1996 Classic Newly Remastered with Bonus Track "Puffer"
It was about 20 years ago when NPR's Morning Edition said: "It's not easy to categorize the music of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, except that it's hot." 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the Squirrel Nut Zippers most celebrated and commercially successful album Hot. Originally released in the summer of 1996, Hot was the follow up to the band's critically acclaimed debut The Inevitable. By this time the group had already established a substantial live following across the country thanks to early support from NPR, college radio and non-commercial stations. Hot wound up selling over 1.3 million copies.
Pitchfork, which was in it's second year of operation at the time, raved about Hot giving it a 9.5 and saying: "When you first splashdown into the CD, ya hit this realization: that people even older than your parents liked music like this...Hot is exuberant, gin house swing without apologies and it rocks without pretense. If you can manage to resist liking it, you must be dead." A newly re-mastered version of the album along with a bonus track: "The Puffer" will return to stores in July 2016. Long out of print on vinyl, Hot will make its glorious return to wax on 180-gram vinyl. A previously unreleased track "The Puffer" written by Squirrel Nut Zippers trumpet player the late Stacey Guess is included as a bonus track on the release.
"When I first fathomed and then formed the SNZ back in '91, it was out of necessity a string band," commented leader Jimbo Mathus. "I didn't know any horn players until I was introduced to Stacy Guess who was a Chapel Hill, NC native and a trumpet player. He was very serious and knowledgeable about jazz music and he taught me to write and arrange horn charts. In those early days of 93-95 when the band was on a very steep learning curve, he and I rehearsed, conversed, and composed incessantly. The Puffer is one of our collaborations. The puffer was the nickname of an old steam train that still ran through town when Stacy was a small child. We tried to make the song evocative of those strange, sometimes frightening early memories of events that we all carry in us, in this case watching this huge panting, smoking heaving mechanical beast chug thru a small mill town."
"The Puffer was originally set to be included on Hot," drummer Chris Phillips adds. "However, due to his personal issues at the time Guess never joined us for the recording of the album and the track sat on the shelf until Jimbo dug it up a few years later and finished it. Considering how much we loved Stacy, we thought it would be cool to finally give it a proper release."