The end has come for Murder by Death. Don’t panic, it’s only for a few months, but after seemingly endless touring to support 2015’s Big Dark Love, the Indiana road warriors are going to take a little break at the conclusion of their current spring tour, which hits Irving Plaza in NYC on Friday and Rough Trade in Brooklyn on Monday.
“We’ve been doing this thing seriously for about 15 years, and aside from a time in 2014 where we didn’t tour as much because we were writing Big Dark Love and I was also completely restoring a 140-year-old house, we never just said ‘hey, let’s just take a break and not do anything to do with the band for several months’” said frontman Adam Turla. “That’s never happened. So the idea is to just say ‘okay, we’re gonna take six months off.’”
Of course, six months off for this crew is relative. It’s not about lounging about and catching up on Netflix.
“There’s still going to be stuff happening,” Turla said. “I’m working on a really ambitious concept thing that I can’t talk about yet, but it’s something that’s going to happen next year. And there are things that will be sort of in the background, but there’s not going to be all the touring. And that doesn’t mean that I can’t sit down and write songs sometimes. I like the idea of the luxury of writing a song rather than having it be a forced thing. The idea is to get into a different mindset and see if that does anything for me personally and for the band.”
No matter what you do in life, it’s essential to reset the batteries every now and then, but it’s especially important for a hard-touring band that isn’t traveling from city to city in private jets. Turla recalls a recent jaunt that saw them play a show in Portland, Oregon, get in their van at 1am, and hit the road for 12 hours straight in order to make it in time for their next gig in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“No stops, no meals and you lose an hour,” he said. “So we just drove and we didn’t sleep. And then we played the show. I was as tired as I’ve ever been on stage, and we’ve done plenty of shows like that, but it was a really fun show and we got through it. We played it, the audience was great and it’s hard to be upset at how many hours you’re working when you show up and the show’s sold out on a Monday night and people are happy. You just find something, you make it work and push forward, and I’ll forget about that drive in six months or something.”
And in a stroke of good fortune for Turla and company, their fanbase is a loyal one, so no touring or new music for a few months isn’t going to be a kiss of death for MBD, and the band knows it. It wasn’t always that way.
“I used to worry about that more and so we kept pushing,” Turla said. “I feel that you have to earn it, and you have to keep earning it twice a year for your whole career. You have to be doing something regularly that’s interesting to people, whether it’s your release of an album or a tour or even just one show that gets the imagination going. Just something. So for me, it’s a matter of wanting to acknowledge the fact that we’re lucky. But people get it.”
So after April 24 in Cleveland, Murder by Death are taking a vacation. And Adam Turla already has the first day off planned.
“I have a tradition,” he said. “We keep a bottle of champagne, something classy, like 10 to 15 dollars. (Laughs) We keep one in the fridge for when we get home, and basically the tradition is I walk in, I sort my mail, which is a ritual that calms me, and then I sit and drink champagne while I watch some really stupid movie on TV. And the dumbest thing will be the most entertaining thing in the world. It’s a great ritual. And the next day, not setting an alarm is such a luxury.”
Murder by Death plats Irving Plaza in NYC on Friday, April 15 (For tickets, click here) and Rough Trade in Brooklyn on Monday, April 18 (For tickets, click here)