Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Foxy Shazam: Bringing Arena Rock Theatrics to a New Generation

Thanks to technical difficulties with my camera, Macbook, and a new portable external hard drive all being friends so I could clear off my camera, I missed one of the main bands I'd looked forward to seeing while at SXSW, Foxy Shazam. (To the Best Buy-Columbia Heights employee who sold me the external hard-drive and assured me it was Mac-compatible, you, my friend, deserve a serious junkpunch.)

One part Queen, one part Slade, one part Cirque du Soleil, a dash of Arcade Fire, and maybe a little Rush (Shazam lead singer Eric Nally sounds oddly like Getty Lee to me), the Shazam opened the SPIN Day Party at Stubbs on Friday and from all accounts, their set was one of the best of SXSW. Nally's stage moves were jaw-dropping, and included a penchant for climbing about like Spider Man and acrobatic leaps atop his bandmates, much like in the video below.

Seems they wrote one of the songs on their forthcoming self-titled debut full length, out April 13, to be a "sports anthem" ("Unstoppable," which was used in a commercial during this year's Super Bowl). A little odd? Yup. But I dunno, I think odd, when it's creative, can be pretty exciting; at least it's not boring. The best part is that the Shazam doesn't seem to just rely on stage dramatics; if it were just all that and bombastic superego (they do proclaim themselves the "Michael Jordan of Rock n Roll"), I'd call bullshit for sure. But from what I've heard, the music backs them up. Now if they'd just bring the live show to DC!

I came across this bio written by Nally. It seems to explain a lot (including the band name).

About Foxy Shazam:

Hello, my name is Eric Nally and I am the singer and founding member of this rabble-rousing pack of f***s they call Foxy Shazam. Our other five members are (in alphabetical order): Daisy (bass) Aaron McVeigh (drums), Alex Nauth (horns) Loren Turner (guitar) and Sky White (piano). I love them but before I get into their story, I would like to spend a little time on myself: I am twenty-four years old, the father of two boys, Julian Michael and Francis Jordan, as well as a loving husband to Karen Nally. This creates an interesting contrast to my career as a professional musician.

I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was one of two white boys in an all-black high school. The band name Foxy Shazam came from a saying in my school meaning, "cool shoes." If you had cool shoes kids would say those are "foxy shazam." Because of this we have a lot of soul, and try to let it bleed through our music as much as possible. Mom and Dad were pretty poor as I was growing up but always supported my musical interests nonetheless. In the early years they bought my band cheap guitars and amps and drove us to shows in the family Thunderbird. I owe them big time and will someday repay them.

Now that you know a little about my history, I would like to talk about my bandmates. Alex, our trumpet player is my right hand man and as a matter of fact he is transcribing this for me right now. Alex is classically trained, has a likable personality and is easy to get along with. We picked him up on the corner of Hollywood and Las Palmas a couple of years into the band's existence and I feel like his horn playing has added to the uniqueness of our sound. I meet a lot of people that think horns are stupid, but he's going to change that.

Loren, our guitar player is a weird guy to get the hang of and he's very quiet. Everyone that meets him gets the impression that he's mad at them but that's not the case, it's just the way his face looks. He loves Dimebag Darrell and I love the influence that gives him in his guitar playing.

Daisy, our bass player has been in the band for about three years. To be honest, I don't know too much about him and I like him like that. That's what makes him Daisy. However, I do know that his contribution to our band is enormous and without him we would not sound the way that we do.

Aaron our drummer is the newest member of the band. The position of Foxy's drummer, until Aaron, has been one that is filled temporarily but never permanently. I would never be caught dead in the clothes he wears but, hey, to each his own. His drum playing is not fancy but it's extremely solid and is exactly what we've been looking for all these years.

Last but not least is Sky White, our pianist who is trained in classical and jazz performance. I remember Loren and I went to a show his old band was playing and the second I saw him stand on his keyboard with a piƱata on his head I knew we had to get him in Foxy Shazam. It didn't take too much convincing and a week later we were recording our first album Flamingo Trigger (which came out in 2005) and went on to do Introducing (2008). Our self-titled major label debut is coming out now.

When I listen to a Foxy Shazam record I think of Evel Knievel, Bruce Springsteen, my childhood, Van Morrison, my old friends from high school I don't talk to anymore, Elton John, the '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s and beyond, Iggy Pop and my first kiss. One of my favorite things to do when listening to my music is to close my eyes and picture a crowd of six million people all chanting "Foxy! Foxy! Foxy!" The lights go out and my band walks on stage. It gives me goose bumps. It all makes sense to me. When you listen to our record, think of your favorite things and it'll make sense to you as well.

Foxy Shazam is not concerned with what category it falls into. We want to stand for our generation.

We want to be the biggest band in the world.

We are the Michael Jordan of Rock N' Roll.

Give a Listen: Oh Lord-Foxy Shazam/Buy Foxy Shazam

Lyndsey Parker, a super cool music editor for Yahoo Music, conducted an interesting interview with the Shazam following their bombastic Stubbs performance in Austin.

Foxy Shazam SXSW 2010 Interview from Yahoo! Music on Vimeo.

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