Latest release: Murder the Mountains (Relapse)
Band site: www.redfang.net
Yet another band making their first trek to Australia as part of Soundwave 2013 is American stoner rock/hard rockers Red Fang. In addition to the festival itself, they also have a couple of mouth-watering side shows scheduled with stoner gods Kyuss Lives! and metallers Orange Goblin. Drummer John Sherman told Loud about how the power of the riff compels thee.
Q: Like a number of bands on the Soundwave bill, this will be your first time here.
A: Yeah, it’s a huge festival. We’ve played some pretty big festivals, but I don’t think we’ve played anything on this scale (laughs). There’s a tonne of bands on the festival that I’m excited about trying to catch. I want to catch Slayer; if I can see Slayer I’ll be super stoked, that’s definitely one of the best bands of all time. Definitely Slayer, I can’t stop thinking about Slayer (laughs). I haven’t seen them in a while, so I’m excited. There’s The Sword as well. And I’m really stoked with our side shows with Kyuss and Orange Goblin. Those are going to be fun shows and awesome bands to watch. So we’re stoked, man. We’ve never been to Australia; we’re totally looking forward to it.
Q: You’re probably an unknown quantity to the majority of people attending the festival. Have you had much interaction with fans from Australia, or did the offer come out of left field somewhat?
A: We’ve had some contact from fans in Australia, but not a lot. It’s one of the places that we’ve always wanted to go, of course. We were surprised to get the offer, but as soon as we got it, there was no hesitation. We didn’t think about it at all, we just said, ‘fuck yes, of course we want to do this’.
Q: It’ll be a thrill to play a few side shows with a band which would have been a major influence on Red Fang too.
A: For sure, yeah. We played a festival a couple of years ago with Kyuss Lives! and it was a pretty mind-blowing experience. So to be able to play these Sidewave shows in a smaller environment is going to be nuts, man. I think it’s gonna be ape-shit. I imagine they’ll be sold out shows and I imagine that fans are going to go completely bat-shit insane. So I’m very much looking forward to that. We also played a festival with Orange Goblin just a couple of months ago in Holland and ended up partying all night with those guys. So it’s gonna be a nice little reunion for Orange Goblin and us.
Q: (Laughs) Shifting topics then, are you actively working on a new album at the moment?
A: Yes, we are. We’ve been writing like crazy lately. It’s really hard for us to write on the road and we’ve been on the road so much over the past year (laughs) that it was hard to get too much done. So our focus now other than the Soundwave tour is just to write, write, write and then we’ll be in the studio in April. If it all goes according to plan, hopefully we’ll have a new record out by early fall.
Q: How do you see the new material shaping up compared to your first two records?
A: We’ve got so many ideas right now that we’re working on. It’s kinda all over the map, which is the same as the last album. We tried to write and record as many songs as possible and then kinda whittle it down to what we think are the best ten, 11 or 12 songs from 17 or 20 to make an album. So we still have lots of different kinds of songs. We have short, fast numbers; we got longer, slower numbers and hopefully we can pick the best ones and make a decent album out of it. We like so many different styles of music and we like to play so many different styles of music. It all sounds like us playing it, it all sounds like Red Fang. But we can’t put out an album of just 12 three-minute long, fast, punk songs. But we definitely want to have some of those on there.
Q: Do many newer influences tend to find their way into your music these days, or is it usually the same sources of inspiration you had when you formed the band?
A: Well, mainly I think our musical influences are pretty much the same; ones that we had when we were teenagers. But I’m definitely inspired by new bands all the time. Most of the time, most of the new bands that I’m inspired by are kinda like playing an older style of rock that inspired me when I was a teenager too. Like Graveyard, you know? Graveyard is amazing, but it’s not like they’re doing anything new. They’re just doing it different, doing that whole Zeppelin-y, Sabbath-y thing, which I love. I think bands like Big Business, that’s a band who takes the heavy side of stuff and really puts a new spin on it. They are probably my main newest inspiration. They’re a fantastic band; people should check ‘em out.
Q: Do you struggle to keep up with the sheer amount of new music that’s being released on a regular basis?
A: Yeah, it’s tough for me because I get pretty lazy about checking stuff out. When we’re on the road all the time, basically the only stuff that I check out is bands that we end up playing with, or those bands that we end up playing and hanging out with, they’ll turn me on to something. But because I’m not home very often I don’t get to go, I rarely get to go check out shows in my home town. It’s usually just the shows or the festivals that we’re playing. Often I’ll think something is brand new, and it’s three years old. That’s what’s good about festivals; when you play a festival, you can check out ten different bands. Whereas when you’re on tour with the same bands every night, you see them every night and you hang out and party all the time, but you’re not exposed to anything new. So I’m excited about this festival. Cancer Bats are playing this thing, right?
Q: They are indeed.
A: Yeah, I have not seen them yet and I hear great things, so I’m excited about that. Like I said if you’re touring all the time it’s kinda tough to keep up on what’s happening. You could do it, but you get stuck in tour mode and not really, not a lot of times wandering the streets of different towns going to check out record stores and trying to figure out what’s going on. So a lot of the times I don’t find out about stuff until way later.
Q: It seems like you’ve very much grown accustomed to the touring lifestyle, though.
A: Oh yeah, I’ve definitely become accustomed to it (laughs). You love it and hate it. You love it of course, but it’s like, after you’ve been on the road a while you miss home. But then when you’ve been home for a while you miss touring. I think last year I think we did 144 shows, the year before that we did like 138. So I don’t know how many we’ll do this year, but I’m sure a lot. It’s nice to be home, but I get antsy, you know? I don’t know what to do with myself when I’m home, other than play music and waste money at the bars. So it’s nice to be on the road, because a lot of the times the bars are free (laughs).
Q: (Laughs) Any famous last words?
A: Shit, I don’t know. Tell all you Australian folks out there to keep it tight and loose, and if you see us walking around at the Soundwave Festival, feel free to stop us, put a beer in our hands and we’ll tear it up.
Red Fang play the sold out Soundwave Festival in February/March.
You can also catch them with Kyuss Lives and Orange Goblin on the following dates-