“This is awesome. This is the perfect way to start the day,” exclaimed the lead singer of Fun, Nate Ruess. As host Kat Corbett noted, Fun’s schedule is “insane” and they’ve been “selling out shows everywhere,” but they took the time out to have a little “fun” at the Red Bull Sound Space at KROQ.
The band–often stylized as fun. for the sake of search-ability–has had a lot of “fun” ever since they exploded onto the music scene with their infamous freewheeling single dedicated to the drunken blessings of youth, “We Are Young.”
With the three core members–Ruess, guitarist Jack Antonoff, and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Dost–coming from different bands, fun. has probably succumbed to many a moment where they’ve needed to be carried home.
As their sophomore album is entitled, Some Nights are just like that. During their pre-show interview, fun. talked about a night they fell asleep at a concert, a night that someone barfed, and a night that they met a girl from the future.
Along with their touring band, bass guitarist Nate Harold, vocalist and keyboardist Emily Moore, and drummer Will Noon, fun. played an infectious five-song set, starting with their “favorite song to play,” “Some Nights,” “Walking The Dog,” “Carry On,” “At Least,” and their international hit, “We Are Young,” which features the very futuristic pop-jazz star, Janelle Monae.
A fan in the audience asked the band about working with Monae on their smash-hit song that reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and the first rock/alternative song to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart since Coldplay‘s “Viva La Vida” in 2008.
“We didn’t get to hang out with Janelle prior to her recording it,” said Ruess. “Andrew was always a super fan. He’d always play it in the van…Our producer (Jeff Bhasker) ran into Janelle and he played her that song and she freaked out about it and said that she would record it.”
“We like to think that she had it recorded on the moon or in the future,” joked Ruess,”because it’s Janelle Monae and she would have such wonderful future hindsight to be like, ‘This song’s going to be a hit.’”
“Eventually we went on tour with her and we got to meet her and she’s as in the future as you would possibly think.”
“She loves art and that was always such an awesome thing to have her walk backstage before a show and talk to us and talk about how happy she was that we were making something we believed in and how much she believes in art and everything like that.”
Noted for their almost-theatric musical artistry onstage (Ruess is a big fan of Queen), the band relayed their childhood live show experiences to Corbett when she asked them what their first concert was.
Ruess said that his was a show with Bruce Springsteen which he “dragged” his parents to and “fell asleep a few songs in.” Antonoff saw “Aerosmith with Collective Soul” when it was “right at the moment for Collective Soul that you’d want to see them,” saying that he walked away from the show more of a Collective Soul fan than an Aerosmith fan.
Dost’s story was a bit more grotesque albeit entertaining.
“Mine was Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band,” said the musician. “And the lady in front of us was standing up on her chair and she barfed and fell backwards and my Dad caught her and shoved her back up.”
Highlighting their “common thread” of self-affirmed “self-deprecation and humor,” everyone in the audience laughed before the band relayed some of their antics from the day before.
When asked what their favorite song to play was, fun. counted to three and said in unison, “Some Nights.”
“That was not planned, but we did do that actually. Yesterday.” Ruess attested. “We did a television thing and it was something for like what movie we had recently watched.”
“And so we said like the Heartbreak Kid or something, but then we went backstage and we all talked about it before we had to do this impromptu thing and said, ‘On the count of three, say Schindler’s List. And the guy was like, ‘What was the last movie that you guys saw?’ We’re like, ‘Schindler’s List.’ You should have seen his face.”
An allusion to the graphic, yet poignant 1993 film appropriately underscored fun.’s answer to another fan’s questions: What kind of rock bands did you listen to growing up?
“We were children of the ’90s,” Ruess said before talking about how much he loves Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.
“We talked about Smashing Pumpkins for like three hours yesterday,” Antonoff interjected. “Just about how important they were to us…Mellon Collie when that came out was a record that changed all of our lives.”
Ruess chimed in and said that they were “kind of obsessed” with Weezer.
“I think Andrew and I were both into like Pinkerton,” said Ruess. “Yeah, that was the first concert I ever attended in high school. They were like forty minutes late on stage and I thought that was so cool.”