Last month, it was announced that the first band to perform on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert would be a Paul Simon tribute act called Troubled Waters. (“Band” as in “not a solo artist”; following the premiere night’s surprise guests that joined bandleader Jon Batiste, Colbert’s first musical acts were Kendrick Lamar and Toby Keith.) Of course, there is no such thing as Troubled Waters. When we first reported that story, the “band” didn’t have a website. Now they do — troubledwatersband.band went live on 8/25, a day after that news was first revealed. It’s absurdly and obviously fake, listing jokey tour dates (the Rosen bar mitzvah was cancelled?) from 2012. (Note the .band domain didn’t become available until this year.) The site provides a contact number for Troubled Waters, but when you call that number, you get an outgoing voicemail (answering machine?) message, saying, “If you’re calling about the lawnmower advertisement on Craigslist, it has already been sold. But if you’re interested in having Troubled Waters play at your wedding, corporate event, or bachelorette party, please leave a message and we will return your call as soon as possible.” (The mailbox is full, sadly.) There’s also a funny email address — [email protected] (as if [email protected] was already taken) — to which we wrote last week, but did not hear back. So let’s figure this out: Who the hell are Troubled Waters?
— The Late Show on CBS (@colbertlateshow) September 11, 2015
The obvious guess is Pavement, whose Bob Nastonovich recently revealed were approached to reunite on Colbert. Said Nastonovich back in July:
[I]f we can get it all together, we’ve been invited to play on the new Colbert show in like September. So that might be cool. Hopefully it’ll come off, right now it seems kind of 50/50. I don’t even know what we’re gonna play or anything like that, but they invited us to do it a few weeks ago and we’re trying to schedule it all out.
However, a band rep shot that one down immediately afterward, telling us, “Contrary to internet rumors, there are no current plans for Pavement to reunite — neither for a tour nor for a late night television performance.”
"Atrocity Exhibition": A short experimental novel about ……Paul Simon's Graceland #truth
— Stephen malkmus (@dronecoma) March 27, 2015
Beyond that, Pavement seem especially unlikely because Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks just played a show in Portland, Oregon last night.
Another interesting possibility is Vampire Weekend. It might be a bit on the nose for VW to bill themselves as a Paul Simon tribute band, but that would definitely be in line with Colbert’s sense of humor. And Ezra Koenig has recently embraced the Paul Simon comparison with which he’s been saddled his whole career — or, at least, he’s offered up a contrary one:
how i thought i looked at the gala vs. how i actually looked at the gala pic.twitter.com/0hfShQFNGb
— Ezra Koenig (@arzE) July 27, 2015
stuntin like my daddy, garfunkelin like my daddy pic.twitter.com/loGjKGeQsw
— Ezra Koenig (@arzE) July 27, 2015
But there’s more! An Instagram photo shared today by Rostam Batmanglij implies that the VW producer/multi-instrumentalist is hanging with a friend in New York City. And the farthest-flung Vampire Weekender, Chris Baio — who currently lives in London — has to be in NYC next week for a late-night performance of his own:
— Chris Baio (@OIAB) September 9, 2015
Also worth noting: Vampy Weeks have a history of joining Colbert for high-concept pranks. So … maybe?
Alternately … could Troubled Waters be Paul Simon himself? It would be a short drive down from his New Caanan home, after all. However, Paul Simon on his own would not constitute a “band,” and while a Simon & Garfunkel reunion billed as a Paul Simon tribute band would be fucking hilarious, that’s not gonna happen.
Whoever it is, they’ve gotta be a pretty big-ish deal, right? The other two guests tonight are Amy Schumer and Stephen King, and they’re not gonna close that show (and Colbert’s first week) with some unbilled C-listers. And it sure as hell isn’t gonna be Troubled Waters. No sir, that lawnmower was sold a long time ago.
The show airs tonight at 11:35 so let’s sleuth out these catfishes now!
UPDATE: Mystery solved.