Matt Fazzi (A Great Big Pile Of Leaves) Talks Tears For Fears Inspiration

greatbigpileofleavesMatt Fazzi of A Great Big Pile Of Leaves recently spoke with music blog PropertyOfZack about one of his greatest inspirations, Tears For Fears. He discusses his longtime love for the group, how they transcended musical boundaries in the ’80s and how they continue to inspire him today. Check out what he had to say after the jump! A Great Big Pile Of Leaves just released their latest album You’re Always On My Mind. You can purchase a CD here and buy concert tickets here.

“Most people only know Tears For Fears for having some of the biggest hits of the 80’s (the songs “Shout” or “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” may ring a bell), but my love for them runs much deeper than the simple radio hit or two. A big reason why I love this band so much is because my Mom always had them on constant rotation when I was growing up, so I have a deeply ingrained nostalgic attachment to their music. It feels like these songs have been around me for my entire lifetime. If I had to pick a favorite band, Tears For Fears might surprise a few people as my answer. Although, I should mention that, technically, I consider The Beatles and TFF to be equals on the top of that list. But for the purposes of this little write-up, I’ll stick with the more unconventional fave.  

Tears For Fears reaches much further with their musical range than most realize. In my opinion, they were one of the few bands to truly transcend the sound that’s pigeonholed most of the music that came from the 80’s. Transitioning from new-wave electronic, synth-heavy pop, to r&b/jazz/soul, to blues, to rock n’roll is no easy feat, but TFF were able to seamlessly blend genres without sacrificing anything along the way. At the core, there’s a richness and diversity in their music and approach to rhythms, song arrangements, orchestration, harmony and melody, that definitely harkens back to the those lads from Liverpool. I’ll even make the claim now that their most recent album, 2004’s “Everybody Loves A Happy Ending”, sounds a lot like if The Beatles had a chance to make just one more album together. They are one of those rare bands where I’m still finding new details to love in their music and production after the millionth listen.

They are also one of those rare gems that’s never repeated themselves from album to album and have always kept forging ahead into new sonic territory. It’s tough for me to even decide which album of theirs has had the most impact on the music I make, as they all hold such a strong place in my heart for different reasons. I have a lot of respect and admiration for their main songwriter, Roland Orzabal, because he reminds me of a guy like Paul McCartney, a multi-instrumentalist with an uncanny knack for melody and one powerful effin’ voice. The dude can SING. And from what I can gather, Roland seems to have never compromised his art at any point for anyone (big brownie points). He’s always come across to me as a musician’s musician, a true lover of the craft with no real interest in the fame aspect and a great self-deprecating sense of humor to add the cherry on top. Serious music by a not-so-serious guy. Gotta love that. What also resonates with me, similar to the Beatles, is how a common theme throughout the lyricism of a lot of their albums is a message of love. In fact, one of their best albums is titled “The Seeds Of Love” (highly recommended) and the title track is just about as Beatles-esque as it gets. Phil Collins also rips the drums on the opening track of the album, “Woman In Chains”, which is reason enough to go check it out. The depth of Tears For Fears musical well is almost endless and I keep finding myself revisiting that well whenever I’m in need of inspiration. 

I’ve been lucky enough over the last several years to be able to see Tears For Fears live a bunch and they always deliver. I’m usually one of the youngest people in the crowd, singing every word and air-drumming like it’s my job. Some of my fondest music memories are attending their shows with my mom and her making me wait outside before and after the show for hours so that she could hope to catch a glimpse of Roland (she has a little bit of a crush haha). I consider myself extremely lucky to have been able to see my favorite band live so many times and I hope I get many more opportunities to do so in the future.

Anyways, I could go on forever and ever about how amazing I think their music is but I’ll leave it at that and let you go explore what their musical world has to offer. I’m positive that if you give it the right amount of attention and listening time, you’re bound to find something within that speaks to you. I’m still finding those magic moments with their music all the time. And who knows, you may end up loving them just as much as I do :)”



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Yasmine Shemesh

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One Thought to “Matt Fazzi (A Great Big Pile Of Leaves) Talks Tears For Fears Inspiration”

  1. So great to hear. I think their last album, ‘Everybody Loves a Happy Ending’ is up there with their best.. and how many bands can say that years after their public glow has faded. I agree, musically they remain beyond what most can deliver, especially given the years inbetween. Brilliant band. Up there with the Beatles. No question.

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