I've known Red Fang for a long time — from before their very humble beginnings in 1972, even. I knew them in the early days when they were grody dirt wizards that you never wanted to see with their shirts off. But there we were in Teeksville, Vermont, at 4 a.m. After literally burning the club to the ground following their poorly attended set, I'm pounding on the door of the cutest little bed and breakfast you've ever laid eyes on with a very drunk and hungry Red Fang demanding a pancake breakfast — topless.
In the years since, a few things have changed: The band successfully rescued guitarist David Sullivan from a hoarding situation (featured on the "If The House Is a Rockin'..." episode of Hoarders),bassist/vocalist Aaron Beam received his master's degree in the Smooooth Sciences, guitarist/vocalist Bryan Giles started the world’s first 100-perecent anti-organic farm in his kitchen, and drummer John Sherman has climbed Mt. Everest in the nude, making him only the third person ever to do so. And none of them wets the bed anymore! That's just the stuff that's been on the news. They've also been touring the world like mad, playing to thousands of sweaty, hygienically-challenged maniacs at festivals and non-ventilated venues alike. They've made several award-winning music videos that have lots and lots of views because they're hilarious and awesome. Then this spring, they jogged 14 miles round trip to the studio everyday for 666 days and recorded a new record called Whales and Leeches.
I caught up with guitarist Bryan Giles at his neighborhood coffee shop shortly after the band recorded Whales and Leeches and asked him what their influences were while recording the new material. Giles took a slow drink of his perfectly frothed cafe latte and thoughtfully replied, "What are you, a fucking cop?" Looking for a little more insight, I asked how he thought the band had grown since their last record. He replied, "I don't know who the fuck you are, man. If you don't stop bothering me, you're going to be eating that fucking iPad!" It's clear that there's a lot of excitement about Whales and Leeches in the Red Fang camp.
You're probably not saying to yourself, "So they kind of have their shit together, big deal! What does Whales and Leeches sound like?" because you're not reading this anymore. You've already started listening to the record, or you've decided you're more concerned with whether Bon Iver is still a thing or not. On the off chance that you're a college paper writer hungry for the red-hot scoop, here's some things to know about their new record that you should already be listening to and forming your own opinions about:
The record sounds very excellent and professional, you can tell that they've been practicing their instruments. Their songs sound more thought-out and trippier. Bryan and Aaron sound like they've gotten better at singing. Every song has a riff you like. Mike Scheidt from YOB sings on a song, so you're gonna like that. It sounds more mature, like good cheese or your Aunt Sharon. Do you want me to keep rubbing your ear crotch? Sorry, I'm kind of a tease! You're just going to have to take a few minutes to listen and let Red Fang's filthy hands take the wheel, then come up with your own adjectives and opinions. I think it's a great record and they're going to make folks proud. I hope they don't get all famous and stuck up and then the VH1 special and, oh Christ.
When reflecting on what the future might hold for Red Fang, I think drummer John Sherman slurred it best: "wchhy are yooo solllannngmm? Let's maake ths sitchoo-ashun AWESome!" You said it, John. This is definitely the year for Red Fang.
- Written by Jared Warren of The Melvin