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Celebrity Metalheads, Interviews

Comedian Fred Armisen Tells Us His Favorite Metal Bands, What Working With DANZIG Was Like

Posted by on January 9, 2019 at 4:25 pm

Photo: Late Night With Seth Meyers (Universal Television / Broadway Video)

Fred Armisen is a comedian, actor and musician. Besides his many roles on shows like Saturday Night Live, Portlandia, Big Mouth, Armisen is also a musician. He is the band leader for Late Night with Seth Meyers on NBC, and released a Netflix special with jokes specifically for drummers, appropriately titled Standup For Drummers.

Fred also enjoys himself the occasional heavy metal band. We recently wrote about how a chance encounter with the California death metal band Abysmal Dawn led to Fred accepting their invitation to see them at a death metal festival. We already got the band's perspective on the situation. Now it's time to get Fred's.

Here's how Fred described seeing Abysmal Dawn at the Santiago death metal festival, Inferno Fest:

They were everything I was hoping they'd be. Actually, better than that. I had this vantage point to the side of the stage where I could see what the drummer was doing, and oh my god. I don't understand how someone can play that fast. Not just fast, but still intricate.

The singer's voice was amazing, my favorite kind of low rumble. They played songs in quick succession, one after the other. I loved watching the crowd. They were so into it. Guitar and bass, of course, also great. I'm going to sound like I'm trying to write a concert review, so I'll stop. They were great and I am so glad I met them at the airport.

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Fred offered his version of the events of how he ran into the band and ended up at the show:

I was checking in at LAX to fly to Santiago, Chile, going there to work. Next to me, there was this huge flight case, and it looked like it was for music equipment. I think I really like flight cases. They represent travel for music, which means something is working out. I turned to see who's it was and there was Abysmal Dawn. I didn't know their name in that moment. They were friendly and we just started talking. They invited me to their show, and it was for this metal festival at a club in Santiago. When they sent me info for what the festival was, the graphics for the ad were exactly everything I like about that scene. I was like, a black metal festival in Santiago? There is no way I am going to miss this. I checked my schedule and I was done in time to make it over there. I got on a subway (metro) and went down to see them. They were really great and I was happy I went. I met the promoter, too. Everyone was so kind.

I asked Fred what draws him to heavy metal:

I am mostly into punk BUT we all know that punk and metal are friendly cousins. I am mostly partial to death metal or black metal, especially recently. I've been buying albums for their truly scary artwork. That crazy font where you can't even see what the name is. I like that guttural, low vocal style. I've been wanting to go to that annual festival in Baltimore, but haven't had a chance. Someday. Scary music should be actually scary, right? I love it.

Fred's favorite metal bands include Immortal, Liturgy, Xasthur, Myrkur, Sumac and Deafheaven. When I asked who his favorite drummers were, he gives praise to Sumac's Nick Yacyshyn, all the drummers that played in Immortal and Liturgy's Greg Foxx.

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Finally, I asked Fred what it was like to have Danzig cameo on his sketch show, Portlandia:

He is one of my favorite people in the world. He did such a great job on Portlandia and was really funny. He even added an accent to his character to make it even more authentic. He's just funny and cool and I hope I get to work with him again. I saw a couple of those Misfits reunion shows. Maybe some of the best shows I've ever seen. The graphics were incredible and I just had a soft spot in my heart for seeing those guys together.

Keep a look out for Fred's upcoming HBO show, and go watch his Netflix special, Standup For Drummers.

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