The members of the Huntington Beach-based band Runner Runner get that question a lot. After all, the King of Late Night played an indirect part in their rise to fame, and a Google search of the terms "David Letterman" plus "Runner Runner" netted 15,600 matches as of last week.
Runner Runner, which formed two years ago, is slated to have its self-titled debut album released this fall on C.E. Music, a new label overseen by Letterman's media company Worldwide Pants Inc. The band's manager, Jim Recor, is a partner in Worldwide Pants, and "Runner Runner" will be the label's first release.
Considering that Letterman helped launch Hootie and the Blowfish's career when he declared them his "favorite new band," that seems like a powerful connection. As Runner Runner prepares to embark on a national tour next week, though, the members are doing their best to put their success in perspective.
"I look in the mirror and I just feel intensely grateful that we get to do what we love," Munters said.
And so, in the Letterman tradition, here are the Top 10 Things You Should Know About Runner Runner:
1. They will rock you. The "Runner Runner" album doesn't offer much in the way of slow, introspective ballads. From the pounding opening beats of the first track, "So Obvious," the band establishes a groove and rarely lets up.
Listen closely throughout the album and you'll hear echoes of other Southern California bands, from the Beach Boys to Sugar Ray. You'll also hear lyrics that veer from be-all-you-can-be earnestness ("When you think you're falling/Just get up") to loopy humor ("Loving you only gave me paper cuts").
The "So Obvious" single is scheduled for radio release June 15.
The band's spokeswoman, Heidi Ellen Robinson-Fitzgerald, considers it an ideal summer tune.
"It's the kind of music that you want to put it on in your car, crank it up as loud as you can crank up the radio and go as fast as you can down Pacific Coast Highway," she said.
2. They really are in it for the money. Not just for the money, mind you. But Munters is quick to note that unlike some hardcore bands, Runner Runner doesn't shun the notion of a wide audience. Although the word "punk" shows up liberally in the band's press materials, the songs on "Runner Runner" are long on ear candy and short on grunge.
"Working on these songs has made me realize there is a thin line between punk and power pop, and that is a No. 1 song," Munters said. "And we're going to cross that line."
A No. 1 song may be in the offing for Runner Runner, but the band, which has appeared in the Vans Warped Tour and other festivals, still has a ways to go before it headlines stadiums.
On the tour starting next week, Runner Runner will open for Amber Pacific and Cartel at medium-sized venues; the first Southern California stop will be June 8 at Chain Reaction in Anaheim.
One hopeful sign, according to Robinson-Fitzgerald, is the more than 8 million plays the band has garnered on its MySpace page.
Bailey, meanwhile, is under no delusion that it won't be hard work.
"People think if you're in a band, you just party and do drugs," he said. "But like any other business, when you're self-employed, you put in a lot more hours than the guy who just clocks in 9 to 5."