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Interview:
Built To Spill is still built to last
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

Doug Martsch acknowledges that Built To Spill's latest album, "Untethered Moon," took a circuitous and not particularly hurried path to completion.

Work actually started on the Idaho rockers' eighth album shortly after the group finished touring to promote 2009's "There Is No Enemy," but along the way BTS' rhythm section quit, and then their replacements left the band, leading to wholesale changes and a bit of an overhaul that delayed both the recording and arrival of "Untethered Moon."

"It took us a couple of years to figure out who the band was and work out the songs -- and retool some of them and write some new ones," says singer-guitarist Martsch, 46, who founded BTS during 1992 in Boise. "We've been working, but it just takes a long time to get things done these days." BTS wound up recording 16 songs for the project, and Martsch says that "I really thought we'd make a double album" before he chose 10 of the tracks to comprise the new album.

"Just trying to sequence it, I couldn't make it through all 16 songs. I kept getting bored," he says with a laugh. "Some of them started sounding like other songs and I was thinking, 'Oh, more of this stuff. So we ended up taking six songs off and shortening it, and I think it's a better album this way."

Martsch -- whose wife, Karena Youtz, writes lyrics with him for the band's songs -- says BTS' personnel issues were "kind of a surprise," a combination of some members who "were just done playing music" and others who didn't want to be part of an active, touring band. But he's happy with current drummer Steve Gere and bassist Jason Albertini, who joined BTS during January of 2013.

"Jason had been the roadie for a band that had opened for us, and Steve was kind of a friend of ours," Martsch says. "They're younger guys, a lot younger than us, in their 30s. They were on the bus when the two guys before them quit and everyone got wind of what happened and they just joined the band.

"I don't even know if I asked them to join. We just kind of said, 'You'll be the drummer, you'll be the bass player' and it was an unbelievably smooth transition. They were guys I trusted already and always wanted to make music with. So it's been exciting to work with two of my favorite musicians."

Built To Spill, Clarke and the Himselfs

Thursday, May 28. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit.

Tickets are $20.

Call 313-961-6358 or visit www.saintandrewsdetroit.com.


Web Site: www.saintandrewsdetroit.com

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