In 2015, David Letterman's tenure on late-night television came to an end after 33 years.
That meant that Paul Shaffer, the show's band leader and multi-talented musician, was out of a job. Not that he needed to get a new one, but the itch to perform got the best of him, so he gathered his fellow late-night musicians for an album and a tour.
Shaffer and the World's Most Dangerous Band, as Letterman dubbed them, passes through Atlanta this Sunday evening at Center Stage.
“We have sort of a sign language, we almost don’t have to speak,” Shaffer said in an interview with Lois Reitzes. “We know what the other is going to do ahead of time.”
Letterman noticed Shaffer on “Saturday Night Live,” where he performed music and participated in some of the sketches, notably with Bill Murray. He was then invited to be the band leader for Letterman’s show.
Shaffer said that Letterman gave him the freedom to do what he pleased on the show with the music, even adding music to guest interviews or Letterman’s monologs if the mood was right.
“Letterman even said at one point, ‘If you have anything to contribute, throw it in,” said Shaffer. “How many bosses would say that?”