It's wedding season, kid!
You sandbaggin' son of a bitch!
OK, so the Dan Band didn't actually appear in the 2005 comedy Wedding Crashers, but comedian Dan Finnerty's outrageous cover band was everywhere in early-aughts screen weddings — to the point where it's a wonder no one has proposed a shared universe theory for Todd Phillips flicks. Twelve years after thrusting their way into the national laugh track with their vulgar rendition of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in Old School and five after reasserting their hilarity with their take on 50 Cent's "Candy Shop" in The Hangover, the Dan Band have become synonymous with the pop-culture definition of matrimony. Their presence at any given wedding — real or staged — is just assumed.
Their iconic, subversive covers have made the Dan Band a highly sought-after commodity for brides and grooms looking to inject some levity into their nuptials, but according to Finnerty, unless you're a Vikings linebacker or Persian royalty, his Meatloaf-esque karaoke act won't be making an appearance at your reception. You want to book him at the Brooklyn Center Embassy Suites to serenade your wedding guests? You'd better offer more than an open bar.
Finnerty estimates that the band gets roughly 10 sincere inquiries a week, but the pleas go mostly unheeded because of the cost. So, the Rochester, New York, native decided to put together an LP, appropriately titled The Wedding Album, that you can feed to your DJ in place of a physical performance.
"The joke is that they usually say, 'We don't have any money, but there'll be plenty of beer and plenty of babes,'" Finnerty says. " I used to just send an MP3 and say, ‘Just play this and save your money.' That’s why I wanted to do a wedding album. I knew people couldn't afford it."
The Wedding Album, out July 10 on Comedy Dynamics, is part concept album and part greatest hits collection. It includes the studio version of "Candy Shop" and a winding trance retake of the Old School hit re-titled "Total Remix of the Heart," as well as the instant classic Air Supply reworking of "Making Love Out Of Nothing At All," which features Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls.
The song and the album were originally slated for a December 2013 release, but staff turnover at the label prevented that from happening. Luckily enough, the Dan Band's work is so timeless (they haven't put out a record since 2007, and they're still getting piles of inquiries) that The Wedding Album doesn't feel dated. But "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" does have one flinchingly era-appropriate moment.
Looking to take their collaboration over the top, Finnerty and Scherzinger decided to plop a dubstep break in the tail end of the song. "We were like, 'what would be the cheesiest thing ever?'," Finnerty says. "That was like two years ago at the height of dubstep, and I knew it was just gonna be acid wash jeans."
But the holdup had positive effects too. Finnerty was able to work in collaborations with Train frontman Pat Monahan and Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 on two original songs. For him, part of the fun was getting such accomplished vocalists to coalesce to his level of dude humor. "We went to his house. He’s the nicest guy in the world, we just hung out for an afternoon and wrote that song ‘Three Way.’" Monahan preens unironically on a song called "I Can't Believe I Love You," which is styled to be the tune of a newlyweds' first dance.
"We set out to say, ‘What’s the worst song you could play as a first dance song?’," Finnerty says. "It’s about how, statistically, you're never gonna make it as a married couple. But then it’s like ‘well, let’s not worry about divorce, let’s focus on the honeymoon, because we're still gonna do it.’ If people didn't listen to the lyrics, they might miss it." The Wedding Album is loosely styled to follow the trajectory of a traditional wedding reception, though that doesn't necessarily make it a blueprint. For example, Finnerty includes a cover of consummate Beyonce breakup song "Irreplaceable" on the album's tracklist. "I'm not setting out to really have some Christian couple play these songs at their wedding," Finnerty says. "It’s something you put on late night when it’s just your drunk friends."
However, Finnerty had envisioned a more epic, late-night retooling of his career-making "Total Eclipse of the Heart" cover. He'd initially eyed recruiting original artist Bonnie Tyler on the track, but the Welsh songstress balked because of the R-rated lyrics. "It would've been such a high five moment in my life, singing with Bonnie Tyler," Finnerty says. "But she said she'd only do it if there was no swearing, and I was like, ‘What the fuck?’"
"Total Remix of the Heart" is a worthy stand-in. With all the signature "fucks" in place between a whirring EDM beat, it's the perfect way to end your wedding celebration. It'll get everyone from your ex-Marine uncle to your rural goth cousin breaking it down. But if the digital version of the Dan Band isn't enough for you — if you simply must have the real thing — you'd better have the cash.
"Every once in a while, we'll do some weddings," he says. "If people say yes to the scare-away quote that we give, I'm like, ‘Oh fuck, we have to do it.’" Finnerty refuses to disclose what that quote is ("Ah shit, I dunno, they'd have to call my agent," he says), but they've signed to play ceremonies for NFL players and other one-percenters in the past. "We went to Monaco, and there was this Persian guy, I don't know who he is, but they said he was some kind of prince or something," Finnerty says. "I thought we were the band, but we were the last band just for his buddies when they were drunk. We were on a hidden stage that was on rollers. Big reveal."
Though Finnerty says that there are "varied options" that sometimes work out logistically, the chances are that, no matter how big of a Todd Phillips fan your best man who's driving in from Brainerd is, the Dan Band won't be able to squeeze you in. That might just be a godsend, though. Having Finnerty in the flesh might just sabotage your nuptials. With their hotly irreverent stylings, the Dan Band's brand of wedding tunes are aimed at a particular subset of the invitees.
"Not everyone at the wedding is completely in love," Finnerty says. "There’s gotta be some disgruntled couples out there ... we're like the grandma’s nightmare."