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A comedy icon played a part in Runner Runner's rise, but the Surf City band's success is no joke.

May 13, 2010|By Michael Miller

No, they haven't met David Letterman.

The members of the Huntington Beach-based band Runner Runner get that question a lot. After all, the King of Late Night played an indirect part in their rise to fame, and a Google search of the terms "David Letterman" plus "Runner Runner" netted 15,600 matches as of last week.

Singer Ryan Ogren, guitarists Nick Bailey and Peter Munters, bassist Jon Berry and drummer James Ulrich are still a few degrees of separation from the talk-show legend. But that may change soon. They hope to appear on Letterman's show by the end of this year, and they joke that they always leave a spot for him onstage.

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Runner Runner, which formed two years ago, is slated to have its self-titled debut album released this fall on C.E. Music, a new label overseen by Letterman's media company Worldwide Pants Inc. The band's manager, Jim Recor, is a partner in Worldwide Pants, and "Runner Runner" will be the label's first release.

Considering that Letterman helped launch Hootie and the Blowfish's career when he declared them his "favorite new band," that seems like a powerful connection. As Runner Runner prepares to embark on a national tour next week, though, the members are doing their best to put their success in perspective.

"I look in the mirror and I just feel intensely grateful that we get to do what we love," Munters said.

And so, in the Letterman tradition, here are the Top 10 Things You Should Know About Runner Runner:

1. They will rock you. The "Runner Runner" album doesn't offer much in the way of slow, introspective ballads. From the pounding opening beats of the first track, "So Obvious," the band establishes a groove and rarely lets up.

Listen closely throughout the album and you'll hear echoes of other Southern California bands, from the Beach Boys to Sugar Ray. You'll also hear lyrics that veer from be-all-you-can-be earnestness ("When you think you're falling/Just get up") to loopy humor ("Loving you only gave me paper cuts").

The "So Obvious" single is scheduled for radio release June 15.

The band's spokeswoman, Heidi Ellen Robinson-Fitzgerald, considers it an ideal summer tune.

"It's the kind of music that you want to put it on in your car, crank it up as loud as you can crank up the radio and go as fast as you can down Pacific Coast Highway," she said.

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