by Michael Popke — David Letterman (David Letterman!) recently announced that he is starting a record label. Worldwide Pants, the television and film production company owned by the late-night talk-show host, has formed Clear Entertainment/C.E. Music and signed the Huntington Beach, Calif.-based pop-punk band Runner Runner. These guys look like David Cook and Will Ferrell wannabes, but the two infectious songs posted on their MySpace page hint that Letterman has a sweet ear — or at least Letterman’s “people” do — for radio-friendly ditties that the kids will like.
Still, couldn’t Letterman, who turned 63 earlier this month, throw his clout behind older progressive-rock artists? How cool would it be if, in the wake of InsideOut Music losing its American arm last year, Letterman had gone after deals with American prog bands from that label’s roster including Spock’s Beard, Symphony X, Enchant and Tiles? It would be like “The Colbert Report” sponsoring the U.S. Speedskating team. Sort of.
Don’t forget, Letterman is the guy who, upon hearing “The Calling” from Yes’ 1994 Talk album, invited the band to perform on his show. (Of course, he apparently thought Yes was a “new band” at the time, but still…) Letterman also has hosted Peter Gabriel, Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason over the years. He even had heavy prog-metalheads Mastodon on in 2009, even though he admitted on camera that the violence-prone band “frightened” him (view below).