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THE SQUIRREL NUT ZIPPERS ARE A NEW AGE SWING BAND, BRINGING THE OLD TIME MUSIC BACK TO THE PEOPLE! HERE IS A PIECE OF WRITING I CAME ACROSS ON THE MAMOTH RECORDS SIGHT AND THIS SHOULD FILL YOU IN.
NEW ZIPPER INTERACTIVE CD!!!!! PERENNIAL FAVORITES!!!!!!
The Squirrel Nut Zippers are a living musical seance. They don't honor the dead, or parade themselves in trappings of nostalgia or homage. They dwell in the nether world of Hot Music, and invite the ghosts to bewitch us, here and now.
It all began when Jim Mathus (vocals, guitar, trombone) and Katharine Whalen (vocals, banjo), a couple of mad young artists, left Chapel HIll for the rural splendor of Efland, NC in 1993. They renovated an old farmhouse, and filled the rest of their time painting, making puppets, and listening to old jazz records. Jim practiced his guitar playing and taught Katharine how to play the banjo. Katharine began secretly singing to herself in the car. Soon, under the guise of unwinding from their labors, Jim and Katharine mysteriously began frying chicken, and inviting their friends over to "play music".
At first they shared company with a former Democratic party worker from St. Louis, Ken Mosher (guitar, baritone and alto sax, vocals). Before long, Chris Phillips showed up with his bag of strange, percussive sound efects, adding a comedic charm to the recipe. Meanwhile, another restless Rock and Roll musician was stalking around Chapel Hill bedeviled by Hot Music. Tom Maxwell (vocals, guitar, baritone sax and clarinet) had been listening obsessively to jazz and early swing, since the dissolution of his outfit What Peggy Wants. He had steeped himself in the menacing beauty of Fats Waller's pipe organ pieces, the exuberant spiritual compromise of Cab Calloway's bandstand patois, and the brazen cocksure threat of old time Calypso artists like Lord Executor and The Growler. Maxwell was ripe, and with little coaxing, he joined the band.
Named for an old time brand of chewy peanut-flavored sweets (still made in Massachusetts), The Squirrel Nut Zippers debuted in a tiny basement bistro playing for many of Chapel Hill's jaded clever set. The show was a triumph, startling the milque-toasts and school marms into acts of abandon and passion. Overnight, The Squirrel Nut Zippers had a feverish, delirious following.
For more Zippers tidbits, check out CD Rom designer Clay Walker's homepage.
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