A year ago, the future was looking bleak for Michael Fitzpatrick — aka one sharp-suited, neo-soul frontman Fitz, of Fitz and The Tantrums. “We were broke, losing money at every turn, and putting everything on the line for this band,” he says. But old-school fingerpoppers such as “Money Grabber” and “Pickin’ Up the Pieces” struck a chord with Triple-A radio, and the hitmakers return to San Francisco to headline two huge shows this week, after appearing alongside their longtime hero Daryl Hall on his “Live From Daryl’s House” webcast. “So it feels great to know that we all took this huge risk, and it paid off,” Fitz says proudly.
How was it appearing on “Live From Daryl’s House”? I have to say, that has been one of the most important things we’ve done for our entire career, hands down. More important than doing all of late-night TV combined. And I couldn’t hide my excitement. I wasn’t trying to be too cool for school — I was having a great time, just looking over at Daryl Hall singing my song. I was like ‘Holy hell! He’s singing it better than I do! I’d better step up my game!’ He just made our music his own.
What did you guys wind up talking about? I think he was really into us playing because we’d taken the time to find some unusual cuts of his — we picked the first song that he ever wrote that won his initial recording contract with Gamble and Huff, “Girl I Love You.” Then we chose this other super-obscure song called “Perkiomen.” So we talked to him a lot about where they came from. It was a cool hang.
Any possibility of you and Hall recording together? We’ve done a couple of shows together now. We did one at his alma mater and then we opened up for him and John Oates at Bumbershoot, which was pretty stellar. So I’m sure our paths will cross again, you know?
Is the second album taking shape yet? We’ve definitely been writing on the road. And we have three new songs that we play live — “Wake Up,” “6 A.M.” and “Lovesick Man.” We’ve been writing a bunch of stuff, though, and after this tour we’re taking a couple of months off to just do nothing but write and record and be creative, and really try and get the majority of the next record in the bag.
Are you an actual “lovesick man”? Invariably, I am. I always manage to screw it up somehow. But that’s the story of my life now — I’m just a musical nomad.
IF YOU GO
Fitz & The Tantrums
Where: The Regency Ballroom, 1300 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. today and Friday
Tickets: $23 to $25
Contact: (888) 929-7849; www.axs.com