D.C. Rocker Mary Timony Joins Seth Meyers’ Late-Night Band (Temporarily)

By Ally Schweitzer

D.C. guitarist Mary Timony (shown playing the 9:30 Club in 2015) is taking a turn on the Seth Meyers show.
D.C. guitarist Mary Timony (shown playing the 9:30 Club in 2015) is taking a turn on the Seth Meyers show. Alex Schelldorf/WAMU

D.C. musician Mary Timony already has a sterling rock ‘n’ roll résumé — with her bands Ex Hex, Wild Flag and Helium, the guitar virtuoso has played festivals and roomy clubs all over the world. But next week Timony dives into an even more glamorous gig: She’s temporarily joining The 8G Band, the in-house group for Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Timony will be replacing guitar slayer Marnie Stern on the late-night TV show, hosted by Meyers, formerly of Saturday Night Live. She appears on the show Monday through Thursday (Aug. 1-4).

Asked how she landed the gig, Timony says she goes way back with some members of The 8G Band. She met bandleader Fred Armisen through his Portlandia co-star Carrie Brownstein — Timony’s former bandmate in Wild Flag — and she knows members Seth Jabour and Eli Janney from their mutual years in D.C. (Fun fact: Timony says she met Janney as a teenager, when they played in a “modern music” workshop funded by Marion Barry’s summer youth employment program.)

Timony has to learn eight new songs before the show tapes in New York on Monday. The band plays covers to warm up the audience behind the scenes, she says, but they write new material every day — usually 30-second mini-songs to perform during the show. “I have a big learning curve to go through,” says Timony, who also teaches guitar.

This will mark Timony’s first time playing in a TV house band, but it’s not her first time on the late-night circuit: Ex Hex played Meyers’ show a couple years back, and Wild Flag played The Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Timony says she’ll return to the show later this year, too — she plans to replace Stern for much of October and November.

Late Night With Seth Meyers airs weeknights on NBC at 12:35 a.m.