August 4—There’s more than one BTS in the music world. There’s the pop group from South Korea, which is kind of ubiquitous, even without a tour. And then there’s the BTS of the indie rock world, Built to Spill.
The Boise-based band, which was formed 30 years ago by singer-guitarist Doug Martsch, is heavily influenced by popular guitar heroes like Neil Young and indie artists like Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr. and Butthole Surfers.
“Guitarists from some of these bands in the ’80s had a huge impact on me,” Martsch said by phone from Portland. “But again, I was heavily influenced by the folks in Boise. Scott Schmaljohn of Treepeople taught me scales. I learned a lot from Brett Nelson when he was in Built to Spill. They’re two great guitarists who were like Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page, at least for me. I was lucky to have heroes in my hometown.
Boise also had an effect on Martsch. “I grew up there and it’s an important place because that’s where my formative years were,” Martsch said. “Boise is a lot like Spokane. They’re two smaller towns than Portland and Seattle, where people tend to move to. Had to have fun when I was growing up in Boise. I saw hardcore gigs in Boise but if I wanted to see REM, I was supposed to go to Portland. But now Boise and Spokane have changed. There’s so much more to do in those two cities. There are options in those cities when it comes to seeing bands.
People can choose to catch Built to Spill on Thursday, August 11 at Lucky You Lounge. It’s an intimate show for a band with a loyal fan base and an extensive back catalog. Built to Spill boasts 10 albums with the release of their latest, “When the Wind Forgets Your Name”. Martsch downplays how difficult it is for the band to come up with a set list.
“I do my best and it helps to build a list when you have no success,” Martsch said. Well, Built to Spill doesn’t get much radio play, but its fans are hoping to hear some songs, such as “Carry the Zero” and “The Plan,” which are taken from the band’s breakthrough release, “Keep It Like a Secret” in 1999. .”
“I guess we have to play ‘Carry the Zero’ and we play it every night,” Martsch said. “Fans want to hear it, so we’re going to play ‘Carry the Zero’ and that’s our one constant. But we’re playing a few songs from ‘Keep it Like a Secret.’ I got a little tired of these songs when we played them (for a 20th anniversary tour) a few years ago, I’d love to play some weirder songs, deeper cuts, but we can’t do much- thing.
Expect Built to Spill, which also features bassist Melanie Radford and drummer Teresa Esguerra, to preview some snippets from “When the Wind Forgets Your Name,” which will be released in late September. “It’s a collection of music with various songs,” Martsch said. “Fans will have to hear the news to understand what I mean.”
Built to Spill will also add a few choice covers, which are usually reverential. BTS offers versions of tunes by Richard Hell, Cate LeBon and Bee Gees.
“We’ve always loved slipping in some of our favorite songs,” Martsch said.
Martsch, who plans to move from Boise to Portland, hopes to have time to explore Spokane before hitting the Lucky You stage.
“I only had a chance to experience Spokane before a show we did in 2017,” Martsch said. “It’s a really cool city. It’s like Boise, two cities taking off.”