Better Know a Guest: August 13 — 16, 2012

Hey, Hubsters

The Colbert Report Guest Line UpROCK ON! It’s time for StePhest Colbchella 2012, Rocktaugustfest! Are you ready to dance?

This is going to be an awesome week, and one that I hope will cement Stephen’s place as a major presenter of music on TV. (Suck it, Fallon—well, actually, he’s already hosted fun. and Santigold. Just not in the same week.) Yes, the upcoming guests all represent various forms of rock, pop, emo, hip-hop, and more. But as we all know, throughout the year a wide range of singers, songwriters, and musicians visit the show, from Stephen Sondheim and Audra McDonald (singing from Porgy and Bess) to last week’s very special visit from legendary folkie Pete Seeger. Even within the “rock” label, the four bands you’re about to see in the next few days each have very different sounds, so I hope that each and every Hubster will find something to love. Or better yet, that you’ll love it all.

I’m also hoping that with all the pre-taping, Stephen has left a little time to handle current events. I know he’s cutting back to the studio, so I expect there will be an opportunity to have a brief monologue on what’s happening in the political world. With Mitt Romney’s latest outrage—the VP pick of Paul Ryan—still fresh in the headlines, it would be sad if Stephen had no chance to take it on. Of course, there’s also the Mittster’s mistake of announcing Ryan as the next President of the United States. (Only Obama happened to do that too, four years ago. I guess you hear it so much in introductions that it springs to the lips.)

Now, let’s get the party started…. and do note that the bands’ official websites all have links to buy their albums, and in some cases I have also included links to iTunes or other pages for purchase. So think about giving your favorites the Colbert bump!


Monday, August 13th: fun. [Yes, that is how it’s spelled: lower-case f and with a period at the end.)

fun.Aptly, it all begins with fun.. The alt-rock group consists of Nate Ruess (previously in The Format), Jack Antonoff (Steel Train), and Andrew Dost (Anathallo), and they’re celebrating their new release, Some Nights. It’s the second CD for the band, after Aim and Ignite. The song “We Are Young”—which features Janelle Monáe on the recording (but not on the StePhest performance) has already climbed to the top of the Billboard charts, sold more than 1.2 million digital downloads, and gone platinum; its follow-up, the album’s title tune, also did extremely well. fun.’s music is catchy and pop-y and accessible, and has even been used in ads and on the soundtracks of TV shows like Gossip Girl and Glee—which I hope will lead to some Colbertian teasing in the interview as we all know how much he enjoys musicians who sell their commercial rights.

Already, fun. has opened shows for Paramore and sold old NYC’s vast Terminal 5 for two nights. And, because they’re avid to support LGBTQ rights, fun. has also appeared at a benefit for the Trevor Project, which helps gay youth in crisis. (You can read more about that below, by following the link to the TIME article.)

Visit the group’s website, where you can download music at a good, low price, listen to songs, find out about their tour, buy band t-shirts, and lots more.

They appeared on NPR.

Like them on Facebook.

Follow them on Twitter.

Go to YouTube to watch some videos of the band performing their new songs.  Or use this link to see “We Are Young.”

In March of this year, the New York Times wrote this profile of fun..

TIME did an article on the group.

Here’s a fansite for the band.


Tuesday, August 14th: Grizzly Bear

BEARS! That’s Grizzly Bear, the Brooklyn-based, NYU-educated indie-rock band that came to fame in 2004 with their recording Horn of Plenty. The group consists of Ed Droste, the lead singer who formed the group, and whose grandfather was once head of Harvard’s music department; drummer Christopher Bear (no, his last name had nothing to do with the band’s moniker); producer and bass player Chris Taylor; and guitarist and singer Daniel Rossen. They’ve got a new album called Shields coming out in September, their first recording in three years. To mark the occasion, they’re kicking off a tour at New York’s famed Radio City Music Hall on September 16th. So their appearance in Colbchella offers a tantalizing taste of things to come.

The Grizzlies have been praised by no less than Jay-Z, who went to hear their concert three years ago (the last time they toured, in fact). They also opened for a number of high-profile musicians, including several who have also visited Stephen on the Report or appeared on his specials, such as Paul Simon, Feist, and Radiohead.


Visit their website.

Follow them on Twitter. Or follow three of the band members individually: Edward Droste, Christopher Bear, and Chris Taylor.

Like them on Facebook.

Take a look at their videos on YouTube.

Read this really good article New York Magazine wrote about them a few years ago. It has lots of great info about the band’s background.

Listen to “Yet Again,” from their new album.

Go to this fansite for all things Grizzly.

NPR had them on. (The new album wasn’t titled at this point.)

Read their profile on

Visit itunes to check out and download all their previous recordings.


Wednesday, August 15th: Santigold

SantigoldShe’s my fave of the list, I must admit, with her catchy, dancey music and her intricately choreographed performances. Like the other guests, Santigold has a recent album out, Master of My Make-Believe, released this past April. Born Santi White, she got her start with a punk band called Stiffed, from her native Philadelphia, and then went solo. Her first, eponymously titled album (spelled Santogold back then until a lawsuit necessitated a change) came out in 2008; at the time she toured with such top names as Bjork, Coldplay, and MIA, which helped raise her profile. Although it’s been awhile since we had new material from her, through the years she has regularly collaborated with and written songs for countless artists in diverse genres. Her own music draws from a wide variety of styles, including hip-hop, reggae, electronica, dub, and new wave.

The daughter of a lawyer and a psychiatrist, Santigold earned her BA in music and African-American studies at Wesleyan. Prior to focusing on her own performing career, she worked behind the scenes as a music producer for other artists; fortunately, she finally decided to step forward herself. Santigold is now a Brooklynite, along with many of this week’s guest musicians, which only shows that the borough I was born in is REALLY cool.

And… I am listening to her now!


Visit her website.

Like her on Facebook.

Follow her on Twitter.

Here’s her YouTube channel.

She’s about to appear at Moogfest, in North Carolina.

Read a review of one of her concerts.

Here she is, at the real Coachella (as opposed to Colbchella).

Listen to Santigold radio.

She was on with Jimmy Fallon.

Santigold also was on NPR, talking about a song that influenced her: “Blown Away,” by the late, great singer/songwriter/activist/Afrobeatist, Fela Kuti. She also discussed her new recording in a fantastic interview on the network.

The New York Times wrote about Master of My Make-Believe.


Thursday, August 16th: Flaming Lips

Flaming LipsAlt-rock from the heart of the West: Oklahoma. Of the groups appearing on this year’s StePhest Colbchella, the Flaming Lips are definitely the oldest and most established—but no less innovative for all that. To me, the band says the sixties, even if it really began in 1983, and that’s because of its psychedelic, hallucinatory spirit and spacey sounds. (In their biography the writer nicely refers to them as “acid bubblegum.”) At one point, while watching the performance live, Jim Morrison came to mind, although musically the Flaming Lips have nothing in common with The Doors. They’re totally indie after all these years, and their current project—announced back in 2011—is to release a song a month, filming the entire process and collaborating with other musicians such as Ke$ha and Bon Iver. Their most recent recording was The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends. Along with every other group in Colbchella, they’re on tour right now, although they have relatively few dates lined up, which makes this appearance very special.

Created by Wayne Coyne, and originally featuring his brother Mark on vocals and bassist Michael Ivins, the group has gone through many personnel changes through the years. The current lineup features Wayne on vocals, guitar, keyboards, and theremin; Ivins remains on bass and backing vocals; Steven Drozd plays a wide range of instruments; Kliph Scurlocks takes care of drums; and Derek Brown plays guitar, keyboards, and percussison. Their top albums include: Transmissions from the Satellite Heart, Zaireeka, and The Soft Bulletin, and the group has won Grammys® for Best Rock Instrumental Performance and for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. They’ve toured with, and backed up, Beck. And, after a public vote, their tune “Do You Realize?” has become Oklahoma’s official song!

Visit the band’s website.

Like them on Facebook.

Follow them on Twitter.

Read this article on the group in the Guardian.

The band set a record for most shows played in 24 hours, breaking the one formerly held by Jay-Z.

A video for the group’s song with Erykah Badu angered Badu; Coyne apologized and pulled it.

Watch a video for the song “Race for the Prize.”

A film was made about lead singer and band founder Wayne Coyne called Fearless Freaks. Watch it here.


And now, let’s check in with our good friend, Jon Stewart!


Monday, 8/13: Robert Pattinson

Sparkling vampire alert! The Twilight heartthrob is back for a second visit. Pattinson has a new film to promote, Cosmopolis, but of course he’s at the center of  gossip right now. Will Jon raise the question of Kristin Stewart’s cheating? I expect not.

Read his Vanity Fair interview.

Watch Pattinson on his last visit to The Daily Show, in March 2010.


Tuesday, 8/14: Misty May-Treanor

The elite athlete and her partner Kerri Walsh just emerged victorious with yet another gold in beach volleyball at the London Olympics. Congrats to a winning team! She’ll be in Rio 2016 competing with someone new, and I hope it works well for her. Forget the bikini; she’s an amazing player.

Visit her website.

Follow her on Twitter.

Like her on Facebook.


Wednesday 8/15: Brian Williams

You all know who he is, right? NBC newsman, Jon’s high school friend, and a most frequent TDS guest.

Visit the NBC Nightly News website or the one for Rock Center.

Watch his most recent TDS appearance, in February 2011. He’s on once or twice every year, and if you wish, you can see the other clips on Jon’s guest page.

Follow him on Twitter.


Thursday, 8/16: Rob Corddry

The prodigal son returns! Former TDS correspondent and creator of the Web series Children’s Hospital is back to visit his old workplace!

Follow him on Twitter.

He’s got a page on Funny or Die.


Have a great musical week, everyone!
Which band is your favorite? Let me know.

Cheers, and celebrate the fun.

  • CN Helper

    I love the musical week ahead already! I like fun., and I agree, “We are Young,” is catchy, if not factually true for everyone. Santigold looks like an interesting guest, to be honest, I am not familiar with her work, but that will change shortly. I am looking forward to the bubble-themed end to the Flaming Lips as well, if only to see Stephen loll around.

    It doesn’t help that while we have Rocktaugustfest we have this breaking news for the Report with the need to cover the new Veep pick of Paul Ryan.

    It really seems like the election officially started on Saturday with Ryan joining the ticket. I am just grateful that this election cycle is less contentious than the seemingly endless 2008 cycle. Back then I was glued to every day, counting the purple states, panicking at the thought that Sarah Palin might be moving to Washington D.C. This year, though having many a ridiculous moment, seems less fraught with silly-season silliness, but who knows? We got a ways to go.

    On a less intellectual note, Robert Pattinson! I don’t know why he chose to break the ice with J-Stew, though. Why not do another “Robert is Bothered” with Jimmy Fallon? That segment always cracks me up. And Rob Corddry! I miss him on TDS. I love when the old correspondents come back. They all seem to love Jon, love coming back to the old digs.

  • karenatasha

    I am looking forward to this week so much, too–being there live isn’t killing the fun (no pun intended!) for me, because we never got to hear the interviews, which were taped before. And since studio tickets have been available to this week’s shows, Stephen is clearly going to be there and taking on the day’s news. I was worried about that.

    I think this election is going to get even nastier than four years ago, god help us.

    Re Pattinson: from the earlier interview with Jon, I think they had a nice rapport!

    Enjoy the shows…