Interview with Bryan Giles of Red Fang
When speaking to Bryan from Red Fang via telephone on August 6th while the band was taking part on the Rockstar Mayhem Fest, we touched on a number of topics, from the Oregon unit’s awesome videos, to how they stand out from the typical American summer me
What sets you guys apart from the rest of the bands in the Mayhem Fest this year?
We don't have a double kick drum.
Are you the only band?
That's wild, man, that's cool.
It's great, isn't it? We don't need no stinking double kick.
Tell me some of your fondest rock and roll summer memories, either ones you were involved in, or maybe going to shows?
I remember doing the Alice Cooper song “I’m 18” on my 18th birthday. I think we were opening for Seven Seconds or somebody like that on my 18th, and that was a pretty cool memory. I remember taking mushrooms and watching Black Sabbath for Ozzfest about five or six years ago. That was pretty amazing…I'd never seen them and Black Sabbath pretty much is the best. That was awesome.
How does it feel to be involved in a tour like this…it's kind of a little bit out of your realm. Is it overwhelming? How do you feel like the crowds are reacting to you guys?
Oh, I don't know, I think that sometimes crowds react very well and I think that sometimes they don't know what to do with us. We're out here and it’s on us, center stage, to get people to notice us. I mean we definitely stick out. We love that. We've done our job, come out here and stick out in a positive way.
You guys definitely bring such a different dynamic. Even when you guys were on the Metal Alliance tour…the dynamic that you guys have on stage compared to other bands is like a controlled looseness. It's electrifying to watch you play off each other. You can see the camaraderie in your band when you guys are on stage, the musicianship and the unspoken language you guys are going through. How long have Red Fang been together?
It'll be six years in December.
You guys were also in a bunch of other bands together, correct?
That's correct. David the guitar player, and the drummer and I were in a band for about three years before this band. And actually John was a roadie for my other bands, probably nine years ago. I've known these guys for a decade or so and we're buddies. That’s why we started a band. We all could relate to each other musically in our other bands. So we gravitated towards each other because of music, but also be we got along, you know? It works out a lot better if you like the beings you're traveling with.
What do you guys do on the downtime on tour?
Let's see, drink a lot of beer. I've been reading a lot. On this kind of tour, we're kind of in the middle of nowhere so you really can't get out and do anything. I try to read. We hang out and bullshit, we do some gambling, play C-LO games. And we go to parties happen a couple of times a week behind the main stage…we do some partying.
Have you had a chance to check out any other bands? I know a lot of the other bands are checking you guys out and you guys definitely are getting noticed and people are really digging what you guys are doing, but have you got a chance to go out and check out the other bands as well?
Well, we have a pretty full schedule. Once we play we're kind of busy the whole time. So some of the bands I like the most I can't really watch because I'm doing something else. So a lot of times we catch the sound check and something I'll come do it. I really like Kingdom of Sorrow and I'm really enjoying Unearth, and I just got to see Hatebreed yesterday and I thought they brought a pretty good show. It's metal education for me. I don't get out to see a lot of these modern metal bands. I'm more into the underground metal shit like Melvins and stuff like that, so it's definitely education. It's amazing and the musicianship out here is humbling to say the least. It's been incredible to watch them play.
That's why I think this year’s Mayhem Fest contains a really good balance this year and you guys are definitely a big part of that.
There are a lot of different styles, that's for sure.
At the New Jersey show I attended, the kids looked a little perplexed, I'll be honest…
But they were digging it. It was like they were watching a history lesson. You know what I mean? You guys play hard and it's really an awesome show to see. What songs have you noticed have gotten a good reaction live?
"Wires" and "Prehistoric Dog" are always the big crowd pleasers. They're the songs that have videos associated with them. Those videos have been invaluable as far as getting people's attention.
I can't believe you guys in the year 2011, with the way MTV is, have gotten over via a video. It's so awesome. Thank God that YouTube exists, but otherwise, it's very difficult.
I thought the video was dead, but our director I think did such a great job and he's so good, you know. He's really revitalizing the music videos. It's crazy... I mean the '80s there were these storyboards and they were really corny, but they were kind of great for what they were. And then that got played out. And then videos got crazier and crazier to some point that people just stopped caring altogether. I mean MTV doesn't even hardly play videos, but I think it's coming back. I think because of the internet and the freedom there, which is so much better than on a television station that has sponsors to worry about or whatever else. People can do whatever they want, you know, that's exciting to see. They can see a lot of new videos coming out that are a lot gorier, a lot crazier than they ever could be on television, which I think that why the genre is coming back. There's more freedom now than ever.
The video "Wires" is brilliant. It's cool and it's different, and I think it shows that you guys have a lot of fun, but it also shows that it still can get done like that. Who was the guy that directed that?
His name is Whitey McConnaughy. He's got a website. He's done a video for Superchunk that’s pretty incredible. It's from the point of view of a cat. And the cat ends up doing some insane stuff. I don't want to give away too much.
What are your plans after the Mayhem Fest?
We had a lot of ideas, some of them were offers, so we were trying to figure out the best thing for us. So right now, we're up in the air. But we just posted something on our Facebook asking our fans who they think we should tour with. Hopefully we'll get a good idea out of that and it can all work out.
I would love to see you guys with Mastodon personally. That'd be an excellent double bill and I think it fits the timeline too.
Yeah, I'd love to see us with Mastodon, too. Pairing yourself with the right people is really important. But, we're also talking about maybe doing some headlining gigs in November, maybe do our own thing…if no one inviting us to their party doesn't mean we're not gonna throw our own.
That's a good attitude man. Best of luck, have fun and continued success!
Check out more about Red Fang at www.relapse.com and be sure to pick up their new album MURDER THE MOUNTAINS.