Squirrel Nut Zippers

Although there were many one-hit wonders that emerged from the commercialization of alternative music in ’90s, few were as surprising as Squirrel Nut Zippers. The Zippers were attracted to big-band swing and Harlem during a time hipsters were obsessed about swing music’s relation to Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin’s Rat Pack and Dean Martin’s Rat Pack. This was a tongue in cheek salute to jazz of the ’20s and 30s. The band was enjoyable for younger listeners who are familiar with the style, but not the content, of classic hot jazz. However, purists find the group’s slapstick humor and amateurish technique to be distracting. If “Hell,” a catchy song from Hot’s 1997 album, hadn’t managed to get through the loosened alternative airplay and become a novelty hit, this debate wouldn’t have been even considered. Squirrel Nut Zippers became one of the most popular alternative bands in the first half of 1993 thanks to “Hell”, which became a huge crossover hit due to its bizarre theatricality. After moving from Chapel Hill, NC to Efland, Squirrel Nut Zippers was formed by Jim Mathus (vocals and guitar, trombone) u0026 Katharine Whalen(vocals, banjo). After they moved to Efland, Mathus and Whalen renovated a farmhouse. There they pursued many arts and crafts. Eventually, the band was formed when Mathus and Whalen met Don Raleigh (bass), and Ken Mosher, (guitar, saxophone and vocals), who both shared a passion for hot jazz. The band was soon joined by Chris Phillips (drums and percussion), Tom Maxwell, (vocals, guitars, baritone, clarinet, clarinet), Je Widenhouse (trumpet), and Tom Maxwell (vocals). Soon after its debut live in Chapel Hill, the group had a strong fan base across the South. Squirrel Nut Zippers signed with Mammoth Records by the end 1994. Their debut album, The Unexpected, was released in spring 1995. Although the album did not make an impact, the group continued touring. In January 1997, Hot was their second album. The single “Hell” was a huge hit on Los Angeles’ KROQ radio station. MTV quickly made the video a viral sensation. Hot and “Hell” had already become hits by the spring. The single was a regular on rock stations. The success of the Zippers was mixed. Many critics claimed that they mocked hot jazz and did not pay tribute to it. The album was certified gold and a second single, “Put a Lid On It”, was released in the summer. Perennial Favorites and Christmas Caravan followed in 1998. The band released Bedlam Ballroom two years later. It featured a song by Stacy Guess, who was the late bandmate. Squirrel Nut Zippers took a long hiatus during the first decade of the 2000s and then regrouped in 2008 to record the live concert album Lost at Sea. It was released a year later. Allmusic

Leave a Comment