Portland rockers Red Fang have the antidote for what ails you including new tunes and red wine

The Red Fang pack is, as of this writing, currently minus one.

As the rest of the Portland bong-metal men were making their way up to another part of the Pacific Northwest for the first date of a tour that brings them to Calgary Thursday night to help kick of this year’s BIG Winter Classic, bassist-vocalist Aaron Beam is at home taking care of his sick cub, Niko.

The eight-year-old is fine, just a little under the weather.

And while papa Beam will catch up with the rest of the band in time, of course, for now he’s looking for some cold medicine and fielding questions about what’s been going on in the Red Fang world these days.

Before their BIG show at Dickens Pub, Beam filled in theYYSCENE.

Q: You better make it in time. People love you guys up here — it’s like you’re a local band.

A: We feel that. From the first time that we ever played, it was at Sled Island in 2011, and, yeah, it felt like that exact same energy that we were getting from our crowd, the shows we were playing in Portland. And that was pretty early on in our touring history, it was our first touring after our first European tour. It felt great and so we’ve always felt very welcome and comfortable there. Which is nice. It’s great to have a bunch of places around the world where it still feels comfortable and like home.

Q: Your latest album (2016’s Only Ghosts) has been out for some time, so you’ve likely been able to gauge audience response to it. How is the new material going over live?

A: It feel like it’s going really well. It’s the first album that we’d written as much as we did (going in) — we’d made changes to songs in the studio, but there were at least two songs that we basically wrote almost entirely in the studio, and so we’d never even tried them in front of audiences at all, any part of them. Once we got a little bit of mileage on some of the songs, started playing them live, we eased into how they needed to feel live and they started fitting seamlessly into the set. So we’re really excited to be able to incorporate a lot of the new material into our set now without it feeling weird.

Q: And the reaction?

A: There are always a couple of songs on the record — like on the last one (2013’s Whales and Leeches), we were playing Blood Like Cream before the record came out and people were already dancing around singing along before we were done. And on this new one it feels like there are a lot of songs people are connecting to, like Flies, is the one right out of the gate, people are really responding strongly to that one.

I feel we are evolving musically and lyrically, but that we’re still pretty identifiable, I mean it’s obvious that we’re still Red Fang. So it feels to me that there’s a continuity and that we’re not breaking the theme so much that people would be like, “What?” and scratching their heads as we’re playing the songs. Luckily that’s been confirmed when we play live.

Q: I know there’s a new 7-inch coming out in April. What is that song and will we hear it on Thursday?

A: I hope so. We have been playing it in the set for awhile now, it’s called Antidote. There’s actually  two songs on the 7-inch, there’s a brand new Red Fang song and then there’s also a cover of a Tubeway Army song (Listen to the Sirens). We’re not doing the cover live, but we’re playing Antidote in the set and it seems to fit really well in the set. It’s pretty high energy. It’s a little weird … but it’s fun, it’s a super-fun song. And actually my son played a little bit of keyboard on the end part of that song. It’s his first professional music credit on that 7-inch so I’m pretty excited about that.

And we also have a friend of ours, Tim Root, who lived in Portland for a long, long time, but now he’s moved to Athens, Georgia, he’s doing the art for it and we’ve seen a little bit of it already and I’m really excited about that, too. I’m happy that whole thing came together the way that it did. And it’s a fundraising thing for charity — all of the proceeds are going towards a charity that Bacon Skateboards is supporting.

Q: You’ve also just released a wine? This weekend in fact.

A: Yes, exactly. The release party for the Red Fang wine — (from) a Portland winemaker Teutonic — the party was just on Saturday night. It’s a blend of a few different wines so we actually had to help with it, we harvested some grapes, we helped with some of the processing, with the bottling, and stuff like that. So we’re pretty excited about it. (Drummer) John Sherman is most of the driving force behind that because he’s gotten really interested in wine the last couple of years. But we’re all happy to diversify our alcohol intake. It’s not just beer; now it’s beer and wine.

Q: I was going to ask: Pabst Blue Ribbon didn’t want any part of it, do a special blend for you?

A: (Laughs) No, but I think they’re pretty happy with the formula they’ve figured out.

Q: And how is the wine? Pretty good?

A: Yeah. I’m not a wine connoisseur, but I know when wine tastes good and tastes bad, and it tastes good to me.

Q: What would you pair the Red Fang wine with?

A: (Pauses) Another bottle of Red Fang wine.

(Photo courtesy James Rexroad.)

Red Fang perform Thursday night at Dickens Pub as part of this year’s BIG Winter Classic. For the complete lineup and schedule, as well as festival and evening passes, as well as tickets, please click go to www.bigwinterclassic.com.