Former ‘Late Show’ band leader Paul Shaffer on why he can’t slow down

“If you care about music, you care about Paul Shaffer,” Fugelsang said.

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SiriusXM Editor
March 20, 2017

“If you owned a television set, this man has had an impact on your life. And if you care about music, you care about Paul Shaffer,” John Fugelsang explained as he introduced the front-man of The World’s Most Dangerous Band, formerly the CBS Orchestra (and before that The World’s Most Dangerous Band).

Shaffer, rocking his signature pair of sunglasses, is the epitome of what’s old is new again. After three decades at the Ed Sullivan Theater working with David Letterman, his band has exhumed its old name and released an album that feels like an homage to decades past.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do. I thought perhaps that after 33 years one deserves a minute to slow down. Really did, you know. But it makes one feel quite ancient when you start to think that way,” Shaffer said about life after The Late Show with David Letterman ended. He admitted to initially feeling “so depressed and sad” but said that all changed when he “received this phone call from the legendary Seymour Stein, record exec extraordinaire,” and his new album came to life.

“They don’t make this kind of record anymore,” Fugelsang said, holding the black-and-white CD in his right hand. “This is real musicians playing live with different friends guesting on most of the tracks.”

And the friends reflect the diverse nature of Shaffer’s career. Bill Murray (whom Shaffer calls “Billy”) appears on one track with additional appearances by Shaggy, Jenny Lewis and Dion.

From his years on the stage at Letterman to his short stint on Saturday Night Live to his role as band leader at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductions, he’s seen and played with nearly everyone.

“Eric Clapton I found intimidating,” Shaffer said. “I got to play with him a number of times, though. And he was always so encouraging, but I don’t know what it was about him. Royalty, maybe deity.”

And there are two artists that Shaffer wishes he could’ve collaborated with.

“Elvis. I missed Elvis,” Shaffer said. “And oh, yes, I missed Bob Marley.”

This time around, Shaffer is the headlining rock star of sorts, embarking on his first real tour since the Blues Brothers in 1980.

“The traveling is going to be interesting. We’ll see what that’s like. The part about getting in front of an audience and playing in these theaters all over the U.S. and a couple of gigs in Canada, I can’t wait. This is really what separates the men from the boys,” he said.

“After this, I have truly died and gone to heaven, for sure.”

Tell Me Everything with John Fugelsang airs weekdays at 2 pm ET on SiriusXM Insight (Ch. 121).

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