Saying goodbye to the Late Show with David Letterman

Volume 115, No. 9September, 2015

Photo: Courtesy CBS

Photo: Courtesy CBS

After 33 years of entertaining audiences on late-night TV, David Letterman retired this spring. We recently asked band members in the CBS Orchestra – who were covered under a union contract – to reminiscence about the show. Here’s what they told us…

PAUL SHAFFER (keyboards and bandleader)
“I am extremely grateful to have had a gig of a lifetime.”

FELICIA COLLINS (guitar/vocals/percussion)
“Joining the World’s Most Dangerous Band to form the CBS Orchestra has been the high point of my career as a musician. To play with everyone (and I do mean everyone) in the biz is a unique experience. To do so on television every night for 22 years on the Late Show is a part of history. Shout out to former CBSO bandmates Bernie Worrell, Al Chez and Bruce Kapler!”

ANTON FIG (drums/percussion)
“A gig like this comes by only once – thanks for the offer, Paul. Thanks, band, for all the great music we made together, and thanks to Dave for all your enthusiasm, support, incredible insight, and one-of-a-kind humor through the years.”

FRANK GREENE (trumpet and percussion)
“To spend three years around these amazing musicians, Paul’s Shaffer’s genius and Mr. Letterman’s wit was a dream come true! I miss them all a ton. Truly wonderful!”

“I remember watching the Letterman show when it first aired 33 years ago and being totally knocked out by the band, just a quartet then . . . I thought they were amazing. It was one of the many things that convinced me I had to move to NYC. I never would have guessed then that 30 years later, I would be part of that band. It’s been one of the absolute highlights of my life!”

WILL LEE (bass/vocals)
“It’s been great seeing a wonderfully entertaining TV show in progress from my vantage point for 33+ years. Also, it was always an education musically to try new stuff and to see the thousands of new (and established) music acts that were featured almost nightly. I’ll miss my inspiring bandmates!”

TOM “BONES” MALONE (trombone, sax, flute, brass)
“Most gigs last three or four hours. This one went 22 years. We had lots of fun times. Gonna miss everyone.”

SID McGINNIS (guitar/vocals)
“Dave and Paul have an amazing work ethic. Every day we got to hang out with the staff and crew of all ages and play loud music for a non-paying audience. Also no waiting in airports. Best gig ever!”