With the inspired choice of Fred Armisen as the late night band leader for Seth Meyers’ late night show and the release of the latest from Late Night masters The Roots, we decided to put together a dream list of artists who would rival Armisen and The Roots to dominate late night bumper music, sketch assistance, and other late night bandy things. We factored in humor, charisma of frontman, musical range, suitability of the artists sound live, and other overall whathaveyou in the making of this list. Enjoy, and please suggest your nominations.
10. Justin Timberlake
Let’s face it, if there wasn’t some restraint needed for being the house band of a late night show, JT may have taken the number one spot. Timberlake is a born entertainer, and may be more suited to host a late night show or variety show, rather than be the supporting act.
9. Janelle Monae
Janelle Monae is kind of a do-it-all show woman. She’s got style and an ample amount of quirkiness, but also the R&B chops to be Arsenio Hall’s soul sidekick any day of the week.
Phish can write songs both delicate and weird as hell. They also have obscene range and a large catalog of material they have covered, making them a great choice for any late night host into parodies.
7. Robert Randolph & the Family Band
This is more of a conventional choice for late night band, but nonetheless very tempting. Randolph can straight shred on his steel guitar, but his more laid back jams would make for great intros and outros. Maybe a Craig Kilborn pairing for Randolph since they could endlessly banter on the NBA.
6. Adrian Young & the Delfonics
Adrian Younge is a showman as Todd and I evidenced when he opened for Ghostface and then played for the entirety of Ghostface’s set. There is a debonair style to Adrian not seen on late night anymore. Johnny Carson would have loved to have Adrian on his right.
5. My Morning Jacket
MMJ would be really cool for a looser free-wheeling late night show. Just allow Jim James to do his thing and I’m sure everything would work itself out. I’d nominate Craig Ferguson’s wacky schtick as the ideal pairing here, even though I expect to catch some flack.
Cake is a true one-of-a-kind American band. A band that makes compelling music that is often painfully funny at the same time. I would think Cake would be an ideal fit to cover up some of the awkwardness of a late night host that is new to hosting.
3. Jack White
Jack White is a masterful musician, but also a solid spooky sidekick as evidenced by his week on The Colbert Report a couple years ago. He could also bring on his many different bands to help him out, depending on who needed the work at the time (I’m looking at you Meg White). Colbert is the obvious pairing.
2. Flaming Lips
If Pee Wee’s Playhouse is ever reincarnated as a late night talk show, I’d like The Flaming Lips to be the featured band. Absurdity is the name of the game with both, and Wayne Coyne and co. could certainly handle all the angles.
1. Flight of the Conchords
Flight of the Conchords would be perfect because their humor is so understated. Sure, their songs are ridiculous, but when called upon to banter with the host, there may be nothing better. Conan would be my ideal fit here.
Todd – Hot Chip
I don’t think this works because of the nature of Hot Chip’s music, but if it did work it could be transcendent.
Wes – Wilco
Wilco is the perfect fit for any daytime talk show, but I think a Dr. Phil pairing would be ideal. I would say Maury Povich, but Wilco just wouldn’t be able to keep up.
Austin – Dwight Yoakam
I like the idea of a weird country twangster awkwardly making small talk with David Letterman on a regular basis, so Dwight Yoakam is my pick.