Fred Armisen to Front New 'Late Night With Seth Meyers' Band: Does He Have the Music Cred for the Gig?
With The Roots leaving "Late Night" to follow Jimmy Fallon to "The Tonight Show," new host Seth Meyers had to find himself a new band. But he didn't turn to an established act or musician — instead, he hired his fellow former "Saturday Night Live" alum Fred Armisen.
Meyers revealed the news by tweeting a photo of Armisen and the 8G band:
The new host followed that up with a confirmation.
Fred will curate and lead the band, and continue to run it even when hes off shooting Portlandia. #8GBand— Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers) February 10, 2014
According to Splitsider, the other band members are: Seth Jabour (Les Savy Fav) on guitar, Kimberly Thompson (session drummer) on drums, Eli Janney (Girls Against Boys) on keyboards, and Syd Butler (Les Savy Fav) on bass.
And while Armisen may seem like an out-of-left-field choice, he has the music credentials (and certainly the comedy ones) for the gig. He's a longtime percussionist and guitarist who played drums for rock band Trenchmouth in the late '80s and for the Blue Man Group in the mid-'90s.
In 1998, he made a 20-minute short, "Fred Armisen's Guide to Music and South by Southwest," in which he gently poked fun at festival goers by playing various characters.
With the short's modest success, Armisen switched his focus to acting. "The timing was just right. I think at the time, too, I was just highly not-succeeding at music. Trenchmouth… we did OK," he told A.V. Club. "But there were a lot of other bands that were doing way better than us, and I wanted it. I wanted to be successful. So at the time, I hate to paint it this way, but I was a little frustrated. Getting that camera was a little bit of an act of anger."
Soon, Armisen began making music-themed comedy videos for HBO Zone. That got him noticed by bigger names in the comedy community, including Conan O'Brien and Bob Odenkirk. In 2002, he joined the cast of "SNL."
Armisen has woven in his passion for music in his acting work, performing with "Portlandia" co-creator and star Carrie Brownstein (herself a musician from Sleater-Kinney) both on the show and on tour.
And on "SNL," Armisen became well-known for his fake bands. He's even releasing a collection of 7-inch singles of their parody songs. Check out some of his best fake band sketches below:
"The History of Punk"
"The Blue Jean Committee"
The Bjelland Brothers