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Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros is an American indie folk band formed in Los Angeles, California in 2007. Led by lead vocalist Alex Ebert, the group features a revolving lineup of up to 12 people. The band's name is based on a story Ebert wrote about a messianic figure named Edward Sharpe. Drawing from roots rock, folk, gospel, and psychedelic music, the band's image and sound evoke the hippie movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The group's first show was played July 18, 2007 at The Troubadour in West Hollywood, California. Their first studio album, Up from Below, was released on July 7, 2009 on Community Records and featured the popular single "Home". Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros released their second full-length album, Here, on May 29, 2012. Their third album, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, was released on July 23, 2013.
Origin and first studio album:
After years of the Los Angeles party life and subsequent drug addiction, Ima Robot frontman Alex Ebert broke up with his then-girlfriend, moved out of his house, and spent time in rehab. During this time, Ebert began to write a book about a messianic figure named Edward Sharpe that was "sent down to Earth to kinda heal and save mankind, but he kept getting distracted by girls and falling in love." Ebert adopted the Sharpe persona as his alter ego. He said, "I don't want to put too much weight on it, because in some ways it's just a name that I came up with. But I guess if I look deeper, I do feel like I had lost my identity in general. I really didn't know what was going on or who I was anymore. Adopting another name helped me open up an avenue to get back."
After meeting singer Jade Castrinos outside a Los Angeles cafe, Ebert and Castrinos started writing music together, and became a part of the art and music collective The Masses, which was partially started by some seed money from actor Heath Ledger. While the two had a romantic relationship that did not last, their fledgling group eventually swelled to more than 10 members, some of whom had been Alex's friends since he was young. In mid 2009, Ebert, Castrinos, and a group of musicians toured the country by bus as Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. The first show they played in 2009 was at the Marfa Film Festival in Marfa, Texas. The band recorded their debut album, Up From Below, in Laurel Canyon. Produced by Aaron Older and Nico Aglietti, it was released on July 14, 2009.
On April 12, 2009, the band released "Desert Song", a music video and the first of a 12-part feature-length musical called SALVO!. Part 2, "Kisses Over Babylon", was released November 24, 2009 through Spinner.com. Part 3, "40 Day Dream", was uploaded to YouTube by the band on May 19, 2011.
Big Easy Express and second studio album:
In April 2011, the band joined Mumford & Sons and Old Crow Medicine Show on the Railroad Revival Tour. According to American Songwriter, the tour stopped in six cities, playing alternative venues such as an Austin, Texas high school where Mumford & Sons taught the marching band how to play their hit "The Cave". The tour was also the subject of Grammy-nominated director Emmett Malloy's latest documentary Big Easy Express, which strove to capture "the pure joy of music" through Americana folk imagery. The documentary went on to win in the category for Best Long Form Music Video at the 2013 Grammy Awards. In 2011, Railroad Revival Tour bands Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Old Crow Medicine Show together closed their shows at every stop with "This Train".
The group's second album, Here, was released on May 29, 2012.
Third studio album:
The band's third studio and self-titled album, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, was released in 2013. This was followed by tours of North America, UK, Europe, and Australia which included headlining concert dates as well as major festivals.
Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinos made up the singing core of the band for years
Alex Ebert - vocals, guitar, percussion, piano,
Stewart Cole - trumpet, percussion, keyboards, tenor ukulele, vocals,
Josh Collazo - drums, percussion, saxophone, vocals,
Orpheo McCord - drums, percussion, marimba, didgeridoo, vocals,
Christian Letts - guitar, vocals, mandolin,
Seth Ford-Young - bass, vocals,
Mark Noseworthy - guitar, vocals, banjo, mandolin, charango, ronroco,
Christopher "Crash" Richard - vocals, percussion,
As of marketing on the band's Facebook page in 2013:
Mitchell Yoshida - piano, clavinet, vocals,
Additional, touring and/or recording personnel:
As listed in the iTunes LP for the most recent album, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, 2013, or present tour:
Nico Aglietti - guitar and co-producer; previously synthesizer, keyboards, vocals, and a main band member,
Aaron Arntz - piano; previously also clavinet, vocals as a main band member,
Aaron Embry - piano, organs; previously keyboards, piano, vocals, harmonica as a main band member,
Roger Joseph Manning Jr - piano,
Nathaniel Markman - fiddler,
Fred Bows - violin,
Susie Bows - violin,
Hippos August - humming, moaning, Surbahar,
Joy Cantor - public relations,
Ryan Messick - tour manager,
Bryan Ling - manager,
In addition to Aglietti, Arntz and Embry:
Aaron Older - co-producer, bass, vocals, banjo, percussion,
Tay Strathairn - piano, harmonica, vocals,
Jade Castrinos - vocals, guitar, percussion, keyboard,
Nora Kirkpatrick - accordion, keyboard, vocals,
Past touring/ additional personnel:
Odessa Jorgensen - fiddle, vocals during 2012-2013 tour,
Anna Bulbrook - viola, vocals,
Tyler James - piano, vocals,
Felix Bloxsom - drums,
Adam Privitera - penny whistler,
Ryan Richter - guitar, lap steel,
Michael Farfel - manager/announcerMake Edward Sharpe Playlist