The first stone was cast on November 29th when Colbert used the debut of a segment entitled "Look Who's Riding My Coattails Now" to lambaste the band for their mtvU-sponsored "Re-Animate the Decemberists" contest. For the contest the band performed new single "O Valencia!" in front of a "green screen" and asked college students nationwide to create animation for the video's backdrop. Colbert alleged that the band stole the concept from a contest he had earlier staged. "Let's see how well they perform their trademark brand of hyper-literate prog-rock when I'm slicing off their legs at the knee," said Colbert, brandishing a Star Wars-style light saber to underscore his contentiousness. "Oh yes. They will feel the pain."
The band responded on music website Pitchfork, defending itself of the charge and upping the stakes with a counter challenge: the "Decemberists vs. Stephen Colbert Guitar Solo Challenge." "Put down the pen, Colbert, and pick up the axe! Let's see what kind of a man you really are," said the band in a statement, adding, for dramatic effect, "Let's SHRED!" The story, stick with us here, now picked up by ACTUAL national news outlets including the Associated Press, led Colbert to accept the challenge. "Decemberists, I accept your counter-counter challenge," he said. "At last we'll see who reigns supreme."
Decemberists multi-instrumentalist Chris Funk, anointed as the band's warrior-incarnate, will now face off with Colbert in a blood-frenzy of guitar mayhem and pyrotechnics on the December 20 episode of "The Colbert Report," airing on Comedy Central at 11:30 pm ET/PT (check local listings). The show will repeat on Thursday, December 21 at 8:30 am, 2:30 pm and 8:30 pm ET/PT and also at www.comedycentral.com. Two will enter, one will leave�.
The Decemberists, whose recent album "The Crane Wife" is enjoying considerable acclaim, will celebrate the sweet taste of victory (is that nutmeg?) by spending the holidays with their families. Dates for a spring U.S. tour will be announced soon.