Katey Sagal and the Forest Rangers, who are the “house band” for “Sons of Anarchy” (season six debuts on Tuesday, September 10 on FX) are set to perform at the “SoA” Season six premiere celebration at The El Rey Theatre in LA.
“Sons of Anarchy’s” season five notched its most viewers to date, continuing the show’s run as the highest–rated program in the history of FX. In Total Viewers, the show captured an average of 6.4 million per episode, and in the advertiser coveted adult demo 18-49, it averaged 4.4 million viewers per episode.
The Forest Rangers band is the brainchild of “Sons of Anarchy’s music supervisor and musical director Bob Thiele. “The Forest Rangers are much like a character on the show. The music often propels the narrative in ways that dialogue will not. Over the first five seasons, we have discovered a unique sound that is consistent with the environment these characters live and breathe in. Call it The Sound Of Charming! And think about it: how many shows will allow for a nine-minute musical montage with two lines of dialogue!
“Back when Dave Kushner (guitarist with Velvet Revolver) and I were writing the show’s theme song, ‘This Life,’ we got to talking one day about a band we both liked back in the 90’s called Plexi. They had a great song called “Forest Ranger.” We thought, hey, that would be a cool name for a band! And so The Forest Rangers became the musical mouthpiece for ‘Sons of Anarchy.’”
The Forest Rangers consist of Thiele and various luminary musical guests, such as Davey Faragher (bass player with Elvis Costello and the Imposters, etc), Greg Leisz (slide guitar and mandolin; Eric Clapton, Bon Iver, Daft Punk, etc.), Franky Perez (“Scars on Broadway,” Slash’s band, etc.), Brian Macleod (Sheryl Crow’s Tuesday Night Music Club, Roger Waters, Christina Aguilera, Tears for Fears, etc.), and more. Additionally, Thiele and Greg Leisz collaborated in part with Jane’s Addiction for their version of “Sympathy For the Devil” in a gripping Season five episode. Thiele explains, “This band is a floating scene. We’ve got these amazing musicians that participate to create all this great music for the show. There’s really no ‘active membership.’”
Sagal is also a member of The Forest Rangers and is also releasing her third solo CD, “Covered,” in October. “Covered is my third solo record. My two previous records were mostly original compositions. This one is not. I was tired of waiting for myself to write, and anxious to make another album.
“Covered is the combined effort of Bob and myself, discovering and interpreting an eclectic mix of music that I connected with. Some of the songs reflect on my younger life, and some from music I listen to now…material from Ryan Adams, Ray LaMontaigne, Steve Earle, etc. All have personal meaning and reason for me to want to sing them.”
It’s a little-known fact that Sagal was a singer/songwriter before she became an actor. “I’ve been singing since I was a kid. I started writing music when I was a teenager. I wanted to be a singer/songwriter when I grew up…that was my ambition. I really love being an actor, but music was my first love.”
Sagal worked as a background singer for Bob Dylan, Etta James, Bette Midler, Olivia Newton-John and Tanya Tucker. Covered will be available digitally on October 22.
Sagal explains, “We’re really looking forward to playing at the El Rey and other shows we have booked, like the 110th Anniversary of Harley-Davidson Festival, the Love Ride, Hardly-Strictly Bluegrass Festival and more. We’ll play both songs from the show and songs from Covered.
“I create and perform music because I love it, not to change my career from actor to musician, because I’ve always been both,” Sagal continues.
Thiele concludes, “I see the El Rey event as a homecoming of sorts. Katey, The Forest Rangers and myself are all Los Angeles locals. We’ve been at this for years, but so much of it has been behind the scenes, in studios and the like. ‘SoA’ has provided the opportunity where we can all get together and play without any real agenda. So now, we finally get to share the fun we’ve been so privileged to enjoy with the real fans of the show!”