By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Fitz and the Tantrums have traveled the world playing hits like “HandClap.” But lead singer Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick hasn’t seen anything like Gilbert, where his wife has family.
“What’s up with all the trees exactly 6 feet apart?” he says with a laugh.
“All the houses are the perfect shade of beige. Seriously, I have a lot of family in Phoenix on my wife’s side. It’s great for us to go there. It’s a special time for me personally.”
Fitzpatrick is returning to the Valley when his band plays Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale on Saturday, January 28. The gig is part of a tour that sees them returning to small venues. He says they’ll turn the Salt River Grand Ballroom into a “hot, sweaty dance party.”
“We like to celebrate and see people dancing,” he says. “If we can give people an hour and a half of joy, we’ve done our job. For us, it’s about how much energy can we put out.
“For the casino, I do pretty well when I’m playing blackjack. If I bet $10 at a time, that isn’t getting my juices going. The $100 bets, that gets my juices going.”
Since 2008, the multiplatinum Los Angeles collective has released records such as 2010’s “Pickin’ up the Pieces,” 2013’s “More Than Just a Dream,” 2016’s the gold-certified “Fitz and The Tantrums” and 2019’s “All the Feels.”
Along the way, they’ve tallied just shy of 4 billion streams and counting powered by enduring hits such as the triple-platinum “HandClap,” platinum “Out of My League” and “The Walker,” and gold “Moneygrabber.”
They’ve soundtracked films on Netflix and campaigns for CVS Wellness, Sunchips, Sofi, Xfinity, Walmart, Norwegian Cruise Line, Lays and Wells Fargo, to name a few.
In 2021, Fitzpatrick released his first solo album, “Head Up High,” under the moniker Fitz. Meanwhile, co-lead vocalist Noelle Scaggs founded Diversify the Stage to help foster more diverse, inclusive, equitable and accessible concerts, events and touring workforces for marginalized and underrepresented communities.
Besides Fitzpatrick and Scaggs, the band is James King (saxophone, flute), Jeremy Ruzumna (keyboards), Joseph Karnes (bass) and John Wicks (drums, percussion).
The multiplatinum band recently released the 12-song “You’re Yourself Free” on Elektra Entertainment.
“This might be my favorite record we’ve ever made,” he says.
“It’s our fifth studio album and our first album since ‘Pickin’ Up the Pieces’ that had so much of that Motown/Stax influence on it. As we made every following record, we tried to bring in our other influences. There are six of us, and that’s a lot of musical tastes. For this record, we wanted to create a perfect circle, a line back through all of our records, and show the history of the band.”
For Fitzpatrick, songwriting is king. On an average he writes between 60 and 100 songs and chooses the best from them.
“I feel like one of the biggest mistakes artists make is thinking every song they write is awesome,” he says. “I go through this process of being vicious with myself. The good ones rise to the top. The bad ones stay at the bottom. I’m usually left with 25 to 30 songs I really like then it gets really hard. I have to kill some babies to take it down to 12, 15 songs.”
The message of the record is important, reflecting the “crazy last few years” with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve all been going through so much these last few years — missed weddings, delayed weddings, missed graduations and birthdays. We spent a lot of time disconnected from friends and family. This is the time to let it out, to let yourself out and be free.”
Fitz and the Tantrums
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, January 28
WHERE: Talking Stick Resort, 9800 E. Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale
COST: Tickets start at $30