Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Squirrel Nut Zippers
The band was founded by Jim Mathus and Katharine Whalen after they moved from Chapel Hill, North Carolina to the nearby town Efland. The rest of the band came together soon after, and the group made its live debut in Chapel Hill a few months later. The band formed during the swing music revival of the 1990s. Unlike such bands as Cherry Poppin' Daddies and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, who were influenced more by the crisp big band style of the 1940s, Squirrel Nut Zippers follow the more energetic, rougher sounds of the 1920s hot jazz .
While the band's first album, The Inevitable (1995), passed by relatively unnoticed, the band became quite well-known in the South though their continuous touring. Their second album, Hot (1997), caught the attention of the modern music scene, however, mainly on the weight of the album's best-known song, "Hell". After becoming a staple on such influential radio stations as Los Angeles's KROQ, the album quickly went gold.
Stacy Guess, horn player in the band before it achieved national recognition, died in March 1999. In July 1999, singer-guitarist Tom Maxwell left the band.
With the band's success came mixed reviews. Many critics disliked the band's sometimes camp lyrics and claimed that they were mocking hot jazz, not paying tribute. Some called the band's style "sloppy" and "amateurish." Others, however, labeled the band's music as "genuine homage" to the best of the era and lauded the energetic rhythms and upbeat music.
- Jim (Jimbo) Mathus (vocals, guitar, trombone)
- Katharine Whalen (vocals, banjo)
- Don Raleigh (bass)
- Ken Mosher (guitar, saxophone, vocals)
- Chris Phillips (percussion)
- Tom Maxwell (vocals, guitar, baritone saxophone, clarinet)
- Je WindenHouse (trumpet)
- The Inevitable (1995)
- Hot (1997)
- Sold Out (1997)
- Perennial Favorites (1998)
- Christmas Caravan (1998)
- Bedlam Ballroom (2000)
- The Best of Squirrel Nut Zippers (2002)
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