The things you do for art. In August, a month shy of the release of Brooklyn-based quartet Grizzly Bear’s fourth album, “Shields,” the band appeared on “The Colbert Report” packed in a tiny dinghy with effusive host Stephen Colbert, wobbling precariously like they might capsize at any moment — which was not part of the script.
“I don’t think Colbert realized that there was a simulated water cushion underneath that would start rocking,” says Grizzly Bear founder, singer and keyboard player Ed Droste. “He was like, ‘Oh my God, who chose this?'”
It was an unusual situation — but all present took it in stride.
“We don’t usually get to do interviews on television. We usually just play the song. So, that was new for us. He was really fun to chat with, of course. It was totally fun, we had a great time.”
Droste says more awkward situations arose when the band first started.
“The oddest situation was back when we were unknown and we’d book our own tours,” he says. “I remember playing this diner in Minneapolis, which had this little stage attached. There were four people watching us, but mostly it was people eating tuna melts and thinking it was loud and ‘Who are these people?'”
Now that Grizzly Bear have boated with Colbert, backed Ryan Gosling — their songs dominate the “Blue Valentine” soundtrack — can there be any career goals left?
“We’re just happy doing what we’re doing. Just being where we are now. There’s no goal to fill arenas or anything like that,” says Droste. “We don’t make that kind of music.”
Playing the ‘Shields’
Droste admits that recording the band’s proggy-influenced new album, “Shields” was challenging. “[It] can be very difficult with four strong-minded people in the band,” he says. “There are challenging moments where people might disagree. But if everything came really easily and we all agreed we’d think, ‘OK, we have a problem here.’”