Indie rock band Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros has managed to keep itself somewhat removed from the mainstream avenue of the music scene despite its growing success.
While a generation of starry-eyed teenagers was falling in love to the band’s hit song “Home,” the Magnetic Zeros were living on a train with Old Crow Medicine Show and Mumford & Sons for their famed Railroad Revival Tour. Lead singer Alexander Ebert and his troupe of nine traveling artists bring the “revival” with them as they continue to tour around the world, no train necessary. The band is bringing back the idea of a time when peace was still possible and love was still pure, if such a time ever existed.
The band’s isolation allows it to find inspiration from within its own creative community.
“I think one of the benefits of having such a large band is that there is always something new to learn from someone else,” accordion player Nora Kirkpatrick said by email. “Many of us are into varying forms of art beyond the music, and this makes the touring life so much more interesting. Because when we get off the stage, that’s when everyone’s weird hobbies and interests come out.”
The band owes its odd and lengthy name to one of these diversions.
“Alex was writing a book for a long time, and the main character’s name was Edward Sharpe,” lead guitarist Christian Letts said. “He was sent to save the world by the gods, but he never got around to it because he kept falling in love along the way.”
The Magnetic Zeros are a creation of Ebert’s vivid imagination as well.
“I think the magnetic zero was part of a mathematical equation Alex was working on,” Kirkpatrick said. “Not sure if he ever landed on an answer, but that might be in the book.”
Another one of the musicians’ weird hobbies and interests is their fascination with faith and spirituality. The Magnetic Zeros have faced accusations of being an undercover Christian band in a cool disguise as a result of lyrics that hint at different elements of faith and varying beliefs.
“We are definitely not pushing one religious belief over another and are definitely not a ‘Christian’ band,” Kirkpatrick said. “These are [spiritual] questions we deal with in our lives, and therefore they got brought up in song.”
Letts said the band draws the majority of its material from its members’ own life experiences. Even the story from “Home” of female lead singer Jade Castrinos, a former love interest of Ebert, falling and “[breaking] her ass” is true.
“Yeah, that’s a true story. She fell out of a window, and Alex jumped out after her,” Letts said. “You gotta write what you know. You have to write honest lyrics. It’s all true.”
This honesty can be felt most in the band’s live performances. It is not uncommon for Ebert to ask the audience questions like, “How old were you when you found out you were going to die?”
The band gives a highly energetic live performance. Ebert commonly takes the stage barefoot and in all-white clothing, which makes him appear inexplicably godlike. Violent fits of foot-stomping and dancing are frequent throughout the show, and the troupe of magnetic zeroes are equally as lively for the duration of the performance.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros could be a mission-bound band sent by the gods to save us all from hate and dishonesty, or they could just be a group of artistic adults who enjoy charming audiences with their distinct personalities and musical talents.
Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros will be playing Sunday at Auditorium Shores as a part of the seventh annual Fun Fun Fun Fest music festival
Printed on Thursday, November 1, 2012 as: The Magnetic Zeros attract Fun Fun fans