Brent Netson of Built to Spill on the Wear and Tear of Long Tours and Truck Stop Meals
Although it's been nearly five years since Idaho indie rockers Built to Spill have released an album, the band continues to be a solid concert draw across the United States. Led by the enigmatic Doug Martsch, Built to Spill have featured several different lineups and this year is no exception.
Speaking from St. Louis and in anticipation of Thursday's show at the Granada Theater, guitarist Brent Netson talked with DC9 about the new additions to the band and how breaking in new members means some long, long practices.
Built to Spill play the Dallas area quite often.
The shows are always pretty good. I love Texas. The crowds are always pretty wild. We've never had any problems.
This time, you are playing the Granada. With music as intricate as yours, the venue's sound has to be important.
It really is, but you can't expect that every time. There are so many places that sound better than others. I think every single venue is different. I remember the Granada being fantastic. We did a show there with Dinosaur that was a real hoot.
The live shows are very renowned, spontaneous affairs. Do you use a set list?
Doug [Martsch] makes the set list right before each show. We do some impromptu stuff, but stick to the list pretty much. There are a lot of pedal settings and other technical things. A lot of stuff has to happen within the course of a song. It's good to have some kind of a plan.
You guys are on tour a lot and the shows are long. Does such have an effect on your health and your family life?
Yes, it has for me. We'll see it when touring around in vans. You spend a lot of time on the freeway, at truck stops. That kind of food is not good for you. When you are eating at all those places that people go on special occasions, that's what you are eating. I think most of us have been doing this the entire time, so we are lucky to have girlfriends and wives that have supported us.
You have been in and out of the band over the years. Are you an official permanent member now?
Yes, that happened in 2006. I came back in full time.
Is the current band changed?
We have two new guys since last year. We got a guy named Jason Albertini from a band called Helvetia. They've toured with us and opened up for us. He was our monitor and merch guy. Long time bass player Brett Nelson, he quit. The drummer, Scott Plouf, he quit as well. We have a new drummer named Steve Gere.
Were the departures of Nelson and Plouf amicable?
Yes, they just got tired of it. It's a cool job, but it can beat you up if you are just not into it. It's not easy.
You're originally from Boise, Idaho. What kind of music scene does the city have?
Well, right now there is quite a bit going on. It's different from the early days. In the early days, there was only metal bands and bar bands. Then alternative rock came along and we started having the opportunities to do our own music. That's where we came from and now there is all sorts of stuff going on there, everything you can imagine.
Are you a big Boise State football fan?
I was when I was a kid. I used to go to a lot of the games. I don't go that much anymore.
That damn blue football field gives me a headache.
The Smurf turf!