For a band fast approaching its 25th anniversary, the members of Spoon find it hard to shake the label of “overnight success.”
Formed in 1993 by singer Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno within the competitive confines of the Austin, Texas, music scene, critical success came early to the band, arriving alongside their 1996 debut disc “Telephono.” Commercial success came with 1997’s “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.”
That success continues with their latest, “Hot Thoughts,” released in March. While it has so far failed to land a single with the same mainstream impact of their 1997 breakthrough hit “The Underdog,” the album marks the band’s fourth consecutive debut on the Billboard Top Albums Top 10 chart.
Longtime bass player Rob Pope says success hasn’t really changed the group’s mentality.
“It changed our ability to stay in the studio for as long as we want to,” Pope says in an interview ahead of the band’s stop at the Ritz in Raleigh Sunday night. “In the early days of the band, there were budgetary considerations that had to be thought about, and success helps with those things now. I think over the years it has created an environment where we are really able to take our time and focus on making the records the way we want them to be.”
Well into its third decade as a working band, Spoon isn’t known for rock ‘n’ roll excess. It’s hard to boil any band down to a one-word descriptor, but “steady” is as good as any for this one. And while none of the band’s albums quite sound the same – “Hot Thoughts” is notable for not featuring an acoustic guitar for the first time in the group’s recording history – Daniel’s vocals lend a comfortable foundation for the group to build around. That consistency is also a factor when it comes to spending months on the road with the same four people.
“I think the key for us is just having a mutual respect among the band members. It’s paying attention to one another and just knowing when to not get into one another’s (expletive),” Pope says with a laugh. “We treat one another like adults, because we are adults, and we still manage to go out on the road and have fun. It still feels like a friendship.”
Even after years on stage, Pope says the band still strives to make concertgoers feel like they are experiencing something new.
“We’re putting a lot of thought into this (tour),” he says. “We’ve spent the last five days here in Austin putting together the show, really working on what the show will look like and sound like.
“The band is sounding tougher and more dangerous than it has in a long time. We’re pulling out some of our older material and worked up new arrangements for them, to bring them into new territories and keep it interesting for the fans. We want people to walk away from the show with their minds blown. Otherwise, why bother?”
When: 8 p.m. Sunday
Where: The Ritz, 2820 Industrial Drive, Raleigh