything together — the old and the new — in our live shows it really blends together. It's still the six of us on stage crankin' out tunes.
WHAT DO YOU THINK HELPED PROPEL FITZ & THE TANTRUMS' POPULARITY?
It starts out with our live shows and style of music. We do a really engaging and fun set. People want songs that are fun and still have a message, and we give that to them. Sure, our first record had a bunch of breakup songs, but it was really upbeat. Then when you go to our shows we make you participate from the start. It's kind of crazy. I wish I could say it was one thing, but it's an amalgamation of all these awesome moments. All the hard work we put in with the touring and going out to connect with fans one person at a time has paid off. It's like we waited in line and when the time came, we were ready.
Follow Mariecar Mendoza on Twitter: @LANGMarMendoza