Too Many Zooz: From subway stations to Beyoncé’s stages to the Crystal Bay!

“I think once we were in the subway, it gave us the confidence that we realized we didn’t need the school,” says Matt Muirhead, trumpet player, producer and 1/3 of the funky dance group, Too Many Zooz.

Muirhead’s words may be unexpected considering the school he’s discounting is the Manhattan School of Music. But despite Muirhead meeting baritone sax player Leo Pellegrino at the prestigious New York school, it was the pair joining with fellow busker David “King of Sludge” Parks on drums and getting together to perform in underground station platforms of the New York subway system that really pushed the band and built their confidence.

“A lot of what we did was just frowned upon; the music we liked and played, and who we were as people,” Muirhead muses on the music academy.

This was 2013, and now, over 10 years later, Too Many Zooz continue to play in the subways as a way to gauge the response that people will have to hearing their music. The formula must be working, since the band is also noted for putting on some of the most energetic performances at their frequent festival appearances. TMZ’z “brass house” style is both catchy and enveloping. The combination of sounds centered around trumpet and sax tend of give the group a unique blend of rhythm – imagine a dramatic chorus line pumping out dancey hooks and you have the vibe of a Too Many Zooz show.

Using their subway performances as a testing ground, no less than Beyoncé took an interest in the group.

“She saw one of our videos, and she and (her daughter) Blue would dance to our songs,” Muirhead says of how the collaboration originally came about. “So she talked to her creative team about getting a sound like that and they said, ‘instead of trying to recreate this, let’s just reach out and get these guys.’”

Soon after, Too Many Zooz not only found themselves collaborating on music that would become Beyoncé’s Lemonade album, but joined her onstage along with The Dixie Chicks as they performed at the 50th CMA’s show.

Too Many Zooz are currently circling the country on their Retail Therapy Tour, which will bring them to the Crown Room at the Crystal Bay Casino on Thursday, February 8th.

A Too Many Zooz show is an experience, as the group possesses a chemistry and sound that carries over to their performances in a way that few others do.

“I think I can speak for all three of us saying we all take inspiration from everything that we ingest,” Muirhead opines. “Art is just the expression of emotion. Whatever you experience in life, you just take that emotion and convey it on a record and try and have people understand it and relate. So I think a lot of the stuff we write is inspired possibly more by things that aren’t music than things that are.”

It’s an outlook that the group traces back not to the classrooms and study halls of New York City, but to its underground subway stations, where Too Many Zooz honed their sound, and where they’ll still play, over 10 years later, to help flesh out their new music and make sure it remains instantly catchy and translatable.

Tickets available here.

Too Many Zooz’ Leo Pellegrino makes an appearance with his sax at 3:35

ABOUT Shaun Astor

Picture of Shaun Astor
Shaun Astor cites pop music singers and social deviants as being among his strongest influences. His vices include vegan baking, riding a bicycle unreasonable distances and fixating on places and ideas that make up the subject of the sentence, "But that’s impossible…" He splits his time between Reno and a hammock perched from ghost town building foundations. Check out his work at www.raisethestakeseditions.com

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