There is more than one BTS in the world of music. There is the pop act from South Korea, which is somehow ubiquitous, even without touring. And then there is the BTS of the indie rock world, Built to Spill.
The Boise-based band, which was formed 30-years ago by vocalist-guitarist Doug Martsch, is heavily influenced by popular guitar heroes, like Neil Young and such independent artists such as Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr. and the Butthole Surfers.
“The guitarists from some of those bands back in the ‘80s had a huge impact on me,” Martsch said by phone from Portland. “But then again I was heavily impacted by people from Boise. Scott Schmaljohn from Treepeople taught me scales. I learned a lot from Brett Nelson when he was in Built to Spill. They are two great guitarists who were like Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page, at least to me. I was lucky to have hometown heroes.”
Boise had an effect on Martsch as well. “I grew up there and it’s a significant place since that’s where my formative years were,” Martsch said. “Boise is a lot like Spokane. They’re both cities that are smaller than Portland and Seattle, where people tend to move to. You had to make your own fun when I was growing up in Boise. I saw hardcore shows in Boise but if I wanted to see R.E.M., I had to go to Portland. But now both Boise and Spokane have changed. There’s so much more to do in both of those cities. There are options in those cities when it comes to seeing bands.”
Folks can opt to catch Built to Spill on Thursday, Aug. 11 at the Lucky You Lounge. It’s an intimate show for a band with a loyal fan base and an extensive catalog. Built to Spill is 10 albums in with the release of its 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 come up with a list when you don’t have any hits,” Martsch said. Well, Built to Spill doesn’t score much radio play but its fans hope to hear certain songs, such as “Carry the Zero,” and “The Plan,” which are from the band’s breakthrough release, 1999’s “Keep It Like a Secret.”
“I guess we have to play “Carry the Zero” and we do play it each night,” Martsch said. “Fans want to hear it so we’ll play ‘Carry the Zero’ and it’s our one constant. But we play some songs from ‘Keep it Like a Secret.’ I got a bit tired of those songs when we played them (for a 20th anniversary tour) a few years ago. I would like to play some weirder songs, some deeper cuts but we can only do so much.”
Expect Built to Spill, which also includes bassist Melanie Radford and drummer Teresa Esguerra, to preview some cuts from “When the Wind Forgets Your Name,” which will drop in late September. “It’s a collection of music with some diverse songs,” Martsch said. “The fans will have to hear the new stuff to know what I mean.”
Built to Spill will also toss in a few choice covers, which are typically reverential. BTS has been offering versions of Richard Hell, Cate LeBon and Bee Gees tunes.
“We’ve always liked slipping in some of our favorite songs,” Martsch said.
Martsch, who is considering moving from Boise to Portland, is hoping to have some time to explore Spokane prior to hitting the Lucky You stage.
“I only had the chance to check out Spokane before a show we did in 2017,” Martsch said. “It’s a really cool city. It’s like Boise, two cities that are taking off.”
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