The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
David Sullivan Red Fang - Interview
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The last time Australia saw Red Fang was at the Soundwave Festival in 2013 which turned out to have a bit of a stoner/doom metal theme with some great bands including the last ever Kyuss Lives shows. 2015 sees the band return as headliners this time so we caught up with guitarist David Sullivan to discuss the tour, David Letterman and the rising success of Red Fang.



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Andrew: So how's the band at the moment?

David: Good! I'm actually just walking home from practice right now. We were just working on some new songs trying tighten up brand new songs for this upcoming tour.

Andrew: Oh OK so you are looking to record some of these pretty soon are you?

David: Kinda, we recorded just some demo versions of these songs already a couple weeks back and then we already rewrote the songs. It changes, they're still not ready to be put down on an album. We're still arranging and moving stuff around but we just recorded some demos, I think we did about 8 songs that are just kinda ideal for us to work with. It was good for us to demo but we're probably not going to record until at least maybe at the end of this year or probably the beginning of next year so we'll have enough for a whole new album. I always try to write new stuff.

Andrew: Yeah obviously it's been a little while since your last album came out so it's good to hear that you're writing new material.

David: Yeah just trying to get a head start without setting a schedule for recording. We had a 3 month break recently and so we just got together as much as we could and yeah, just always trying to write new stuff.

Andrew: OK cool. So the other big news at least for us is that you guys are coming back to Australia in May so we are looking forward to that!

David: Yeah I'm stoked about it too! I love Australia, it's a great place and people are super nice and always a good time there. We were there for Soundwave a few years [ago] and we've only been over there once with the band so it will be great to come back, I'm excited about it.

Andrew: I did manage to catch you at Soundwave in 2013 and you did a couple of sideshows as well outside of the festival with Orange Goblin and Kyuss Lives. That was a great show, how was that for you?

David: Yeah that was great! I was really stoked to be paired up with those guys. We knew the Orange Goblin guys from a previous tour, they are great guys. And then Kyuss has been one of my favorite bands for a long time so it was really great to get to play with those guys, it was really fun. I mean the whole festival was really fun but those shows especially was cool.

Andrew: And now you are coming back and this time you are headlining so obviously it's going to be a little diffrent than the fesitval shows. So what can we expect on this one?

David: Yeah we haven't been the headliner over there but I think it's going to be really good. I think we get a good response there so I think people are excited for us to be there and we're definitely excited to be there. I mean just for us it's like...and I know you're from Australia so it just seems like it everyday...but for us it's like 'Wow we''re going to Australia!'. It's fucking great!

Andrew: Haha yeah! Well you guys haven't been around for too long, obviously a few years now but looking back on your career so far, are you surprised by how successful you guys have been?

David: Yeah, we're actually coming up on 10 years which is a good chunk of time but since we've been really busy in maybe 6 or 7 of those years but yeah I'm defnitely surprised. I've been playing music in bands since I was 19 years old mostly for fun because I love playing guitars in music. But yeah we just kinda took off and done great and I love it! But I am fucking surprised, I didn't think we would be touring Australia and we're going to Russia in a little bit right before we come to Australia. That would be our third time in Russia and then in June we are going back to Europe doing more festivals and then we were scheduled to play in Israel but that fell through so that's not happening. But I never thought I would be travelling around the world playing with Red Fang for sure.

Andrew: Yeah that's cool! I've been following you guys for a couple of years now and it's great to see you guys getting bigger and bigger. I was watching a video of you guys on youtube recently where you were on David Letterman last year, I mean that must have been a pretty good highlight!

David: Oh yeah that was great! That's another thing that I did not expect to be happening. When I first saw an email from our PR person from our management, they're like 'I just want to check your availability for Late Show with Letterman' and I was like 'Are you joking? Is this for real?' And then the other guys were like 'Red Fang on Letterman? That's fucking awesome!' I've loved that show since I was a kid but yeah it was great! I didn't really sleep much the night before, I was really anxious but then it was great once we started playing it all kinda goes away.

Andrew: What was it like meeting David Letterman?

David: We didn't really get to interact with him really at all. The only time we actually interacted with him was at the end of our set when he came over to shake our hand and he made a joke about John (Sherman, drums) not having a beard. But we did get to hang out with Paul Shaffer because he played with us on the song. So we went in and went to the studio really early, we loaded our gear in at 7am or something and we started up and then there was a rehearsal so we could get the sound right and then came back a couple of hours later and Paul Shaffer was there so we went through it with him on keyboards. We hung out for a few minutes, talked about the song and he's like a musical genius so it didn't take him any time to pick up the song. And we were like 'Just play something on this part and do whatever you want to do' and he picked it up super quick. So we got to hang out with Paul Shaffer a little bit but not really so much with Letterman. Apparently he's a pretty private person. But the whole experience was great, that's our first time on live - well not exactly live - but you know, taped in front of a live audience in a tv studio. Definitely a new experience for me.

Andrew: I think it's great for the band as well, it gives you a bit more exposure for a worldwide audience.

David: Oh yeah I think it did. I think our videos have helped us in that way also because the internet can get music and videos to people all over the world and I think some of our videos kinda caught on a little bit and that definitely helped. But being on a big worldwide tv show is definitely a boost for us although to be honest, not much changed since we did that. We're still just 4 dudes playing in a band but it's great that we get to do things like that.

Andrew: Is there anything in particular now that you have started to do some bigger things that you really want to do that you haven't been able to do yet?

David: Hmm well I would actually love to tour and be main support for a band that I really love. Like maybe we could open up for Soundgarden or even Kyuss would be cool or Queens Of The Stone Age. I would love to do a tour with a band that I've been influenced by that I really dig and travel around with them, I think that would be pretty awesome. Maybe that will happen at some point, I don't know. We did a tour a while back with Mastodon and we did Europe and in the U.S. it was us, Dillinger Escape Plan and Mastodon and then went over to Europe and it was just us opening for Mastodon except for a couple of shows in the U.K. where Dillinger rejoined. But it was great, headlining spots is awesome too but I just like every night getting to see a band that I really like and kinda see how they do it. But maybe we'll get to open for Soundgarden or Mastodon or Metallica, who knows. I don't know if any of those are within the realm of possibility but something like that would be cool.

Andrew: Well speaking of your influences, who do you consider to be your biggest influence on the guitar?

David: Well I like all kind of stuff but really my first answer is Black Sabbath. Black Sabbath and AC/DC, I love that stuff. Sabbath are a lot more doomy and maybe more bluesy but I also love AC/DC. I like a lot of stuff, I like ZZ Top, I like a lot of classic rock actually. But then I also like a lot of 90's guitar stuff like Fugazi and Soundgarden, I mean there's so many bands. Jesus Lizard was a big influence on me, Stooges. And then I like a lot of 70's hard rock stuff like the James Gang or Mountain, a lot of heavy 70's rock that I dig. Actually I had a compilation and I forgt the name of the compilation but it's an Australian band from the 60's and 70's in the style of heavy, psychedlic stuff. It's really good and I'm blanking out on the name of the CD but really great stuff which I had never heard before.

Andrew: Now I know you guys are from Portland and I've spoken to guys from there like Lord Dying and there's some great bands coming out from there like Toxic Holocaust and Lord Dying and even Relapse records is over there. I mean what's going over there? There must be a great music scene over there at the moment.

David: Yeah it really is! Somehow and I'm not really sure why but it seems like it's an easy town for being in a band, for being a musician. There's a lot of people playing music and there's a lot of great venues, a lot of great places to record. I'm not originally from here, I moved from the east coast in North Carolina in 1995 out here but I moved here partially because I was playing music. I had some friends who were out here who were playing music and it just seems like a good place for that. But yeah there'sa lot of good stuff happening here right now, a lot of good bands. I don't know if it's something in the water or maybe it's the beer, I don't know!

Andrew: Haha! It kinda reminds me of the whole Seattle grunge scene, it has that sort of vibe where that kind of stuff - maybe not grunge obviously but the stoner metal and all that kind of stuff - coming out of Portland. It just reminds me of that.

David: Yeah for sure, there's definitely that kind of thing. I mean what we're doing musically, I don't try to be a specific type of music but I definitely love a lot of that grunge and garage punk kind of stuff and that's definitely a big thing in Seattle and here as well. It's kinda like the loner explosion of music after Nirvana and all that stuff, Portland is kind of the junior to that but a little bit different for sure.

Andrew: Yeah it's awesome. Well as I said before, we are looking forward to seeing you in Australia and I think it will be an amazing tour. So it's been a pleasure talking to you today, thanks again!

David: Yeah nice to talk to you too! Yeah we're really excited to come to Australia, we'll be playing a lot of stuff off our 3 albums and a couple of new songs so look forward to that!


Red Fang Australian and New Zealand tour dates:

Thursday 7th MAY: Perth @ Rosemount
Friday 8th MAY: Adelaide@ Fowlers Live
Saturday 9th MAY: Geelong @ The Barwon Club
Sunday 10th MAY: Melbourne @ Cherry Rock Fest
Tuesday 12th MAY: Brisbane @ Crow Bar
Wednesday 13th MAY: Brisbane @ Crowbar
Thursday 14th MAY: Sydney @ The Manning Bar
Friday 15th MAY: Melbourne @ The Prince Bandroom
Saturday 16th MAY: Auckland @ The Kings Arms
Sunday 17th MAY: Wellington @ San Francisco Bath House

Tickets on sale at Heathen Skulls.

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on April 11th 2015