Red Fang have made big waves around the world with banging riff-filled stoner rock and hilarious music videos. After three solid LP’s and several EP’s, splits and singles, the boys from Portland (US) are hitting Australia for CHERRYROCK Festival and a national tour. Jackyboy had a chat with lead guitarist David Sullivan about beer, music videos and Dungeons and Dragons.
Jackyboy: Red Fang are Australia bound this May for a bunch of shows including Melbourne’s proud little rock festival, CHERRYROCK, down the one and only AC/DC Lane. Great to have you back, are you excited to tour the southern hemisphere again?
David Sullivan: We really enjoy Australia so we’re really looking forward to get back there. Last time in 2013 for the Soundwave tour that was just great, this tour is going to be more club shows than festivals; but I actually prefer that. Playing a smaller club is more energy, it’s more intimate, I’m really looking forward to coming back to Australia. We’re working on a couple of new songs that we’re going to try and include on this tour, so we’re trying to get those sharpened up.
Jackyboy: Yeah I completely understand you get that pressurization of a small club.
David Sullivan: Yeah it’s easier to get a reaction and feel the energy than being behind a barrier playing a festival. It’s more rock’r’roll.
Jackyboy: After New Zealand you guys are back to Europe to rock out countries such as The Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Finland, Czech Republic and Germany. What has been your favorite place to tour travelling the world?
David Sullivan: Oh wow, every place I really enjoy. Australia is definitely a highlight. I always have a good time in Germany, France is really nice, I had a good time there. Barcelona, Spain and The Netherlands too, everywhere really. It’s kind of surprising to me we really are welcomed. We went to Russia, and I never expected we’d be touring Russia. We’ve been there three time now. It’s great, I can’t pick a favorite place. I love to travel and play music, no matter where we are it’s always fun.
Jackyboy: I noticed in a lot of your film clips you guys are very beer-centic.
David Sullivan: Oh yeah, I’m drinking a beer right now.
Jackyboy: What’s your favorite country to drink beer in?
David Sullivan: It’s really good in Germany and Belgium. Yeah I’d have to say Germany probably wins with beer. Some people would say Belgium. I think as far as our beer image is concerned we’re all beer drinkers; drinkers in general I think John (Sherman, drums) prefers wine now over beer. I’m still a beer drinker mostly because when I drink I can drink a lot of it. It’s not the only thing, I know people get the impression from the videos that we’re about BEER-BEER-BEER all the time. I think for the next video we might try and move away from that, but I don’t know, everyone likes drinking and we like drinking. We don’t want to be known as ‘The Beer Band’.
Jackyboy: I’d hope people are more interested in your music than how much you drink.
David Sullivan: Yeah, right yeah. The videos have been really great for us. It’s kind of nice for us as our music is pretty serious, we take it very seriously. The songs aren’t jokey or light hearted, they’re even dark at times. We’re not necessarily like that so it’s good in our videos we can present that different side. I little more comedy than what we might be singing about.
Jackyboy: I’d go as far as to say it was your music videos that made you famous as a band. I don’t know how many drinking sessions I’d had that ended huddled around YouTube watching Red Fang videos.
David Sullivan: That was definitely a huge thing for us. The Prehistoric Dog video came out, it was written and directed by a friend of ours, he really gets the credit for that. The concept of the video, directing it and making it happen. It really is a big part of our success. The internet now across the globe, if you have a video and it has elements of humor and comedy in it, even if people are not that into the song they will still watch it and tell everyone “Hey you gotta see this video of guys smashing into stuff in a car.” I agree the videos have helped us out tremendously.
Jackyboy: My favorite Red Fang song is ‘Throw Up’, what’s yours?
David Sullivan: I like DOEN. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite. I still really like Prehistoric Dog. Maybe right now it’s DOEN, the first song on our last record, it’s really fun to play. It’s a kind of bang your head song. It actually stands for ‘Dead of Endless Night’, Aaron was inspired lyrically by some movie where there’s like vampires or something in the snow.
Jackyboy: When I saw you guys play The Palace with Orange Goblin and Kyuss Lives, I think that was the coolest show I’d ever seen.
David Sullivan: Oh yeah thanks, that was really fun. I was glad on the Soundwave tour we got matched up with those guys for the side shows, those guys were great. We met Orange Goblin somewhere on tour in Europe before and got along great, they’re really nice guys. We’d never met the guys in Kyuss Lives! But I’d been a big fan of Kyuss for a long time, so it was great to play with them. I was really happy to have that opportunity.
Jackyboy: One thing occurred to me watching you guys play I’d only heard about you a year or two previously and this was your first tour of Australia; some of you guys are getting on in years for a new band who just got popular.
David Sullivan: Oh yeah! I’m 45 now and the oldest in the band, we’ve been playing music for a long time. I’ve been playing since I was 19 in a band playing guitar. Well my mom had an acoustic guitar me and my brother used to play when we were kids. I look at Iron Maiden and AC/DC and those guys are still doing it and they’re not resting on their laurels. I guess we’re older than some people might expect but it still works.
Jackyboy: On Reddit last year Bryan gave every member of Red Fang a score of 0 out of 10 on a scale of how metal you are. On a scale of 1 to 10, how nerdy are you?
David Sullivan: How nerdy? I’m probably the nerdiest. On a scale of 1-10 I’d give myself at least a 7. Because I’m kind of a computer nerd and I like gadgets and things. And even like, lots of guitar pedals and shit, I love messing with gadgets and stuff like that. Yeah definitely pretty nerdy.
Jackyboy: Well I’m happy to announce I’ve prepared a quick RPG campaign to test your nerdiness. You ready to go?
David Sullivan: An RPG campaign? I haven’t heard of this.
Jackyboy: Like Dungeons and Dragons.
David Sullivan: Oh alright, cool let’s go!
Games Master: Red Fang are backstage preparing to play a banging show of epic proportions when they are confronted by none other than the evil Heavy Metal Overlords… METALLICA! Lars Ulrich steps up to you and is all like “You’re not playing your set tonight, because we’re going to play instead! How you like that beardo!? Go back to Portland and grow some vegetables.”
David Sullivan: (laughs) That’s a pretty good Lars impression.
Games Master: The only way you can get to the play this sweet show is going to require some sweet violence. What do you do?
David Sullivan: See this is a defensive thing, and I wouldn’t do this in real life because I love Metallica, I just want to say that. But I guess I’ll grab my axe and start swinging! I’m gonna take him out, ‘cause we’re gonna play (laughs).
Games Master: Well in true Dungeons and Dragons style, I’m going to roll a D20… (rolls)…Oh, you roll a 14! That’s a critical hit on Lars Ulrich!
Lars’ head shoots from his neck squirting the squirtiest of evil black heavy metal blood like some kind of grim drinking fountain of the damned! You look around eagerly hoping someone saw that to find your band mates had slain their foes adequately! You proceed to get on stage and rock harder than ever with the sweet aura of victory running through your veins. And throughout the ages, beardos sing songs of your bravery over many fine ales.
David Sullivan: Oh yeah! That’s great. I’ll celebrate over a chalice of mead.
Jackyboy: Thank you for playing David and thanks for your time. Have a blast on tour and we’ll see you at CHERRYROCK!