Red Fang’s latest album Whales and Leeches (Relapse) has taken the Portland based rock outfit to new heights and placed in front of new audiences they never imagined seeking out.
During their album cycle, the band appeared on Late Show With David Letterman, a popular US late night television show that usually features well known actors and celebrities, as well as larger named musical acts. On this particular date, Red Fang made a rare network television appearance to perform “Blood Like Cream,” with Paul Shaffer joining them on keyboards.
Band guitarists David Sullivan and Bryan Giles both shared their experience, and whether they actually got to meet Letterman himself.
“I didn’t see him until we walked out there. He was on stage and I got to shake his hand, then he disappeared. There was no communication,” said Giles.
“It was pretty limited with him. He came over and shook our hands, made a little joke at the end, but we didn’t really get to hang out with him and see what he’s like. I love David Letterman,” said Sullivan.
When the confirmation email first came to the band, various forms of sarcasm erupted and it took a bit of time until they realized the email was real.
“When we first got this email, it was like ‘I wanted to check you availability to play The Late Show.’ I was like…is this a joke?,” said Sullivan, remembering that moment.
“At least two of us wrote back ‘ha ha. Hilarious’, said Giles.
“It didn’t seem like something would to a band our level. It was awesome. I didn’t really sleep much the night before. I was pretty nervous. We got there and we did a little line check and then Paul Shaffer came in. He agreed to play with us. It was awesome. I’ve never been on a big TV show like that before. Everybody was super cool. I think it turned out cool I think. It was definitely nerve racking for me,” added Sullivan.
Aside from the excitement within the band, breaking the news to their friends and family became a bit more challenging.
“We weren’t really supposed to say anything until there was an announcement. I remember telling my girlfriend, ‘you’re not going to believe this…we’re going to play on Letterman!’ She was like ‘really?!’”
“It was crazy. For me, it seemed out of our reach. It didn’t seem like something that would happen to us. It’s like a dream. I’m stoked I got to do it. That was a huge show,” Sullivan said.
The band has also worked with a couple of well recognized faces on their music videos. Actor and musician Fred Armisen (Portlandia and now band leader on Late Night With Seth Myers) appears on their “Blood Like Cream” music video.
“He started up being in bands. He was a musician before he was a comedian so it makes sense,” said Giles.
“He was real nice. We’re not best buds with him. He works and lives in Portland, but it’s not like I can call him up and ‘Fred…get us on the show.’ That would be cool, but…maybe we should just try that! Why not? We have a little connection to him. Worth a shot I guess,” said Sullivan.
“He does Portlandia. I think he has a house in Portland. He lives half the time in Portland and half the time in New York. So I think he was wrapping up the season of Portlandia and was nice enough to agree to do it,” added Giles.
The band also worked with comedian Brian Posehn appears on their 2011 “Wires” music video, off their Murder The Mountains album.
“He was here [Portland, OR] and we were looking to have somebody fancy on our video. We were limited to when we could do the shoot. It was two weekends were the only options and then we had to wait until summer. One of the two weekends everyone was able to do it. He was so happened to be in town doing three shows. He was in town for a couple of days. He was also really nice. He likes metal,” explained Giles.
Sullivan added, “We had met him before. We were on tour in somewhere in Florida. He was playing down the street. We were fans of Brian Posehn so I think they went down to the show to see if they could sneak in and ended up meeting Brian. ‘Hey we’re playing down the street. You should come to the show.’ “
“He came to the show. He digs metal. We became friends and when the video came up, we’re like ‘hey when you’re in town, we’re doing this video’ and he was nice enough to do it.”