Inside D.C. entertainment

Virginia musician Mike Woods on the song "We Are #1 on Stephen Colbert's ThreatDown"

October 29, 2010 - 10:50 AM
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When the Northern Virginia southern metal band Kodiak formed in 2008, they mostly just wanted to play out a little bit, and have a good time. "It was pretty much me and my four closest friends," says frontman Mike Woods. "We were right out of high school and filming internet sketch comedy bits, and decided we wanted to start a band together. We were all involved in music previously, and just did this as a way of having fun.”

But the band soon gained a following, doing shows in Virginia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, and became known for one song in particular: "We Are #1 On Stephen Colbert's ThreatDown."

“I’m a big Jon Stewart /Stephen Colbert fan, I pretty much watch them all the time," Woods says. "And if you’ve watched their shows, you know Colbert does ThreatDown, which is a list of the biggest threats to America. Usually at the top of the list is bears. So, we decided to make the song “We Are #1 on Stephen Colbert’s ThreatDown" because of the band name—Kodiak.”

Kodiak broke up about four months ago, Woods says, due to creative differences, and a general feeling that the music was becoming cliched and not all that fun to play. But during its existence, the Colbert ode was its biggest hit.

“Anytime we went to a show, we’d say, ‘How many people watch The Colbert Report?’ And of course tons of people would say ‘Yeah!,'" he says. " And then I’d say, 'Well what’s the number one threat?’ And they’d say ‘Bears!’ And then I’d say, 'We’re Kodiak and we’re number one on Stephen Colbert’s ThreatDown!' It was definitely one of our best received songs."

Woods says he hasn’t checked the song's YouTube views to see if there has been an uptick since the Stewart rally was announced, and he doesn't know if Colbert has ever heard the song, but he doubts it. “When I first wrote the song, I thought, That’d be really crazy if Colbert happened to pick up on it," he says. "But there’s no way he’d ever have us on his show.”

While the song is a play on the regular appearance of bears on The Colbert Report's ThreatDown segment, it wasn't named for the majestic kodiak bear, but for the brand of dip named for the majestic kodiak bear. "We got the name Kodiak because our drummer dipped Kodiak chewing tobacco," Woods says.

Woods also notes that although the song has a funny title taken from a funny show, it’s not really jokey. “I actually put pride into the lyrics,” Woods says. “It’s about how music has progressed lately, and the tendency for bands to sound exactly the same. I find it funny, that [Colbert's] rally is about keeping fear alive, when the song was written about not being afraid to express originality.”

 Kodiak has no plans to reunite and perform "We Are #1 on Stephen Colbert's ThreatDown" during rally weekend. In fact, towards the end of the band's run, it became sort of a pain in the ass to perform. "A lot of people would just be like, 'Play Stephen Colbert ThreatDown!' And we'd just be like, 'OK, I guess we'll play what you wanna hear...'"

Woods says he won't even be attending the Stewart/Colbert Rally—he'll spend the day at work.

But he is working on new, albeit slightly different music. Two members of Kodiak are now performing as a post-rock indie band called Attractions, and Woods and the others are in the process of reuniting, with a new name and sound. “We don’t necessarily want to pick up where we left off, we want to do something new, something that will mean more to us—we want to have fun, but not do things that are clichéd jokes.”

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