Singer-songwriter Tom Maxwell was an eyewitness to how the Chapel Hill, NC music scene changed in the 1990s after it was dubbed “the new Seattle” by music critics. Suddenly, local rock bands were being courted and exploited by major record labels and making music became less fun for Maxwell.
He co-founded the Squirrel Nut Zippers, which rebelled against rock with fun lyrics set to swing jazz and calypso rhythms. Maxwell wrote their biggest hit, “Hell,” which was featured on their platinum-selling CD, “Hot.” After he quit the band in 1999, Maxwell became a dad and wrote two solo albums, “Samsara” and “Kingdom Come.” The latter deals with finding strength after his young son was diagnosed with cancer. Maxwell joins host Frank Stasio to talk about discovering early jazz, his success with the Zippers and how fatherhood has infiltrated his artistry.