Squirrel Nut Zippers
It was about 20 years ago when NPR's Morning Edition said: "It's not easy to categorize the music of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, except that it's hot."
2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the Squirrel Nut Zippers most celebrated and commercially successful album Hot. Originally released in the summer of 1996, Hot was the follow up to the band's critically acclaimed debut The Inevitable. By this time the group had already established a substantial live following across the country thanks to early support from NPR, college radio and non-commercial stations. Hot wound up selling over 1.3 million copies.
Pitchfork, which was in it's second year of operation at the time, raved about Hot giving it a 9.5 and saying: "When you first splashdown into the CD, ya hit this realization: that people even older than your parents liked music like this. ...Hot is exuberant, gin house swing without apologies and it rocks without pretense. If you can manage to resist liking it, you must be dead."
A newly re-mastered version of the album along with a bonus track: "The Puffer" will return to stores on July 29th 2016 on Hollywood Records. Long out of print on vinyl, Hot will make its glorious return to wax on 180-gram vinyl.
A previously unreleased track "The Puffer" written by Squirrel Nut Zippers trumpet player the late Stacey Guess is included as a bonus track on the release.
"When I first fathomed and then formed the SNZ back in '91, it was out of necessity a string band," commented leader Jimbo Mathus. "I didn't know any horn players until I was introduced to Stacy Guess who was a Chapel Hill, NC native and a trumpet player. He was very serious and knowledgeable about jazz music and he taught me to write and arrange horn charts. In those early days of 93-95 when the band was on a very steep learning curve, he and I rehearsed, conversed, and composed incessantly. The Puffer is one of our collaborations. The puffer was the nickname of an old steam train that still ran through town when Stacy was a small child. We tried to make the song evocative of those strange, sometimes frightening early memories of events that we all carry in us, in this case watching this huge panting, smoking heaving mechanical beast chug thru a small mill town."
"The Puffer was originally set to be included on Hot," drummer Chris Phillips added. "However, due to his personal issues at the time Guess never joined us for the recording of the album and the track sat on the shelf until Jimbo dug it up a few years later and finished it. Considering how much we loved Stacy, we thought it would be cool to finally give it a proper release."
The Squirrel Nut Zippers recently announced their first set of tour dates since 2009. The band has now added many other shows to their upcoming 2016 touring plans including the Montreal Jazz Festival, New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas and the Strawberry Music Festival with many more still to be announced.
In honor of the 20th Anniversary the album, the bands visionary creator Jimbo Mathus, along with founding member and partner Chris Phillips (Drums), have crafted a brand new stage show including singer Ingrid Lucia of Flying Neutrino's fame. Several leading musicians from New Orleans have also been enlisted to serve up the bands unique musical flavor which owes its roots to that city.
"It's been a long road folks and the music lives on," remarked drummer Chris Phillips. "We - all of us - thank all of you. This album and the success it found would not have been possible had it not been for the tireless and endlessly imaginative work of so many team members. This includes the folks at Mammoth Records, the many musicians who graced this album and the band, the amazing road crew, family and friends. Most of all, it would not have meant a thing without you our loyal fans."