What Did Eric Nally Do Before Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Downtown"? He Taught The World About Foxy Shazams

When we find out about a more underground musical act, like we did with Eric Nally at the Video Music Awards on Sunday when he made his mainstream debut in Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' music video for "Downtown," it's tempting to feel like we've "discovered" him. It's tempting to believe that he was just patiently waiting in the wings to begin his career until we were paying attention, but that's far from the case. Long before we noticed Nally's more-than-passing resemblance to Freddie Mercury in both appearance and style, he was out there making a name and a reputation for himself.

And, since I know I speak for all of us (but mostly for myself), when I say we don't want to be those people who are on Twitter like, "why is this new band ACDC so old?" or "Who is this Paul McCartney guy?" — talking about how the former Beatle is going to get his big break from collaborating with Rihanna and Kanye on "FourFiveSeconds" LOL LOL — we should probably take a second to learn a thing or two about Nally's background. Just so we don't look foolish, you know what I'm saying?

There was already so much during the VMAs that went over my head — like those whistles that only people under 25 can hear — that I'm really grasping at straws here to stay relevant. Come along with me to find out what Nally has been up to until now.

Being In The Band Foxy Shazam

FoxyShazamVEVO on YouTube

This is Nally's main claim to fame, and what he's been doing since 2004 when the band formed. Since then, they worked steadily, putting out five studio albums before temporarily disbanding in 2014. They are currently on hiatus, with fans eagerly awaiting their promised reunion.

Getting Compared To Freddie Mercury

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We definitely weren't the first to make that comparison, as a reviewer as far back as 2011 wrote after a Foxy Shazam show, "If Noel Fielding and Freddie Mercury had a love child it would be Foxy Shazam vocalist Eric Sean Nally." For his part, Nally appreciates the comparison, even if he doesn't totally understand it, telling the Phoenix New Times:

I am honored in a way [to be compared to Freddie Mercury]. He was a great singer and a great frontman, and that means a lot. I guess a lot of times people say it because I’m a good singer and I have a mustache. Other than that, I don’t see too much of a resemblance. … I’m not really flattered by it because I want to be unique, but it’s also really nice because at least I’m not being compared to some crap singer.

So, if you really want to give the dude a compliment, don't drag Queen into it.

Scaring Audiences At Their Live Shows

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Apparently that's kind of a thing at their shows, that they want to terrify the audience, so you should know what you're getting into before you buy a ticket. Keyboards get thrown, rigging gets climbed on, and the band works through whatever they're working through emotionally, right on stage in front of you.

Eating Cigarettes

Katy K on YouTube

Oh yeah, did I not mention before that things get wild?

Tricking Reporters

For years, the story about the name of the band was that "foxy shazams" was what cool shoes had been called at Nally's high school. So, if you saw someone with sneakers you liked, you'd compliment them on their "foxy shazams". But then, five years after he started that story, Nally admitted that the provenance of Foxy Shazam's name was entirely made up.

Being A Husband And Father

Pretty crazy in juxtaposition to all that cigarette-eating stuff I said earlier, but Nally is happily married with two sons!

Growing Up In Cincinnati

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That's where he met his fellow bandmates, guitarist Loren Turner, pianist Sky White, bass player Daisy, trumpeter and back-up vocalist Alex Nauth, and drummer Aaron McVeigh.

Pissing Off Jack Nicholson

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Nally was supposed to write a song for him, but Nicholson and his people were apparently not into it.

And there you have it! That should be at least enough info about Nally so you won't embarrass yourselves gushing about his "breakout" performance in "Downtown." You're welcome.