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Murder by Death comin’ to SLC 3.3.09

February 22, 2009


Desert Series Tour

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

@The Bar Deluxe (668 South State Street, Salt Lake City, (801) 521-5255)

MbDI first heard Murder by Death (MbD) from my friend Whit’s ipod.  After one listen I couldn’t stop.  The name “Murder by Death” may sound like a death metal band but not quite.  MbD have a sound exhumed from the depths of America’s underbelly.  It’s as if Edgar Allen Poe started doing cowboy poetry.  These thematic storytellers carve out an Americana style of their own that both Johnny Cash and Tiger Army would appreciate.

For the Desert Series Tour MbD will be playing two of their albums in their entirety; Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them and Red of Tooth and Claw. “The story begins with the anti-hero’s younger days in Red of Tooth… and culminates in a battle between good and evil set within a small desert town in the album Who Will Survive.”  MbD is also bringing in their original keyboardist, Vincent Edwards, for this 21-song set.

The first time I saw MbD was when they were opening in Salt Lake City for a band…uh, not worth mentioning.  MbD lit that place on fire!  Adam Turla (MbD’s front man) switched out guitars mid-set for one that had the appearance of flames coming out the end.  Tapping my foot, nodding my head, clapping my hands, and singing voice raw.  I only lament that they didn’t play a longer set.  That night was the same night their Red of Tooth and Claw album came out.  I bought it along with a t-shirt and listened to it on the way to work that night.

Comin’ Home is the first song out of the gate.  “By the light of the moon, I’m comin’ home.  Howlin’ all the way, I’m comin’ home.  On my hands and knees, I’m comin’ home.  I know when I’ve been beat, yeah I’m comin’ home.” Turla’s vocals somehow dropped an octave as the respective instruments and sounds have come together as never before.  The music in Red of Tooth and Claw tells a tale riddled with mythology, religiosity, boots, blood, murder, lust, and mud…and of course, whiskey.  I really enjoy all of MbD’s albums and Red of Tooth and Claw made the #1 spot in my “Best Albums of 2008.”  I’m so stoked for the show!  See ya there.

Keep reading.  The Volitionmag interview Adam Turla from Murder by Death:

Left to Right: Adam Turla, Sarah Balliet, Dagan Thogerson, Matt Armstrong

Left to Right: Adam Turla, Sarah Balliet, Dagan Thogerson, Matt Armstrong

(VM) Why did you decide to go with a 2 album set for this tour rather than an eclectic set of your most popular or favorite songs?

(Turla) Our old piano player Vincent mentioned that he wanted to go out with us again (its been 5 years) and we thought that it would a cool way to tie it all together since the story of our latest album (red of tooth and claw) ties into the last album he wrote and toured with us on (who will survive…). we’ve been practicing all month getting him up to snuff and rememebering some old songs as well as working on editing a huge video program to project behind us during the performances on this tour.

(VM) What’s the best part about being on tour?  Worst part?

(Turla) Well free whiskey never hurts. mostly its being able to support yourself (barely) doing what we want to do.

(VM) How has your education (formal and/or personal) influenced the music?

(Turla) I studied religion and english in college- the religion has lent some flair to my lyrics (a lot of wild almost magical happenings appear in our songs) and the english degree has helped me (I hope) from being too cliche.

(VM) Who or what (musical or otherwise) has and/or does inspire your music?  Specifically, what inspired the Red of Tooth and Claw and Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them albums?

(Turla) I love the books of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway. I love movies by Terry Gilliam, Jeunet, and Hitchcock. I like the blend of magic and realism, the impossible seeming almost possible. Oh and who could forget Arnold Schwarzenegger?  He captures all of these things.

(VM) What song or songs have closely paralleled your life or moments of

your life?

(Turla) If you mean our songs I would say the most real ones are brother, Shiola, Boy Decide, Spring Break 1899.  If you mean other peoples songs I am gonna have to say “Funky Broadway”.

(VM) Many artists seek to influence their listener’s with their

music.  In contrast, how has your music changed or influenced your life?

(Turla) It’s become my life. “Band first”. My schedule is determined by the bands schedule. We didn’t expect to do this as a job but now we really enjoy it.

Article and Interview by Noel Koons

Photos by Chad Phillips




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