It was announced this week that Stephen Colbert, host of “The Colbert Report” will be taking over for David Letterman upon his retirement from “The Late Show” in 2015. The political funny man has carved himself a sarcastic, witty, often boundary-pushing persona with a style of humor to boot, but he’s also had a knack for hitting it off with the music types. Even just recently on “The Colbert Report,” Colbert has featured performances from Lake Street Dive, The National, and more.
It’s a bit soon to be speculating, but also quite fun to start thinking about who might be leading Colbert’s “Late Show” band. With Fallon’s recruitment of a touring band to soundtrack his show, and Seth Meyers’ pick of a comedian/musician to lead his band, it seems like the possibilities are pretty open. Here are some of our early picks that might be up for grabs.
You may love him, you may not so much anymore, but the bearded Nirvana/Foo Fighters rock personality has certainly built up a signature celebrity persona for himself over the course of the past few years. Grohl would be a good pick for many reasons: he’s a great musician, he loves the spotlight (the man has been at every friggin’ awards show imaginable lately), and he isn’t afraid to get political much like Colbert himself.
Kyle Gass and Jack Black, or maybe just Kyle Gass
The duo that makes up Tenacious D would likely refer to this job as a “cream dream.” It may be a stretch to think that Jack Black would join in this fun, as he has a pretty successful film career, and could easily take the spotlight off Colbert, but the two could certainly make some magic happen on both the music and comedy front. Even if KG does “Soloman 5000” without Jables, it could make sense, as Gass looks a bit like Andy Richter, who has been a hit on Conan’s show.
Lets file this one under “God, I hope not.” It could be a possibility though. Just because Letterman is calling it quits doesn’t mean that his shiny-headed sunglass’d bandleader is ready to move into a retirement home. Some are enormous fans of Shaffer, but his lounge singer brand of piano rock probably wouldn’t equate with the next generation of “Late Show” watchers.
The former Sleater-Kinney and Wild Flag guitarist has proved her on-screen chops as Fred Armisen’s counterpart on the very funny “Portlandia.” The fact that Armisen has joined on as band leader for Seth Meyers’ show could either mean that this scenario is completely out of the question or that it could make for a funny and friendly competition between the two shows. Brownstein’s general vibe seems to align well with Colbert’s too- pretty hipster, definitely sarcastic, but at the same time, quite grounded.
The former LCD Soundsystem frontman has accrued an enormous cult following over the years, culminating in a final show for his band that sold out almost instantly and was made into a documentary. Murphy’s allegiance to electronic forms would provide a very forward-thinking perspective to late night music, which would help feed into the youthful audience that Colbert will be trying to win over from the Fallon and Meyers camps. Murphy could find work anywhere at this point, but with no more LCD Soundsystem, this gig would provide some steady work.
Annie Clark, AKA St. Vincent, has been featured on Colbert’s show multiple times already and has more than proven her musical prowess on stage, on records, and with collaborations like her album with David Byrne. She may not be a laughing riot, but she has progressively shown more personality throughout her career, having been on “Portlandia” and other shows.
The Vampire Weekend frontman has a pretty steady day job, but that didn’t stop The Roots from taking on the task of becoming a late night band. What makes Koenig a good choice is that he’s a bit of an everything man. He once worked as an 8th grade teacher, he worked with bands like The Dirty Projectors, The Walkmen, and Major Lazer among others, and now has become one of the more recognizable figures in both indie rock and the New York arts and music scene. Koenig’s bubbly personality and indie cred could be a good match for Colbert.