Josh Dawson, bassist for McMaster band Of Gentlemen and Cowards, said his father gave him an important piece of advice for the group’s Sept. 17 appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman.

He asked Dawson if he knew how Hootie and the Blowfish first rose to popularity. Dawson didn’t.

“Letterman,” said his father, “so don’t fuck this up.”

Of Gentlemen of Cowards is a young band. The current McMaster students got the opportunity to take their act to the New York talk show by winning a contest hosted by Red Bull Soundstage and by Rob Burnett, producer of the Late Show.

The original contest, which received applications from emerging bands from across North America, was to get a song into Burnett’s film We Made This Movie. After becoming one of the four winning bands, they were entered into a contest with the other finalists to play on the Late Show.

Through persistent and widespread promotion, Of Gentlemen and Cowards won the online voting contest.

They’re set to appear on the show on Monday, Sept. 17. It will air at 11:30 p.m. that night.

They fly down on the Sunday. At 3 a.m. Monday morning, they’ll be at the studio for set-up. They’ll then head back to the hotel for a little sleep, and then back at 2 p.m. for rehearsal, hair, makeup and other preparations. They’re on at 5:30 p.m.

“We rehearse a lot for our festivals and stuff, and we’ve gotten pretty good at doing that,” said Dawson.

“But [at festivals] you’ve got a 45-minute window that you can spread your tricks out over ... This is three and a half minutes to compact everything.”

After the show, they’ll hang around New York for a few days “seeing how many times we can drop our name before we leave,” said Dawson.

On Thursday night, they’ll be at the premier of We Made This Movie. They’ll play at the after party that night

But for now, the band is totally focused on making their brief TV appearance count. “I’ve watched every single performance on Letterman in the last five years,” laughed Dawson about what he’s doing to prepare.

They’ve got tickets to the show for their immediate families and for Al Legault, director of MSU Campus Events, who will be representing them in New York.

But whether or not they’re successful in the Big Apple, they know what comes next.

“Class,” said Simon Edwards, the band’s singer, who is trying to stay humble. “No matter what happens after Letterman, we’ve still got 8:30s to get to ... That’s what awaits us after Letterman. Homework.”


Results are in: McMaster band Of Gentlemen and Cowards is headed to an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman in mid-September.

After voting closed just before midnight on August 7, the group appeared to be in the lead, but had to wait until Monday's announcement for official results. And Given how back-and-forth the battle for first was on the final voting day between Of Gentlemen and Cowards and Virginia group Aaron Crawford and the Badcards, it could have gone either way.

“I’m a massive mix of overwhelmed, nervous and excited,” said front man Simon Edwards before official results were released.

Edwards will join fellow students and bandmates Josh Dawson, Christian Fedele and Jake Warren for the New York show.

It began in the spring, when Of Gentlemen and Cowards spotted the contest on, a music social media platform that connects bands with promoters, festivals and other opportunities.

The competition was for a chance to get their music into We Made This Movie, which is currently in production. Rob Burnett, who is the CEO of the Late Show with David Letterman’s production company Worldwide Pants, is the film’s director. They submitted their song “Save Me” to be considered for the soundtrack.

Out of over 1200 applications from an international pool of bands, the McMaster boys were selected as one of 24 finalists in the We Made This Movie Music Contest. They were then chosen as one of the four winners, which guaranteed their song a spot in the film. A secondary contest for one of finalists to play on the Letterman show followed, and Of Gentlemen and Cowards found themselves in a neck-and-neck battle for first.

“We kind of threw everything we had into this campaign,” said Edwards. “We play a lot of charity shows around campus, and we try to do as many free things and favours for people as we can. Here’s where we’re really hoping to cash on those,” he said.

The campaign received support from a number of McMaster organizations, as well as coverage in the Hamilton Spectator, CBC Hamilton and AM900, to name a few.

“We couldn’t be happier with the response we’ve gotten,” said Edwards.

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