Through extensive touring, superb gigs and a visible passion for their work, Foxtrot Zulu attracts an energetic and diverse following of music lovers that range from the mainstream to the bohemian. The music sparkles with vitality, originality and integrity, laced with an undeniable good-time feel.
Begun through basement jam sessions while at the University of Rhode Island, Foxtrot Zulu was a way for band members to continue their lives in a suspended state of adolescence while dreaming of forming a solid musical career.
Though most members are mum on the origins of the bands' name, Terryston "TK" Chwan Kyan, saxophone, mandolin, did reveal the band got its name from an unsightly and unfortunate sky diving accident that occurred during their URI days involving several of the band members. "We generally don't like to discuss it," TK said, "but, let's just say, it's named after our friend, Frank Zolfo."
From this inauspicious and mysterious start, the members of Foxtrot Zulu began to develop a strong and devoted local following at clubs throughout Rhode Island and small pockets in the northeast.
The next several years provided Foxtrot Zulu with the important testing ground that any successful act must conquer. The band recorded two independent releases, Moe's Diner (1995) and Burn Slow (1997), and used constant touring throughout the Northeast and Atlantic regions to hone its live performance. Mixing catchy pop melodies with the steady backbeat of rhythm and percussive grooves, Foxtrot Zulu learned how to build its songs into dance-oriented tunes that freely swap rock, funk, touches of jazz, and occasional ska elements around a poppy core, and the audiences responded.
The band's highly energetic live performances began drawing bigger and bigger crowds of devotees as they expanded their touring range across the United States. Music critics and magazines across the United States began to take note, and the band's reputation as a high-quality and must-see concert act grew. Even, MTV, that notorious bastion of factory issued, commercialized-pop sterility, chose the Foxtrot song "Spin Me" for the reality television show "The Real World Seattle" soundtrack.
Their critical and performance success caught the eye of several smaller, more independent music labels, and, in 1999, Foxtrot signed a deal with newcomers Phoenix Records. Based in NYC, the label's attitude and fresh approach to music was a good match for Foxtrot's humble, grass roots.
Foxtrot approached the recording of its third release, Frozen In Time, with a single-minded focus. Co-produced by Steve Bramberg and Harvey Goldberg, and mixed by Goldberg (Soft Cell, Kool & the Gang, Madness, Bow Wow Wow), the band viewed these sessions as an opportunity to work with a producer of Harvey's caliber and capture some of their most mature material to date.
With the release of Frozen in Time, the band's touring schedule and crowds increased, and Foxtrot found itself playing in front of larger and larger audiences at festivals and in venues from Canada to California and all points in between. The album drew both critical and fan acclaim, garnering significant college radio attention with several songs appearing on music charts that embraced the genre. MSNBC, MTV, Rolling Stone, The Washington Times, The Boston Globe, Relix Magazine, JamBands.com, The Pharmer's Almanac, The Providence Journal, The Providence Phoenix, Worcester Magazine, The Boston Phoenix and several other newspapers and magazines across the US wrote, not just favorably, but excitedly, about the originality of Foxtrot's sound and the tenacity of their live performances.
The band road this wave of momentum to large audiences and packed outdoor festivals across the United States, undertaking two cross-country tours and playing a rigorous schedule, often five to six nights in a row for several months before settling down for some time off. Foxtrot followed up their latest release with a live recording, done in their home state of Rhode Island. Live was the band's fourth and latest release, and was recorded over two nights, capturing some of the band's frenetic stage energy on disc for the first time.
Live carried Foxtrot well into the new millennium, as they continued to crisscross the country on tour. Today, the band performs on a limited basis, but has a repertoire of new songs that they hope to put on disc soon.
Now, you may be saying, what the hell happened? Where is the drama? The drug use? The confrontation? The debauchery? The in-fighting? The artistic differences? The requisite downward spiral, necessary uphill climb and subsequent explosive but short-lived resurgence?
Well, we hate to disappoint, but there really isn't any of that stuff you see on MTV and VH1.
Sure, we had more than our share of disagreements and debauchery. But, by and large, it was one hell of a great experience that we venture to say none of us would trade for the world or do over different. Granted, we may have done a few things different, but all in all, it was what it was and it is what it is. Maturity rears its inevitable head. The novelty of smoky clubs, noisy crowds, moving highways, hotel rooms and free beer wears off slowly, well, maybe not the free beer, but when it's gone, its gone, and the time has come to put the van in park.
Rock and roll is not an easy business for bands that try to have a heart, and Foxtrot has done everything it can to keep theirs intact. So go check 'em out live, and judge for yourself.