Anton Fig Features Richie Havens on “More Than Friends” — Exclusive Song Premiere

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Here’s a treat. It’s “More Than Friends” from renowned drummer Anton Vig, featuring Richie Havens from the upcoming solo album Figments, due out August 14.

Filled with lovely acoustic guitar treats throughout and fully, silky vocals, “More Than Friends” is like a breath of fresh air.

A sweet groove, tasty riffs, excellent writing, vocal delights. What more could you want?

Vig shares, “I always heard Richie Havens singing this and was honored when he sang it with his distinctive rich tone and authority. I had played with him a few times in the late ’80s and grown up with his compelling performance at Woodstock. Through a mutual friend, I found Enrique Vargas, a flamenco guitarist, who provided perfect counterpoint to the vocals. Felicia on acoustic and electric rhythm and Will on bass, my bandmates on the Letterman show, played great [on everything they did] as usual.”

Having spent the last 29 years as the house drummer on Late Night With David Letterman and its successor The Late Show With David Letterman, and even longer as one of New York’s most in-demand session drummers, Anton Fig is one of America’s most widely-heard musicians. The veteran player unveils an entirely new set of musical skills on Figments, his first-ever album under his own name.

In addition to tapping new dimensions of his percussive abilities, Figments showcases Anton Fig’s talents as a songwriter and producer, with 13 adventurous self-penned tunes that reveal his considerable melodic gifts and distinctive rhythmic sensibility. He’s joined by an impressive cast of musicians and vocalists that demonstrates the breadth of Fig’s musical vision as well as the esteem in which he’s held by his peers.

Figments’ stellar cast includes Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson, whose heavenly multi-tracked harmonies are featured on the hauntingly bittersweet “Hand on My Shoulder,” which also features a persuasive lead vocal by former Beach Boy Blondie Chaplin; Ivan Neville, who adds his soulful vocals and keyboards on the funky “Inside Out”; the late Richie Havens, whose one-of-a-kind voice drives the heartfelt “More Than Friends”; and KISS guitar hero Ace Frehley, longtime Frehley cohort Richie Scarlet and Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach, who lend their presence to the epic, soaring “Know Where You Go.”

Also on board are such notable figures as keyboard legend Al Kooper, Booker T and the MGs bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn, English guitar icon Chris Spedding, veteran singer-songwriter Chip Taylor, acclaimed R&B vocalist Catherine Russell, noted jazz guitarist Oz Noy, renowned bassists Richard Bona, Tony Garnier and Bakhiti Kumalo, distinguished horn men Chris Botti, Randy Brecker, Ronnie Cuber and Lew Soloff, Fig’s longstanding Letterman bandmates Paul Shaffer, Felicia Collins, Will Lee and Sid McGinniss, and former late-night rival Jimmy Vivino on guitar.

Figments’ material was drawn from a healthy backlog of songs that Fig had written or co-written over the years. “At a certain point, I looked back and realized that I had accumulated all these songs,” he explains. “So I decided that it was time to realize them by matching each song with the right musicians and singers, with my drumming and production as the through-line.”

The diverse strands of Anton Fig’s stellar musical adventures come together memorably on Figments, whose reemergence in 2015 coincides with Letterman’s retirement and the swan song The Late Show, and the drummer’s return to touring for the first time in decades, playing with blues guitar phenom Joe Bonamassa, with whom he’s been recording since 2007.
“It’s gonna be different going out there again,” Anton says of his return to the road, adding, “David Garibaldi, the drummer from Tower of Power, recently told me, ‘Everything you’ve done in your life is just to prepare you for what you’re about to do next.’ So that’s how I’m approaching it. I don’t know what to expect, but I’m looking at it as an exciting adventure.”

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