Mar 20, 2014 5:57 PM by Dave Fields
Local band Royal Teeth--with members from Lafayette and New Orleans--will perform on American Idol stage Thursday night at the behest of New Orleans native and American Idol judge Harry Connick, Jr.
The band's drummer is Lafayette native, Josh Hefner, who spoke exclusively to KATC after he arrived in Hollywood. Hefner explained that Connick's request to perform was a pleasant surprise that should provide the band some much needed exposure.
"This band has been together getting close to three and a half years now. They (American Idol) are doing a series each of the last four weeks where each judge picks an artist to feature and we were Harry Connick's pick. We had no idea he knew we existed, to be honest. We found out that Harry Connick, Jr., was a fan of the band. He picked us to be featured on the show," said the drummer of the circumstances that landed the band in Hollywood.
Hefner said that he and his band-mates remain connected to their Louisiana roots and are grateful for the support of their fans.
"We're thankful for their continued support. Lafayette is a great place to be and a great place to be from. We look forward to returning home and playing some local shows," said Hefner, on behalf of his band.
Josh's mother is a former Lafayette Parish school teacher and his father is former school board member, Mike Hefner. Both parents eagerly shared their pride with local media.
"The whole band has been working very hard to perfect their art. It's good to see that effort rewarded," Mike Hefner told KATC Wednesday evening. Josh's mom reached out on Facebook to Lafayette radio station KTDY-FM, announcing her son's upcoming performance for the audience of the station's morning radio show host.
"KTDY was so excited to receive a Facebook message today from Mary Hefner the mother of Josh Hefner, announcing that her son who's in the band Royal Teeth, would be performing on American Idol this Thursday evening," the station posted on its website.
Later Wednesday evening, the proud mom contacted KATC with an enthusiastic comment about her son's first-ever performance before a national television audience.
"I am so proud of Josh and the other band members. I hope they have a great time performing on Idol and everyone that watches enjoys Louisiana musicians. Go Wild!" she said, referring to the band's single, "Wild", which already has started getting playing time on certain New Orleans radio stations. Royal Teeth has been touring and even played some New Orleans shows recently, including the popular Tipitina's in the French Quarter. Currently, the band is signed with Dangerbird Records.
In a telephone interview with KATC, the Royal Teeth drummer said that his performance Thursday night will be live, not taped.
The drummer's dad attributed the band's success to a "strong work ethic" and a "good moral compass." The proud father also boasted of the band's ability to "connect to the audience" with "high energy."
"They put as much energy into their 100th song as they do their first," added Josh's father, noting also that Josh had been strongly influenced by his former band director at Acadiana High School, where Hefner graduated in 2004.
The show airs Thursday night at 8 p.m. CST. on the Fox Network.