Well, it's taken about 14 months of being on the air, but someone has finally mustered the gravitas to challenge Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report to a showdown - and it's happening next week.
The band's publicist at Capitol Records has confirmed to me that Stephen Colbert has officially accepted a guitar duel challenge from The Decemberists, which will take place on Wednesday, December 20th. Yes, seriously. Colbert will face off against band member Chris Funk, who, in addition to guitar, plays the piano, violin, the Theremin, and pedal steel guitar, among other instruments.
The faux battle between the media giant and goes back to November 29th when Stephen Colbert asserted The Decemberists, in the debut of a new segment "Look Whose Riding My Coattails Now," lambasted the band for their Re-Animate The Decemberists contest. Fans are asked to use a video of the band's new single, "O Valencia!" in front of a green screen and create their own animation for the video's backdrop. Colbert alleged that the band stole the idea from a green screen challenge he himself hosted back in August.
This of course, launched a hissy fit of epic proportions.
The Decemberists lobbed their own challenge back at Colbert on the pages of music website Pitchfork, offering 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, "Let's SHRED!"
It was at this point the Associated Press caught wind of the debacle and shortly thereafter all media hell broke loose. Now it appears that all parties have formally agreed to a "guitar off" set for December 20th's Colbert Report show. Hear more from Stephen himself on the matter from a recent episode.
It's not everyday that an indie rock band gets a media firestorm of publicity, or talking time on a highly rated television program, much less a guest appearance with weeks of free publicity. No matter who wins, Chris Funk, the multi-instrumentalist for The Decemberists, will no doubt be getting on his hands and knees and thanking America's favorite faux-pundit for a long time.