From 1996 to 2015, the Brooklyn-based Giraffes have shredded, burned, and leveled every audience from their hometown of NYC to the Sunset Strip, and back again. Lead singer Aaron Lazar and guitar wizard Damien Paris form the focus of the band supported by the locomotive rhythm section of maniac drummer Andrew Totolos and latest Giraffe, Josh Taggart on bass.
The Giraffes formed in 1996 consisting of founding members: guitarist Damien Paris, drummer Andrew Totolos and bassist Tim Kent in a small room in Williamsburg Brooklyn. The trio’s unconventional mix of heavy indie-rock and surf made them a bill filler and in 1998 they released “Franksquilt”. However it was not until singer Aaron Lazar joined in 2000 that the band found it’s true shape. “Helping you Help Yourself” released in 2002 is a raw testament to the explosive energy of the four piece blending Paris’s ferocious riffage with the bellowing croons of Lazar’s sardonic lyrics. It was at this time the band began to get a reputation as a wild live act.
2002 saw the departure of Kent from the band and introduced John Rosenthal who would remain with the Giraffes until 2008. With Rosenthal committed, the band would go onto release three studio albums starting with the EP “A Gentleman Never Tells“ (2003), the Self- Titled album “The Giraffes” (2005) and the thunderous “Prime Motivator” (2008). It was during this heyday that the band suffered several bizarre set backs. In 2002 after a frenetic show at Brooklyn’s Club LUXX, Paris and friends got into a late night altercation outside of a White Castle where Paris was shot in the leg. In the beginning of 2005 Aaron Lazar suffered two heart attacks and a seizure, resulting in the implantation of a defibrillator in the singers chest. He remains “idiopathic” meaning his condition is new to medical science. In the summer of 2005 Lazar was defibrillated three times in half a minute while performing onstage at Chicago’s Double Door. He finished the set. Songs such as “BLCKNTWHTCSTL” off The Giraffes Self-Titled album and several songs from “Prime Motivator” reference these events.
The Giraffes live shows, now notorious for fierce musicality and unbridled audience participation, generated an intense and extremely dedicated fan base. Touring alongside stalwarts such as Local-H, Eagles of Death Metal, The Vacation and Skeleton Key, as well as sharing the stage with Interpol, Fishbone, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, The Strokes and bookings at the Amsterjam, Voodofest, Monolith, SXSW and Bonnaroo festivals expanded their audience that by 2010 the Giraffes were a nationally recognized independent act despite never having had a booking agent or steady label support.
In 2009 bassist John Rosenthal decided to leave the band and was quickly replaced by Jens Carstensen, who would join them in the writing and recording their epic album “Ruled” (2011). “Ruled” proved to be Lazars’ swan song as band members began to explore other projects. At a February 2011 show at Mercury Lounge, Lazar declared, “If we don’t make it big by the end of this show, I’m fucking quitting” and in fact, he did.
The Giraffes continued to operate without Lazar on lead vocals releasing an album of rarities and B-Sides: “Farewell Fat Astronaut” (2012) and later the ecclectic “Tales of the Black Whistle” (2013), which featured the vocal talents of Brianna Wanlass and Kimberly Paige Valor.
2014 brought reunion concerts with Lazar back at the helm of the band. The sold out shows in Brooklyn and Denver reunited fans from across the continent and, bolstered by their support, the Giraffes began working on new material for the first time since 2011. The band is currently working on its sixth full length record entitled “Usury” which will be released digitally Oct 2nd, 2015. CD and Vinyl will street January 29th 2016.
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