Thursday, 20 March 2014

Face-to-Face Interview with RED FANG

Red Fang are one of the best bands currently in the Hard Rock/Stoner Metal scene. They released their 3rd album – Whales and Leeches – to critical acclaim late last year.

Red Fang recently made their debut on National Late Night TV, on the legendary The Late Show with David Letterman Show, where they played Blood Like Cream to a great reception.

Red Fang are currently in the middle of a European Tour and I was given the chance to interview Bryan (Guitar/Vox) and John (Drums) from the band before their gig at Sheffield Corporation on Monday March 17th 2014, which I greatly accepted.

So here is my interview with Bryan and John from Red Fang.

SL – Hi guys. Thanks for doing this. How has the tour been going so far?

Bryan – Been Good. This is the fourth show so far.

John – Shows have been great. Sold out 2 out of last 3 shows.

Bryan – Good percentage 66% of shows sold out so far.

SL – It's been a few months since Whales and Leeches has been released. Have you been surprised by response from fans and critics.

Bryan – Am glad that anyone or anybody cares at all.

John – I don't really know the responses from critics.

Bryan – I don't really read many reviews. I follow the responses on Twitter and people seem to really like it.

SL – It's got a hell of a response from the fans.

Bryan – Sure. Our fans treat us really well.

SL – Obviously you have been on David Letterman recently. How did that come about.

John – That was insane!!!

Bryan – It was crazy. All of us didn't believe our people. We didn't believe our publicist. When I got the email saying - Would you do David Letterman Show - I was like. HA HA HA

John – I think my response was – WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!!! - I kept saying – I won't believe it happens until it happens. Even upto the point we booked plane tickets and even when we were in touch with their production crew. I was still thinking – I DON'T FUCKING BELIEVE IT.

Bryan – Sometimes bands do get bumped. Sometimes when they get up there, they have a conversation saying – FORGET IT, YOU'RE DONE!!

John – Even in New York I was thinking, So many things can go wrong still. Though it was so awesome and so good.

SL – Not many bands from the Stoner Metal/Hard Rock Scene are asked to appear on National Mainstream TV Shows.

John – Yeah, You don't see a lot of hard rock bands on late night TV. Mastodon have done it a couple of times. Otherwise it's just big, big bands. So it's an honor.

SL – Have you noticed anything different since Letterman. Has anything changed.

John – No (Laughs). Nothing is different.

Bryan – I consider things different with my family. I impressed my Mom. I made it to the Family Christmas Letter so people know I have been on Letterman.

John – Parents think we are that little bit more legit now as they have heard of David Letterman.

SL – Did you think your appearance on David Letterman was due to the success of the new album or the brilliant video for Blood Like Cream.

Bryan – Our publicist is really good. She done a fantastic job there.

John – I have heard that Letterman likes to get bands before anybody else does. That is just my theory. There is some kind of buzz around us and someone is going to get the guys on TV. We better do it now and first. Hopefully that means someone else would want us to come on their show to.

Bryan – It's fun to do. Scary as well. Terrifying but I had a blast.

SL – It was a great performance. Got a hell of a response from your fans.

John – The whole time I was thinking I was in a movie or something. I didn't know what was going on. Afterwards I didn't know if we played good or not. It sounded good. I am impressed with us. Good job.

SL – I saw it an hour or so later after it was broadcast and it looked and sounded great.

John – Aaron and I had to catch the flight the next morning. We taped it on a Thursday and it aired on Friday. We were on our way to Switzerland. So we couldn't even watch it on TV. Had to watch it on my computer.

SL – You're from Portland, Oregon, which has a vibrant Hard Rock/Stoner Rock scene with bands such as yourselves, YOB and Lord Dying. Do you still perform there regularly.

John – Actually we played there before we left for this leg of the European Tour. We played a show. It seems like we play there 4 times a year. Sometimes more. We are playing a show when we get back. It's going to be awesome. It's a festival.


John – You know about STUMPFEST.

SL – I know a bit as I have published a few things about it on The Sludgelord, mainly posters promoting the festival.

John – YOB will be there and Lord Dying will be playing.

Bryan – Gonna be fun.

John – Stumpfest is going to be crazy as it's a 300 capacity venue. Super Small. So if it's not sold out now. It's crazy. Am going to go there every night especially for YOB. YOB just supported TOOL on their recent stadium tour. I didn't go but I would love to see YOB on that sort of sound system. They are my favourite Doom Band.

SL – Are you coming back to Europe in the summer for some festivals.

John – Yeah. We will be back July/August time.

Bryan – June.

John – No we will be touring the States from Mid May to Mid June. Mid July to Mid August we tour Europe. It seems lately it's been a month at home, month on the road and month at home.

SL – You have had a busy and action packed career since you released your debut album in 2009. Do you ever need an extended break or do you keep on going.

John – It's like to a certain point when you're on the road, you miss home and you want to go home. Then you're home and you're happy until a certain point you're like – FUCK, I have to get back on the road. It's a pretty decent balance for me right now.

Bryan – It seems a lot of other bands tour more than we do. Some bands do a a hell of a lot more than us.

John – Yeah we tour about 6 months of the year.

Bryan – Some other bands do 8 to 10 months on the road.

John – We can't do that for one year. We all have commitments. Aaron has a wife and son at home. I have a wife. We all have lives we want to keep intact. It's a balancing act.

SL – When you tour in Europe and USA. Are the fans responses different or are they the same.

John – It seems like we do a little better in Europe.

Bryan – Yeah. But then again we are here more often and longer.

John – We are more popular here as we are here more often. It's more fun to tour outside the USA. Not just cos of the fans, but the different sites as well. I have seen nearly all of the USA and there is some great stuff to see. But it's even better to see a landscape or site which I haven't seen before. CASTLES. Not one fucking Castle in the US. But the UK is full of them.

Bryan – Yeah you should bulldoze some of them.


John – Plenty of Starbucks though.

Bryan -We love travelling here as there is so much history such as the old buildings and stuff. It's cool and humbling.

SL – Was it hard to choose the set-list for your current tour. As you have 3 great records to choose from.

Bryan – This current set-list started from the US Tour.

John – Yeah I think the set-list from tonight has came from past tours. We have changed it a bit. We settled on the set-list which will last until the end of the current tour.

Bryan – We like to shake things up a bit.

John – Yeah it's pretty heavy from the first two records. Six songs from the new record and rest from first two records.

Bryan – No. Probably more from Murder The Mountain.

John – Actually there is more from second record than first record.

Bryan – Which is fun as we played some songs to death from previous records. I feel the crowds enjoy it more when we play different tracks.

John – We have played all tracks off the new album at least once.

Bryan – Not "Behind The Light" though.

John – Well almost played live at least once. When Mike from YOB is around we play – "Dawn Rising." If Mike was on the road with us now we would do it every night. He has done it with us in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver BC. It's so much damn fun to play.

SL – Another thing that appeals to your fans is your music videos. Always great videos with lots of humour. Plus loads of beer is involved as well.

John – HA HA. Yeah. All of our videos are made by a good friend of ours - Whitey McConnaughy. He comes up with everything. We have another video coming out soon which is animated.

Bryan – I am not sure if that is still happening.

John – Yeah it's happening. Did you see the treatment.

Bryan – I did.

John – Though it's not going to be about BEER. We have got to get away from it. HA HA

Bryan – The original treatment was about Beer but we were thinking enough with the Beer already as we have other interests.

SL – Yeah such as Zombies. Who came up with the whole Zombie idea for Blood Like Cream.

Bryan – Whitey. All him as he comes up with all of the ideas.

John – He is a genius. He also did a Lord Dying Video. He is going to do a WHORES video.

SL – You have signed to Relapse Records for last few years. They have changed shift from being an extreme metal label to singing more Stoner/Hard Rock Bands.

John – Yeah. We were nervous singing to Relapse as we are not so extreme.

Bryan. Fans don't compare which labels bands are signed to. Though they do have a reputation for signing harder acts.

John – Though it's been great.

Bryan – It's helped us.

John – They have over last few years have signed different styles of Rock and it's all good. It's not just so specific of a niche compared against the super-brutal-ginrdcore which they still do that stuff.

SL – Which albums and artists are you currently digging.

John – New Whores Record – CLEAN. Which is good. What is the new HELMS ALEE record called.

Aaron – Sleepwalking with Sailors

John – Big Business. Battlefields Forever.

SL – Big Business is awesome. So is the new DIESTO record.

John – You said Diesto. You know about DIESTO.

SL – Yeah. Last album is awesome. Reviewed it for the blog a while back.

Folks – For next 10 mins we discussed music from various bands such as Torche, Buildings, Amebix, GOAT, Soundgarden, Lumbar, Neurosis, Blackwitch Pudding, Sandrider, Biblical, Alice In Chains, Cancer Bats, Bison BC, Indian Handcrafts, HARK, Abraham and UFOMAMMUT.

It was a very cool conversation and it strayed away from interview territory which I can only apologize. But I was having too much fun to notice.

SL – You brought Lord Dying and The Shrine along on this tour. Was that an easy choice to make.

John – Yeah. Lord Dying our homies from back home. Lateral definition of HOMIES. HA HA.

Bryan – We met The Shrine when they played Portland with Graveyard and they were super nice people. So we felt like inviting them along on tour. Our fans and their fans get along. So it's all good and we all get along as people.

John – It's an eclectic bill under the umbrella of Rock. And not all the same sounding bands. We have toured with the bands before and they are both great bands.

Bryan – Yeah. This is the 3rd tour with this line-up. Although technically this is the same tour as we had a months break in-between

SL – Well guys thanks to talking to me. Been a real pleasure. Best of luck with tonight's show and the rest of the tour.

I want to thank Aaron Pickford (DOUBLEADOOM77), Becky at Pioneer Music Press and Chris Coyle for arranging this interview. Plus John and Bryan for taking the time time out to talk to me.

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