World Leader Pretend is a young rock band (likened to Radiohead, early U2) that charted #121 on CMJ college radio charts. They have opened for The White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age, and Enon.


“It’s like waking up to your alarm clock and Fear of a Black Planet is blaring in the speakers…. then you listen to a lot of Neil Diamond, and you’re alright.” Unsettled, confused, frightened- we’ve all been there---the thought, “What the hell do we do now?” resonates through young minds---World Leader Pretend’s solution is to purge their fears through music.

World Leader Pretend’s debut release, Fit for Faded (May 2003), is the ultimate remedy for angst, and an expression of pent-up determination. The album features many lush sonic layers of organic strings, jagged and unnerving guitar riffs, dreamy basslines, and eerie keyboard parts blended together over powerful drum tracks, all pulled together by the melancholy voice of lead singer Keith Ferguson.

The band’s drive, ambition, and creative force stem from its founders, Ferguson and Parker Hutchinson. Ferguson, who also plays guitar, writes and arranges the majority of the music. He and keyboardist Hutchinson share the duty of writing lyrics. With offerings of rock, pop, and electronica, they create the band’s catchy and organically melodious sound. Drummer Arthur Mintz is the backbone of the band. His over-the-top attitude combined with his ability to play sharply and with reckless abandonment simultaneously set the tone for World Leader Pretend’s incredible live shows. For almost a year, the barely twenty-one year-old members have maintained the status of one of New Orleans’s best kept secrets until now. In a town of mostly jam-band fans, World Leader Pretend has carved out its own audience with its self-effacing rock style, and many bands and fans in New Orleans are now beginning to follow suit.

Fit for Faded received rave reviews from local and national music critics. Offbeat Magazine declared it one of New Orleans’ “Albums of the Year,” and All Music Guide gave it a four-star rating. The release also managed to reach number 121 on the CMJ charts, having made significant inroads for the band at college radio. The album did particularly well along the East Coast, throughout the Southeast, and all through the Midwest. In order to capitalize on the radio and media exposure, World Leader Pretend embarked on a summer tour that brought them up the East Coast and throughout the Midwest, making a significant impact in major markets such as Chicago and New York City. So as the finish their final semester of college, the band dedicated most of fall to taking short road trips throughout the Southeast and to writing all of the material for World Leader Pretend’s sophomore follow-up, Punches. The highlight of World Leader Pretend’s fall performance schedule saw the band take the main stage with the likes of Queens of the Stone Age and The White Stripes at this year’s Voodoo Music Experience. Additionally, the band was chosen as one of seven finalists selected from over 400 bands in the Memphis chapter of The Recording Academy’s songwriting competition, and the band will compete with other finalists in a live performance to be given in mid-November.

In December, World Leader Pretend will be taking their act to the Mercada studios in New York City to record their follow-up album, Punches. Upon completion of the mixing and mastering process in early January, World Leader Pretend will embark on a four month tour throughout the Eastern portion of the country to reinforce its growing fan-base before Punches is released in late spring.

With all of these accomplishments from a band that has been together just under a year and with an average age of just 21, it would be no stretch to consider World Leader Pretend the absolute convergence of youth, vision, talent, and energy in American music today, and a band from which great things will inevitably come.


Fit for Faded - 2002

Set List

(1 hour and 15 minute set)
Panic Button, Fit for Faded, Fish, Shape-Shifter, Tax Dollars at Work, A Small Thought, Fire with Fire, The Driving Rain, Flow, (and songs from their upcoming album)

The set list varies.