Red Fang

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Red Fang

Red Fang are about to make the trek out to Australia for their second time ever. Bryan Giles guitarist for the Portland stoner rock group, cannot wait as their first trip back in 2013 at Soundwave was such a memorable experience for the group. Having released their third studio album in 2013 Whales and Leeches when I speak to Giles, he reveals to me that the band has just started work on the follow up.
“Right now man! I am at home in Portland, Oregon and it feels great. I am really enjoying the time at home. It’s been a pretty mild winter this year and so it’s been beautiful. We’ve had a lot of time to sit down and write music, which is something that we have really needed to do. The flowers are in bloom and the fourth album is underway. It’s by no means completed yet, but we have quite a start on it,” he says.
The latest record Whales and Leeches was produced by Chris Funk – a member of American folk rockers The Decemberists who hails from the same town as Red Fang.
“That record, it was underdressed. We had about three and a half months to write the majority of the record. We went in with some ideas, but nothing fully worked out. It was a very crazy time indeed and we wrote so many songs in that period. It was the most stressful that I have been going into the studio,” Bryan says.
“On previous occasions, we would write and when the songs were at a stage that we felt we could lay them down, we would head into the studio and record. It was the first time that we booked studio time without knowing what was going to happen – that’s something that we don’t really want to repeat. We will record this album, when we are good and ready, there is no point rushing it.”
From just a quick Google you are able to watch Redfang absolutely obliterate the stage of David Letterman. You may ask yourself what a stoner rock band from Portland, Oregon is doing on Letterman, but talking about the experience Giles is just as surprised as you.
“It was terrifying…It’s one of those things where we got an email and we responded sarcastically because we thought it was a joke. She came back and said no seriously when are you available to do this and we said whenever they wanted us,” he says.
“It was very frightening but something that I always wanted to do. I was really afraid that I would make a fool of myself on national television. It was like a terrifying rollercoaster where as soon as you get off, you want to get back in line. We practised the song six times before the show. It was awesome, and we got to play with the legendary Paul Shaffer! Man! That guy was in the Blues Brothers!”
Having researched extensively for this interview, one of the coolest aspects to Bryan Giles is his love for Simon and Garfunkel. Yes, he plays in one of the most energetic and heavy rock bands around, but he still loves ‘Sounds of Silence’ more than the next guy. “My mum was a big fan. I remember when I was little, I’d be playing with my Tonka trucks and listening to Bridge Over Troubled Water. I stand behind them, they are great songwriters and it is super catchy. There are some songs though that these days I find a bit corny. You know that one that goes ‘Hello lamppost, what you knowin’? I’ve come to watch your flowers growing? ‘Feelin’ Groovy’ is an awesome track and whenever ‘Cecilia’ comes on the radio, I crank that up and belt it out at the top of my voice.”
Talking about the opportunity for a Paul Simon and Bryan Giles acoustic collaborative album, Giles jests about how fun it would be to hit up the studio with the legendary singer/songwriter. “Oh! As if that would ever happen, absolutely I would be on board for that. I’m pretty sure they would be all for trying to protect their reputation, but if Simon is keen to hit the studio with me for an album of covers or something, I am definitely down for that. If you know those guys, let them know I’m in.”
One of the biggest shows of the past 12 months for the band is without a doubt their tour with Swedish rock royalty Opeth and In Flames. To share the stage with such superstars of the genre would be an incredible experience for any musician and was a pinch yourself moment for Giles. “Both those bands have been around for 20 plus years, and they are really cool down to earth guys. So in that sense, it was really comfortable. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go over for our band, like putting salt on icecream or something. They are really technical progressive experimental music and we, by comparison, are cavemen. I wasn’t sure how knuckle-dragging would go over with their crowd, but I really enjoyed playing with those guys.”
Talking about the impending tour of Australia, which kicks off in the next couple of weeks, I was quick to ask Giles whether there was something peculiar to their show that would be special for Australian audiences to see. “Surprises eh? I think we are going to play some new stuff for ya and so you can keep an ear out for new material. We are randomly going to kill two or three people in the audience every night, so you should get your will in order before you come out.”
Luckily, Giles was joking about the killing, but their high energy no holds barred performance is set to rock throughout Victoria featuring a headline spot at Cherry Rock. As a band that has been around for 10 years and has played on Metallica’s Orion festival be sure to see these guys while you can.
When & Where: The Barwon Club, Geelong – May 9 & Cherry Rock Festival @ Cherry Bar, Melbourne – May 10
Written by Tex Miller