Kids of all of ages grow up wanting to be one of the greats like Michael Jordan. That’s exactly the same goal of the Cincinnati rock band, Foxy Shazam. They want to be the greatest band of all time. In 2004, straight out of the streets of Cincinnati, Eric Sean Nally (lead vocals), Loren Turner (guitar), Sky White (piano), and Daisy Caplan (bass) got their start as Foxy Shazam, independently recorded and released The Flamingo Trigger in 2005, and immediately started touring the nation. Later they more players to joined the game - Schuyler Vaughn White (keyboardist), Alex Nauth (horn player/vocals), and Aaron McVeigh (drums). After signing with Ferret Records, and adding another record to their pallet in 2008, Introducing Foxy Shazam, the band switched to Sire Records, releasing a third self-titled album two years later, which featured their single, Unstoppable, a highlight of Super Bowl XLIV. In 2012, their fourth album, The Church of Rock and Roll including the ever so popular, I Like It, was released, and they are currently working on their fifth. This phenomenon toured with musical talents, including The Strokes, The Young Veins, and The Darkness, and have been featured in both Spin and Alternative Press magazines.
Foxy Shazam may not be able to lead over other players to hit a dunk shot, but their tunes are heating up the radio and headphones just like Mike, with attitude, style, loads of energy. Inspired by Alanis Morissette, the band is similar to Queen and Meat Loaf because of their wild performances and over-the-top lyrics, while still maintaining a unique sound and show you must hear and see live, dancing to the beat of its own drum, combining old school rock and roll with the theatrics of their songs. The Flamingo Trigger is post-hardcore with a twinge of classical while Introducing Foxy Shazam blended in other genres and screaming ballads, containing one of my favorites, Ghost Animals. They took it further, incorporating gospel, soul, and glam metal, creating Foxy Shazam, including the popular favorite, Oh Lord. Their latest album, The Church of Rock and Roll, is more refined but still fast-paced, focused on a religious theme through its entertaining gospels references, blasting guitars, the perfect amount of trumpet and drums, and even its album cover, the glam rock mixed with elements of R&B and Nally’s ever so perfect wail, almost to the point of discomfort, stretching the limits, but not breaking. The Streets is about the native Cincinnati, a pride story containing stellar guitar riffs and unforgettable chord progressions. Forever Together takes it to the other court, as Nally describes the struggle between the lives of a musician and as husband and father in this sentimental number. With all of this talent and continual change for the better of all rockers, Foxy Shazam is destined to be one of the greats in music.
In the midst of writing and recording their fifth album, which will remain a secret for now, and becoming legendary, Foxy Shazam is currently embarking on a short holiday tour through December. I had a chance to chat with Daisy before they visited us here in Cincinnati to discuss how they got their start, their new album, and their visit to their hometown. Don’t forget to check them out in their two night event November 29 at Mayday and 30 at Bogart’s. According to Daisy, the show will be insane, “Our idea with that is to take elements of everything we’ve done so far and take it to a completely different level. That is a show to expect the unexpected.”
Foxy Shazam is a very unique name. It’s rumored to come from school slang, “cool shoes.” How did you acquire your band name?
We actually used an Ouija board to get it. We did a combination of Ouija and darts. We all used to live together long before we were in a band. We had an Ouija board like a dart board. You actually had to be blindfolded to play, so you wouldn’t be able to aim at any letters. We actually through darts at an Ouija board blindfolded. The actual spelling was Foxy Shazim with an “i,” but that was weird, so we changed it.
How did you meet your current band members? Are they all from Cincinnati?
We kind of became adults in Cincinnati. About half of us grew up here, and the other half grew up not too far. Our trumpet player, Alex, is from Cleveland originally, and I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky.
How did you get your start in music? Did you grow up knowing you wanted to be in a band?
All of us were in different bands where we were the one guy in the band that was like, “Let’s play a show. Let’s tour. Let’s be in band.” Everyone else was like being in a band is cool, but we don’t want to work for it. We individually bonded over being in a bunch different bands that didn’t really want to do more. When we met, we recognized the determination in each other, and the “Oh, you don’t mind sleeping in a van and starving.”
According to Urban Dictionary, your music is completely indescribable. How would you describe your style?
Rock music that is good. Anything else would be bias.
You spent the last year writing and recording with Steve Albini in Chicago for a new album. How does this compare with your previous albums? What should fans expect? When will it be released?
I don’t personally think that it’s a huge departure at all. I will say that the rest of our albums go off in different directions. They explore different aspects of our sound. This one kind of unites them all. It also goes into a new direction, but not radical. It’s still rock and roll, and it’s still Foxy Shazam. For me, it doesn’t feel like a departure at all - desolation and a pushing forward. I’m sure [the album] will be out before the end of winter. Actually it shouldn’t be too long.
Your song, Oh Lord, was written for Eric Nally’s son, Julian, to explain the hard and good times of life. Are there any songs on the new album that are inspired by life events?
Oh yeah. Definitely. This one actually turned out to be more personal. I don’t write the lyrics. Our singer, Eric, does. I feel like, in general, his lyrics reflect the life and experiences of our whole band as an organism, not directly, but indirectly. As a person who is near the lyrics being written, I feel like they’re more personal and more meaningful. I’ve always thought that he was a pretty stunning lyricist, but I feel as if he’s made a real jump forward on this one.
You always put on such a fun show, sometimes a little out of the norm. Is life the same away from the stage as entertaining?
To some extent, yeah, but it’s almost not even the same realm. We like having fun, but I think our ideas of fun as individuals are a little bit more mellow in general. A lot of us are into exercise…various sports…basketball…soccer. Our trumpet player, Alex, is actually on an amateur soccer league in Cincinnati. Do you know what curling is? I was at one point almost a professional at curling. We’re all pretty athletic.
You’re Cincy natives. What is one thing an out of towner should do while visiting the city?
Man, that is rough. It would depend on the person. I could recommend a bar, but if they’re in Alcoholics Anonymous, that would be horrible. Or I could recommend the Precinct, but if they don’t eat meat, it would depend on the person. My universal place is Sidewinder Coffee, but I drink a lot of coffee. It’s in my neighborhood. My wife worked there. But then again, that’s very specific to me. Go to Sidewinder unless you don’t drink coffee. I’m not a snob at all, but if it’s not giving me a buzz, I’m not into it. In fact, Sidewinder is definitely my favorite in terms of overall quality.