It’s been over ten years since Bloomington, IN based band Murder By Death got their start. Back then the band was known as Little Joe Gould and they consistently toured Midwest college towns making a name for themselves.
A big hit in my backyard, Champaign, IL, the band made regular stops to the area and built up quite a fan base over the years.
Little Joe Gould went on to become Murder By Death and have released eight full length albums, the most recent 2012’s Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon, their first on respected Chicago label Bloodshot Records.
The new record, their first featuring contributions from newer member Scott Brackett (formerly of Okkervil River and Shearwater), was released to favorable response including praise in Billboard, Paste and of course Innocent Words.
We had a chance to catch up with Murder By Death bassist Matt Armstrong from the road and talk to him about the new album and tour.
Innocent Words: You’ve had an impressive career since those early days, not to mention a long one by today’s standards. Do you have a recipe for your longevity?
Matt Armstrong: We’ve tried very hard not to repeat ourselves musically. We figured if it wasn’t fresh and interesting to us then how could we expect fans to care about what we’re doing? We’ve been very lucky to have fans that understand and appreciate that and stick with us.
IW: A lot of great bands have come out of your hometown Bloomington, IN. What is it about that college town which produces great music?
Armstrong: I think some of it has to do with being young and out of the house. You’re constantly meeting new people and getting turned onto new music and art and things like that. You make new friends that have diverse talents. In our case, not only did we find each other, but we also made a lot of friends who make great art. We still work with those people for album art and shirt designs and things like that to this day. College towns have a great mix of youthful idealism and resources.
IW: Over the years of touring, what have been some of your most memorable moments?
Armstrong: There have been so many. Friends we’ve made, seeing the world, getting hammered with The Pogues, Disneyland, haunted houses…the list goes on. Wait for the book to come out!
IW: Any worst moments?
Armstrong: There have also been many of those. Food poisoning, deer hitting the van, black ice, a wheel falling off the van, being robbed…. As cheesy as it sounds though, all of those snafus have made us stronger in some way.
IW: How is this tour for the new album, Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon going for you?
Armstrong: It’s been great. Having a blast.
IW: What can a Murder By Death fan look forward to who has never seen you live?
Armstrong: Nudity. Explosions. Car chases. Adult situations.
Take a listen to “Lost River” http://bloodshotrecords.com/resources/mp3_mbd_lostriver.mp3
Murder By Death will be Co-headlining with Man Man. Doors open at 7 p.m., tickets are $15 in advance and $17 at the door. Ticket info: http://thehighdive.com/
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