In all they do, the members of the heavy metal band Red Fang exhibit passion, musicality and a sense of humor to boot. Their music video for Wires has a sort of Myth Busters vibe to it, minus the hard science; and their performance on David Letterman in 2014 was electrifying, pardon the pun. When they aren't making glasses of PBR vibrate off a table, here's what they're reading.
John Sherman, drums:
Red Fang tours about 6 months out of the year, so there is a TON of time spent riding on planes, trains, and automobiles with not much to do other than read. Even with smart phones and laptops, I’m happy to say we are a band that still enjoys the written word. We all have varying tastes, but I’ve really been getting into Sci-Fi and Fantasy books over the past few years. Here are two of my favorites from the last tour.
Robert A. Heinlein - Stranger in a Strange Land. This book really blew me away. It’s very different from the typical “Man from Mars” story. Heinlein writes this Sci-Fi novel kind of like a hardboiled detective novel, reminding me of Raymond Chandler but funnier. Even though this book is about a man from Mars, it’s also about abuse of power, corrupt government, sexy ladies and pretty much everything else that’s awesome to read about. Super good, quick, fun, intelligent read.
Ben Johnson – A Shadow Cast in Dust. This one really grabbed me because it’s a fantasy in a modern day setting, and I can totally relate to the main character – a bartender in a band. This dude is having a rough go of it and things quickly get worse. And WEIRD! All of the sudden he is thrust into a world he didn’t know existed, but was right in front of him – of ALL of us – the whole time. The webs of the universe can be controlled, and not all who know how to control them are rad dudes, ya know? This story has many characters and their stories all weave together and keep building and building – it’s pretty epic. The action is intense, the plot gets thick as molasses, and the emotion is real. And it’s only the first in a series! I can’t wait for the second installment. Get this book!
Bryan Giles, guitar and vocals:
One of my favorite books in recent memory was Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist, a Swedish author. I saw the original film adaptation many times and really enjoyed it so I thought I'd read the book. The film is compelling, but the book is so much more so.
The story focuses on Oskar, a 12 year old who is bullied mercilessly at school, and his new friend Eli that just moved in next door to him. It is revealed that Eli is a vampire early on as the pedophile care giver goes on an evening excursion to collect human blood.
Incredibly gruesome and violent, I found that the themes of alienation, anxiety, and isolation were what really kept me engaged. I felt deeply connected with the characters and tied to their fates. At one point later in the book I literally put it down and ran through my house screaming... So good!
Aaron Beam, bass and vocals:
Being on tour, you have a lot of down time, and lots of time to spend trapped in your own head. That is not necessarily the best place for me to be, so its important to have a good escape. My favorite books tend to be ones that are still about the subject of the mind or personal identity, but about someone else's.
Cormac McCarthy - The Road. This is the book that got me back into reading novels after a very long period of reading only nonfiction and short stories. This is one of the most terrifying books I have ever read. I actually jumped a couple times from surprise. To do that with the printed word is, um...beyond words. Apart from the horror story, this book is gorgeous in its simple yet deeply expressive, nearly poetic prose. I saw the book as a positive expression of the sacrifice all fathers make for their sons. And it led me to read Blood Meridian and All the Pretty Horses, which are both incredible, yet much denser novels.
David Foster Wallace - Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. This is a collection of short stories by one of the most innovative yet accessible writers of our generation. "The Depressed Person" captures the nature of depression more directly and accurately than anything else I have read. There is another story whose name escapes me that is simply a roman numeral outline of a story, but by the time you have reached the end of the outline, you have been moved like you would be with a traditional narrative.
Lawrence Wright - Going Clear. Alright, this one is a bit of a departure, but a great tour book. It's about the Church of Scientology's foundations and about its current status. But it is also about religion in general, and the parallels he draws to the early stages of most major religions is disturbing and eye-opening.
Motley Crue - The Dirt. This is possibly the best/worst book to read on tour ever. Sure, it has its moments of shock and crazy debauchery. But the worst part of this book is that it makes you realize that Motley Crue are four actual human beings who experience pain and heartbreak and medical issues.
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