Love it or hate it, that Squirrel Nut Zippers song “Hell” was freakin’ EVERYWHERE in ’96. I was definitely on the hate squad, just because I was an angsty teenager and was therefore supposed to hate popular things, right? A few years later, someone I had a super mega crush on invited me to go see Squirrel Nut Zippers in Orlando. “Sure – I love that band!,” the older, still angsty, but with make out priorities version of me exclaimed. I’ll cut to the chase… This person and I never did make out, BUT Squirrel Nut Zippers were freakin’ AMAZING live and totally converted me into a fan. And ya know, “Hell” isn’t even their best track, so I can sorta stand by my original angsty opinion. So yeah, 20 years later and Hot is back on vinyl, with a bonus track, the still-compelling artwork, and the honor of reviving and old sound not once, but twice. -MLE
Squirrel Nut Zippers – Hot LP
Listen: Full Album!
“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 its 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 its 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’ (written by Squirrel Nut Zippers trumpet player the late Stacey Guess), returns 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.
‘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.’
‘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.'”
HOT new releases reissues and restocks…