Edward Sharp & the Magnetic Zeros: Hippies from the 2000s
“Alabama, Arkansas, I do love my ma and pa, not the way that I do love you….” are the opening lines of “Home,” one of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros’ biggest hits, which hopefully you may remember. But have you heard of any other their other songs like “Janglin’” or “That’s What’s Up”? Probably not. Have you seen anyone wear the rugged, dirty clothing- or rags- that they wear all the time? Probably not since the 1960s or 1970s. They have been compared to the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine”- not just for the style of clothes- and Rolling Stones listed their sophomore album “Here” on their “Best Albums of 2012.” Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros is an eclectic group of musicians that dress and act the part of hippies and they love it. They love making music but not the type that most people are very into. The music they write takes from a variety of sources including roots rock, folk, gospel, and psychedelic stuff, and when all combined create their own amazing, different sound. It’s peaceful, it’s happy, and it’s catchy. But what’s more interesting than the music they produce is the origin of the band.
Alex Ebert, the main vocalist, left his former band Ima Robot and introduced himself into a rehab clinic, writing about a messianic figure named Edward Sharpe and from this story, the band’s name was formed. He took on this fictional character in order to guide his life in the right direction, and soon he met the alternate vocalist, Jade Castrinos in Los Angeles, CA and they began writing music at once. In 2009, the band took off to tour around the United States under the name Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. Led by Alex and Jade the rest of the band, which was about 10 other members, followed.
In 2009, the group released their first album Up From Below, followed by Here in 2012 and then recently Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros in 2013. Here was the most successful album according to the charts reaching #5 in the U.S. Since their roots in California in 2007, they have performed at venues such as Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and Firefly.
Seeing them live is an ethereal experience- the stage presence and excitement they bring to the audience is unprecedented. Ebert walks onto the stage in tattered, dirtied clothing like he’s been homeless, sometimes with no shoes on, along with a thick, disheveled beard. Jumping around so enthusiastically only makes the audience jump with ecstasy as well. But, while they perform, they also wish to connect to the people watching. For example, Ebert stopped in the middle of “Home” for about 30 minutes and asked multiple fans to tell a personal story about love and happiness. As repetitive as this became, the audience could only sense that the hippie band wanted to be closer.
Don’t be afraid to indulge into a different style of music because these earthy, catchy tunes by the hippies of our time will only amplify the happiness in your life.