Red Fang: Nothing but good times

by Tommy Calderon

It’s been a year of world tours and visiting new places for Portland, Oregon’s heavy metal band, Red Fang. And, to cap it off,  the band will perform in Bellingham on Dec. 30, and then celebrate their 10th anniversary on Dec. 31.

After exchanging an interview via email with bassist and vocalist Aaron Beam, he took time to reflect on the past year and what’s to come. The biggest highlight for Beam was playing the famous Hellfest for the second time, and performing for the largest crowd the band has seen.

“It was in a tent and the tent was overflowing with people. This year we played very early on the main stage and I thought it was a cool feather in the hat kind of thing to play mainstage, but that nobody was going to be there watching us,” he said. “It was spectacular and overwhelming and uplifting and invigorating.”

Beam has re-learned through the success of the band to keep fun as a top priority for anything band related.

It’s easy for Beam to get caught in the business side of being in a band when financial success has been made because of pressure from outside parties, and it isn’t something that is always in the band’s control, he said.

“The only thing you have any kind of control over is how much fun the shows will be based on where you have them (at The Shakedown in Bellingham with old friend Black Breath, for example), and how often,” he said. “It’s all about balance, ultimately.”

The band continues to play in Bellingham because it’s fun for the band and they love the town, Beam said. The gluten-free vegan seed bars from the Community Food Co-op are also Beam’s “jam,” he said.

Red Fang also played their first show outside Portland in Bellingham, at former venue Chiribin’s with Black Breath, Beam said.

Along with the years of fun, they’ve also brought changes. Beam now more than ever has to take care of his body to maintain the level of performance ability he wants to be at, he said. Despite what their music videos might imply Beam said that he can no longer drink beer and that he rarely ever drinks before a show anymore. He did add, however, that his beer of choice is tequila.

When Red Fang takes a break from their busy schedule of hitting the road with bands such as Bellingham’s Wild Throne, spending time with loved ones is one of Beam’s favorite things to do, he said.

“Being away as much as we are, that time is invaluable,” he said.

As the year draws to a close, the band already has big plans for 2016, including more touring, a new album, and a music video on the horizon, Beam said.

“We have a million bajillion lonely riffs stored up and recorded in a dropbox folder so we all kind of go through and listen and pick and choose things to work on in practice and we just try to bash through one idea until we have what feels like a real arrangement,” he said.

Through the years of writing music, Beam has found keeping the process as simple as possible is very important, he said.

“We can really easily go down the short attention span math rock rabbit hole and add more and more parts when we feel nervous,” he said. “So just take a deep breath, relax, and settle into the jams, bro!”

LIVE SHOW: Red Fang plays The Shakedown on Dec. 30 with Black Breath. For more about the band, follow their Facebook page or visit their website at redfang.net.

Published in the December 2015 issue of What’s Up! Magazine