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- Posted on Jul 27th 2009 4:00PM by Steve Baltin
But as one would imagine for a band that has built such a reputation, BTS take the art of the cover song very seriously. "We're like a real cover band when we do covers -- we try to do it straight up for the most part," Martsch tells Spinner. "We don't make a joke out of it. We're trying to convey how great that song was in the first place."
Sometimes, no matter how much Martsch loves a song he can't do it justice. A perfect example is how he's recently been digging the Bee Gees, rediscovering the seminal soundtrack to 'Saturday Night Fever.' But when BTS hit the road again, don't expect a little 'Jive Talkin',' or 'Staying Alive.' "I think those vocal stylings might just be beyond me," he says, laughing.
Among other acts he's never been able to cover for different reasons is Bad Brains. "I've done some stuff where the singers have some attitude and stuff, and I try and do it a little bit, but there's no way I can pull off that attitude like the Bad Brains."
So, how does he determine what he can cover, like M.I.A.'s 'Paper Planes'? "I stumbled across that song, I'd never heard it before, we were in Europe touring, and the bus driver was listening to this horrible pop radio, and then one day that song came on. I was like, 'Whoa, this is cool sounding,'" he recalls. "I realized it was M.I.A., who'd I heard a little bit of and always had a kind of respect for anyway and the song just kind of blew me away. Then I became obsessed with it, started playing it a little bit and then learned the words. It just sort of happens a lot of times. It takes us over and next thing we know, we're doing it."
For all of the covers they've done over the years, Martsch has never heard back from any of the artists. The closest he came was feedback from Neil Young, or so he was told. "One time we were in Europe, someone came up to me and was talking about our Neil Young cover and was like, 'Yeah, Neil Young said he really liked it,'" he says. "It seemed weird to me, but seemed kind of cool. So I looked it up on the internet, I couldn't find it, and finally I found something about Neil Young liked the Built to Spill cover. I looked the article up and it was the guy that had written it telling me about it. So, I don't believe that one."