Download 2017: No. 9 - Red Fang - 50 bands in 50 days

By Eric Mackinnon


Aaron Beam can't wait to roll the Red Fang wagon up to Donington Park as he says festivals are sometimes the only place bands get to rekindle old friendship and reunite with seldom-seen pals.

The Oregon metallers will bring their ear-splitting, hair swinging riffage to the Zippo Encore Stage on Sunday, June 11, and this year Beam says in addition to reconnecting with bands Red Fang have shared miles of tarmac with on the road – he is looking forward to seeing Aerosmith for the first time in his life.

“We played Download once before and we kind of played in the middle of the day and I'm not sure anyone knew who we were, but the whole atmosphere and the enthusiasm for music at that festival is very inspiring,” the Red Fang bassist and vocalist said as he chatted to The New Rock Times.

“I'm a bit in awe of the line-up this year, too as there are so many amazing bands!”

He continued: “I love hooking up with old pals at festivals! These days, it seems more and more the case that's the only place I run into some of my old friends. I always look forward to hanging out with and seeing them, and on the day we play I'll definitely be checking out Clutch, Orange Goblin, Slayer, In Flames, Dillinger Escape Plan, and Opeth, all of whom we have toured with.

“But I'm also stoked to see Aerosmith! I have never gotten to see them live.”

Red Fang are marking 12 years together this year. And reflecting on an epic journey Beam says there is nothing he would do differently.

“Honestly, I feel like we've kept our heads throughout the process, and I also don't believe that its possible to do anything any differently than the way you end up doing it,” he said.

Red Fang released a fifth album last year with 'Only Ghosts' earning widespread critical acclaim for a band whose momentum shows no sign of slowing down.

“The way this record came about was such an internal process,” said Beam honestly.

“I had a very weird feeling when we finished it, which was that I kind of didn't care how anyone else felt about it. I was and continue to be totally satisfied with the way I expressed myself and the way the band expressed themselves on this record.

“So I have entirely ignored any sort of criticism or praise from anyone else. People do seem to enjoy the songs from this record when we play them live, which is always rewarding, but the record itself was so personal for me it feels weird to be invested in any way to other people's reaction to it. Does that make sense?”

He continued: “We laboured for a long time over the name, and explored lots of different options using the word ghosts. 'Only Ghosts' stuck I guess because of the flexibility of the term and the wealth of interpretations available. Each of us in the band has a somewhat different interpretation of what it means.”

Amongst the numerous highs on the Red Fang timeline there is one honour which stands especially tall, especially proudly for Beam – being hand picked by Metallica to play their Orion Music Festival.

Beam admitted: “Holy moley that was a wild experience. Getting to meet James Hetfield was a bit overwhelming, to say the least!

“I completely biffed the first three songs of our set! But yes, that was an early indication that we must be doing something right if one of my musical heroes was appreciative of what we were doing musically.”