On the occasion of Duluth band Trampled by Turtles making a second appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman — tonight at 10:35 p.m. on KDLH-TV channel 3.1 — I looked back at notes from an interview with Banjo Dave Carroll from spring 2013. He told stories about being on the Letterman and Craig Ferguson shows that didn’t make it into the story I was working on at the time.
Here is Carroll sharing an anecdote about taking a break outside the Ed Sullivan Theater before the Letterman gig:
They have these barriers on the sidewalks that are kind of gated off for photographers to hang out and allow them to get a picture of celebrities — whoever’s coming in. … It happened to be Amy Phoeler. We were hanging out there, and there were all these photographers. Her black town car or whatever pulls up, the photographer looks at us and says, ‘hey are you guys in the band?’ We kind of looked at each other and said ‘yeah, yeah we’re in the band.’ And they just said, ‘hey, get out of the way!'” Amy Poehler was coming across the street and they didn’t want us to be in the background with her.
Carroll said the appearance on Letterman was a great opportunity for the band, and a “whirlwind experience” that was also a bit nerve wracking when compared to the more laid back experience of playing the Ferguson show.
New York and L.A. both have their stereotypes. We weren’t able to go into Manhattan with the bus. They had to come pick us up in New Jersey in these vans. We weren’t allowed to touch any of our gear once we got into there because they have these unions. We did the sound check and then they said, ‘all right, you gotta get out of here and come back later on.’
Then they said, ‘all right you guys, come out and get set up’ — during the commercial break and whatnot. David Letterman is talking to his producer; Paul Shaffer and the band are playing. Something was going on with (mandolin player Erik Berry’s) rig and they were having a problem with it. The sound engineer was kind of losing his temper at Erik’s pedals, apparently one of his things had broken. He was visibly losing his temper in front of us and it was making us extremely nervous. We didn’t know what was going on. Something is wrong, and we’re about to play our first deal on national television. This guy was freaking out. Finally they figured it out, fixed it, and they were like ‘go!’ We played it, and I feel like it was four seconds later we were done. And then we just immediately left.
In contrast to that, when we did the Craig Ferguson show in L.A. we pulled up in the bus and … they gave us a tour of the CBS studio, they showed us the big wheel where The Price is Right is filmed. … Then they showed us the regular smoking section and the Snoop Dogg smoking section.
They film the show in front of the audience, but they film the band first. They told us, ‘if you want to do it as many times as you want to do it, feel free. Feel free to stop and return.’ They just made it so incredibly relaxing and comfortable.
Both shows were really fun and great experiences, but it was a lot more laid back when we did the L.A. one.
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