Monday, January 25, 2010

Spoon: A Slow Build To Success

From NPR's All Things Considered:

The band Spoon is a bit of a rarity in rock music — both critically acclaimed and commercially successful.

But it took more than a decade for Spoon to get there. The band came together in Austin, Texas, in 1993; five years later, it signed on with a major label, Elektra. In the sea of alternative acts of the day, Spoon wasn't able to stand out enough — at least for the label — and after one record, Elektra dropped the band.

Now that's usually where the story ends for most rock acts. But Spoon signed with a smaller label, Merge Records. And by 2000, the band finally started getting some serious attention, with a string of well-received albums:
Girls Can Tell, Kill The Moonlight, Gimme Fiction

But it was still seven more years before Spoon landed on Billboard's Top 10, with
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.

here to read or listen to the rest, as well as a couple of Spoon songs!

Years ago, I knew Spoon's lead singer and songwriter Britt Daniel when we were taking radio, television, and film classes at the University of Texas. A bunch of us went to see them play at Antone's blues club in the spring of '94, apparently right after the band was founded. Following their set, Britt came to our table, and after everybody spent a few minutes congratulating him for a great show, he told me that they had planned to do a Paul McCartney song that they had learned just for me, but couldn't quite squeeze it in. That was just fine: what they did play was exceptionally good.

A couple of years later, I finally moved away from Austin, and that was the last I heard of my classmate Britt Daniel and his band Spoon. Until these last few years, that is, thanks to NPR's seeming interest in pushing their stuff on the radio. And that makes sense. Spoon writes and plays intelligent pop rock, the kind of stuff that kids can dig, if they come across it, but not the kind of stuff big record labels market to them. NPR's college educated and culturally sophisticated adult audience, however, adrift in a sea of plastic crap music, is literally hungry for this kind of Beatlesque, Elvis Costello oriented smart pop.

I wish I was as good as these guys.

Anyway, this is a good interview. Short and sweet. Go check it out. And while you're at it, go buy their new album. I know I will.