Q&A: Red Fang on Brian Posehn, LARPing, and Black Sabbath

Let's face it, heavy metal is a genre of music that is inherently funny. No other genre is without camp, sure, but there is something about metal and all of its variants that never faces a shortage of ham. Although one may never see the likes of King Diamond cracking a smile, there are others that acknowledge this notion and choose to take a whimsical, lighthearted approach in their presentations. Portland's Red Fang is one of these bands.

The group's music video for the song "Wires," funded by Relapse Records by way of "Maidoff Bank," is nothing short of hilarious. With scenes featuring cigarettes being lit with petrol bombs, reckless expenditures of the video's budget, a skeezy used-car salesman played by Mastodon's Bill Kelliher, and of course wanton destruction of stacks of household items via battering ram, it is well-established that these guys can crack a joke or two.

There was a scene in particular that caught our eye. The clerk of the

convenience store is played by known metaler and comedian Brian Posehn. County Grind spoke with Red Fang guitarist Bryan Giles from the road as the band makes its way with

the Rockstar Mayhem Festival (more in this week's print edition here). Giles was eager to share an amusing

anecdote about his appearance.

New Times: Speaking of the music video, I noticed that it featured an appearance by Brian Posehn. How did you guys come about getting him to be featured in it?

Bryan Giles: Most of it was luck, but our tour manager and I were in Florida a couple of years ago. We had a late show, and he had an early show two blocks away from where we were playing. So we went over there and snuck our way inside. We watched it, and it was hilarious. I've been a fan of his for a long time, so it was really cool to see his live set. So then afterwards he was taking pictures and shaking hands, so I introduced myself. A part of his bit is about being into heavy metal, so I said, "I'm in a hard rock band if you want to come to our show," and he said, "Oh, sure!" We put him on the list. He'd seen our band before. When we were shooting our video, it was really hard, with time constraints, when everyone could be there. We had a few tours booked, and then Whitey, the director, had some jobs he had to do in L.A., so he was in and out. It just so happened that the one weekend when we could shoot the video, Brian Posehn had three nights booked in Portland. So it worked out that the only time we could do it happened to be when he was there. We did hardcore press. Everyone we knew who knew him said, "Just start sending him emails." He had a record on Relapse, so the Relapse Records guys know him. Our manager reached out to him. Pretty much everyone we knew sent him letters; we sent him messages over Twitter and Facebook, and he was cool enough to do it. He made our video so much better; it was hilarious.

I noticed for the music video for "Prehistoric Dog" featured LARPing. Are any of you guys involved with LARPing at all? Are you guys LARPers yourselves?

No! Uh-uh. I mean, when I was in fifth through seventh grade, I played more D&D than was healthy, but I never dressed up like a wizard or anything.

I've noticed that heavy metal has a pretty deep association with fantasy themes, like demons, wizards, and satanic cultism, things like that. Do you have an opinion on that and why it always seems to resurface time and time again in metal as it progresses?

I think it's a common theme, sure. I think Black Sabbath was one of the first bands to go in that direction, but I get this impression that their lyrics were more positive Christian than satanic, but they were taken as an evil band. I think honestly that it fits the mood of the music. The music's really dark, and that imagery, especially in America and Britain, we're very Christian societies. It's a great way to rebel against the norm. It celebrates what is shunned in popular culture. It makes your mom mad, you know?

Red Fang performs at 2:30 p.m on the Jägermeister stage of the Rockstar Mayhem Festival at Cruzan Ampitheater, 601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $38.50 to $73.25. For more information, click here.

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Ryan Burk