The Fever was a dance punk band from New York, United States, formed in 2001.
In the spring of 2005 the Fever found themselves at a crossroads following the amicable departure of original guitarist Chris Sanchez. Frustrated by the sonic short-comings of their first album, the band was determined to press on into uncharted musical territory. Writing together as a tight four piece (Stapleton, Tzoulafis and Jasper have played together since high school) they spent the summer holed up in a rat infested Brooklyn basement meticulously constructing the songs that would make up In the City Of Sleep.
Suffering from bouts of insomnia lead singer Jasper came up with most of the records' lyrics and concepts while wandering late into the night around his industrial neighborhood under the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. Infusing these dark urban surroundings of old gray factories, gentlemen's clubs, and a decaying Navy Yard with a fevered imagination, Jaspers' lyrics present a surreal parade of marginal characters who intermingle with the animal and insect kingdoms to create a romantic dream world where the childlike and the decadent mix. Visually these themes are reflected in his sprawling and hallucinatory album artwork which he describes as "Fellini and Lewis Carroll in Metropolis."
Fever organ player J. Ruggiero, a recent medical school graduate and son of a doo wop singer, showcases his surgeons' dexterity and musical ingenuity on instruments including: pump organ, xylophone, marimba, piano, and accordion. His ghostly theremin casts a sinister shadow over the psychedelic cabaret of "Waiting For The Centipede" while he becomes a one-man midway orchestra on the sepia stained melancholy of "Circus Girl".
Inspired by Tom Waits' Bone Machine drummer Achilles, a professional New Jersey electrician, began stealing brake pads, sheet metal, chains and spare gears from his father's mechanics shop and assembling them into his own scrap yard percussion. His homemade instruments can be heard on the rusty chug of "Gypsy Cab/ Dog Street," train yard breaks of "Pink Smoke" and the cubist funk of "Do The Tramp."
Besides playing bass on many of the albums tracks, Keith Stapleton has returned to his original instrument of guitar, playing in a style that combines the dissonant fragmented picking of Marc Ribot, thunderous 50's styled tremolo guitar, and the melodic phrasing of George Harrison. Keith also contributed the music to two of its most intimate and tender tracks: the flea market organ lead "Magnus" and the reverb drenched slow jam "Yr Fool."
As a singer, Jasper has grown into his vocal chords stretching his palette from syrupy crooning, bluesy hiccups and grunts, and sweet fragility on the epic "Little Lamb." "Bye Bye Betty Blue" finds his voice swooping in an angelic falsetto while he tears through first single "Redhead" with nervy intensity. On the spoken word haunted highway of "Eyes On The Road," he sounds like the devil reciting beat poetry on an AM radio. Backup singers Stapleton and Ruggiero create tight harmonies most evident on the albums' dramatic opener "Curtains."
Overseeing the recording was maverick engineer/ producer Steve Rivette who's worked with everyone from the Beastie Boys and Dr. John to Liars and Black Dice. A fearless experimenter with a strong ear for texture Rivette recorded the band in many unconventional ways- once even covering the studio walls with tin foil to create the desired acoustics. He also demanded The Fever to play together live in the same room thus capturing spontaneous, raw and energetic performances.
A blazing live act The Fever will be taking In The City Of Sleep on the road this spring, adding new instrumentation and temperaments to their infamous performance style.
The Fever disbanded soon after the release of In The City Of Sleep, in late 2006.
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