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Tuesday, June 07 2016 10:31

SQUIRREL NUT ZIPPERS to release 20th Anniversary Reissue of HOT

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The summer of 1996 was a strange time in my life... I was about six months into my return to Chicagoland after a four-year stint living in Iowa, performing in a band that was now long-distance, working a not-great job, and just about 12 months away from my first date with the woman whom I married to today. You remember things by the soundtrack, an part of my soundtrack that year was HOT, the breakthrough album by the SQUIRREL NUT ZIPPERS. On the CD shelves in my office here at Rock Father HQ, I still have my original copy of that album, along with some that followed, including PERENNIAL FAVORITES and CHRISTMAS CARAVAN (a modern Xmas classic). The "20th Anniversary Reissue" is a phenomenon that always serves to make me feel a tad more vintage, and that's what happened last night when the folks at Disney hit my inbox with news that HOT was getting the treatment, re-mastered with a bonus track called "The Puffer," and back on 180-gram vinyl for the first time in a long time. My interest was piqued, particularly by the vinyl - though I have to say I'm not as keen on the touring news that was also included in the email.

While the current touring lineup includes band creator Jimbo Mathus on vocals/guitar and founding member Chris Phillips (recently covered here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine for his performance with Kindie Rockers, THE SQUEEGEES) on drums, the band in the picture is not the band you remember. In fact, the voice (and songwriter) behind the band's biggest hit was Tom Maxwell, and he's long gone, as is Katharine Whalen (Mathus' ex-wife) who provided the distinct female voice of the band during its most-known era. Over the years, the lineup has seen nearly two dozen members, and that's something that's common especially among long-running acts with an extended amount of members (eight or nine at a time here)... but doing an anniversary tour without some of the key players on the album - particularly the voices of the band - doesn't sit well with me. There's many bands I dig that have continued performing long after major lineup shakeups, but I take everything on a case-by-case basis, and this seems off to me - especially after checking out some footage on YouTube of SNZ from the 90s vs the last SNZ tour, which sounded like a cover band

About the reissue and tour, Phillips remarks:

“It’s been a long road folks and the music lives on. 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.”

See what the Squirrel Nut Zippers are up to at http://www.snzippers.com/

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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