11/18 | Red Fang

Thursday, November 18th

Duck Club Presents

RED FANG

with Starcrawler and WARISH

THE OLYMPIC

$20 adv / $25 door

7pm doors / 8pm show

21+

“I like the idea of the record starting in a way that doesn’t make any sense at all for a
Red Fang record.”

That’s vocalist/bassist Aaron Beam talking about “Take It Back,” the opening
track—or “sintro,” part song, part intro—of Red Fang’s fifth album, Arrows.

“It reminds me of a time before people listened to music digitally—and they listened
to full albums,” drummer John Sherman adds. “There were often cool, spooky
intros—like fuckin’ Dio albums and shit. There are some weird sounds at the
beginning to get you in the mood before it blasts off.”

And blast off it does. After the woozy opening salvo of “Take It Back,” Arrows
launches into a super-rock trifecta of what Red Fang does best—from Melvins-esque
power dirge “Unreal Estate” into the anthemic title track into up-tempo banger “My
Disaster.”

Yeah, it’s been nearly five years since 2016’s Only Ghosts, but your favorite
beer-crushing, zombie-killing, air-guitar-contest-judging metal heroes are back in
action, doing what they do best—AND MORE. “This record feels more like Murder
The Mountains to me than any record we’ve done before or since,” Beam ventures. “It
doesn’t sound like that record, but Murder The Mountains was us doing whatever the
fuck we wanted, and that’s what this is, too.”

“We’re definitely exploring new territory,” says guitarist/vocalist Bryan Giles. “And
I’m very happy about that. I wouldn’t wanna be in this band if we kept doing the
same thing over and over again.”

Arrows was recorded at Halfling Studios in the band’s hometown of Portland, OR,
with longtime collaborator Chris Funk, who produced Murder The Mountains and
2013’s Whales and Leeches. “Chris is a major influencer as far as the weird ambient
stuff in between the songs and the creepy incidental noises within the songs,” Giles
points out. “I think he definitely creates an added layer of atmosphere that we
wouldn’t have otherwise.”

In an effort to compound said atmosphere, Sherman recorded some of his drum
parts at the bottom of a pool. Luckily, it was empty. “It’s actually a kick-ass skate
pool,” the drummer explains. “It was designed by Lance Mountain, if I’ve got my facts
straight. As soon as we decided to record there, I knew I would end up in the pool at
some point.”

“The pool was a big part of the record,” Giles confirms. “The drums sound so
huge—it’s crazy. But I was terrified of the pool because there was no railing. Every
time I walked by, I was afraid of falling into it. So it was a love/hate relationship with
the pool for me.”

The title Arrows was chosen through Red Fang’s patented and labor-intensive
selection process. “Of all the titles that got thrown around, that was the one
everyone hated the least,” Sherman explains. “Which is the case with every record,
pretty much.”

“It’s actually the same way we decided on the band name,” Beam chimes in. “It was
the only one where someone wasn’t like, ‘NO!’”

Arrows has the added bonus of a proper title track, which is new territory for the
dudes. “This is the first time we’ve named an album after a song that’s actually on
the album,” Beam explains. “We have other albums that are named after songs of
ours that are not on those albums. So this time we’re really fucking with you because
we didn’t fuck with you.”

It just so happens that the title track is also the lead single for the album—the
general public’s first taste of fresh Fang. “There’s some songs that are pretty clearly
Red Fang on this album, and others that maybe go a little further outside of what
we’ve normally done,” Beam explains. “‘Prehistoric Dog’ was clearly the song to pick
for the first single from the first record. ‘Wires’ was clearly the song to pick from the
second record. I’m not sure there was a clear frontrunner on this album, which could
be taken to mean that either all of the songs are kind of mediocre at best or there are
quite a few that could qualify as the lead single. So it came down to the ones that the
dudes who are making the videos liked best.”

Which brings us to director Rob McConnaughy, who created the pants-pissing clips
for “Prehistoric Dog,” “Wires” and many other Red Fang hits. “His way of presenting
us really works,” guitarist David Sullivan says. “That first video he did for us for
‘Prehistoric Dog’ gave us a big jumpstart as far as the band getting popular. And we
love working with him.”

Over the years, McConnaughy has helped showcase an aspect of Red Fang that most
metal and hard rock bands shy away from: Humor. “It suits our personalities,” Giles
points out. “I mean, I don’t wanna fight people, you know? If I look like I’m flexing,
they’ll be like, ‘Oh, I can take him.’ But if we’re making a joke, maybe someone will
wanna tell me a joke—or buy me a beer.”

“If you were to have dinner with the band, it would be closer to one of our videos
than, like, us walking in slow-mo through the fog with a goat’s head,” he adds. “I
mean, no one’s gonna believe that shit.”

Similarly, fans might not believe what the song “Arrows” is partially about. “If you’re
confused by some of the lyrics to that song, that makes sense,” Beam explains. “But
it makes reference to meditation. I started meditating six years ago, but I can only do
it when I’m not feeling too anxious. So, when I don’t need it, that’s when I can do it.”

Elsewhere, “Fonzi Scheme” was named after legendary Happy Days cool guy Arthur
Fonzarelli—if only because it’s in the key of his famous catchphrase, “Aaay.” Producer
Chris Funk came up with the idea of bringing in string players from the Portland
Cello Project to class up the track. “I would say laziness drove that decision,” Beam
deadpans. “We didn’t want to come up with any guitar melodies, so we hired
someone else to do it for us.”

Meanwhile, the opening riff of closer “Funeral Coach” was written 12 years ago. But
it took until recently for the song to blossom into its full double-entendre glory. “I
was driving around and I saw a hearse that said ‘funeral coach services’ on the back,”
Beam explains. “So the first thing that popped into my head was a dude with a
headset and a clipboard going, ‘Alright, dudes—more tears! Five minutes in is when
the tears are critical, or no one’s gonna believe that anyone cares that this person
died.’”

In a nod to tradition, Arrows will be available in formats that include all the drums,
bass, guitars and vocals. But it could’ve gone another way. “Our original idea was to
release the album with no vocals or guitar solos,” Beam explains. “If you want the
guitar solos, it’s an extra five bucks. If you want the vocals, it’s an extra ten bucks. So
basically people should feel lucky that we didn’t do that. You get to buy the whole
thing all together.”

Red Fang think of it as a generous display of gratitude toward their fans. “Yeah,” says
Sherman, “Thank you for buying our album, you lucky bastards.”

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