Fitz and the Tantrums owe their existence to an old station wagon. When frontman Michael Fitzpatrick was growing up in L.A., his father allowed only two kinds of music in the house: classical and opera. But when Fitz rode in his mom’s car, he listened to Motown and soul on the radio. He liked the music so much he started singing along — and never stopped.
“Much to my parents’ chagrin, by the time I was five or six years old, you couldn’t shut me up,” Fitz says while cruising on L.A.’s Angeles Crest Highway in Toyota’s much-anticipated new Supra, a model that hasn’t been sold in the U.S. since 1998. “Riding around listening to that music was the first place I could have my own musical identity, so it was completely tied in with car culture.”
Fitz admits he’s gotten more than his fair share of speeding tickets — then floors the Supra’s gas pedal. The 3.0-liter, 335-horsepower turbocharged engine launches the car down the mountain road, while precise handling prevents it from launching off the road.
“It’s been a hot minute since I’ve driven in a legit sports car,” says the father of three young boys, whose daily driver is an SUV. “It’s kind of awesome.”
Lack of sports cars notwithstanding, Fitz has spent plenty of time on the road lately. He says a decade’s worth of relentless touring, which put literal and figurative distance between him and his friends and family, contributed to the feelings of confusion and depression he faced while writing songs for the band’s new album, All the Feels. The 17-song record features plenty of the party anthems for which they’re famous, but it also has contemplative and even sad songs — though, because it’s Fitz and the Tantrums, several are still extremely danceable. Fitz says he’s more proud of this album than any other. “That cheesy fucking adage is so true,” he says. “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”