Artist of the day: Spiller
Spiller are a sream-lined power pop group that recalls the indie scene of the mid to late ’90s (think Pavement and Nirvana’s In Utero era). They have been away for a while (at least in this incarnation) but have returned, and have hit the ground running, with a show Saturday at New World Brewery. Founding members John McNicholas (guitar and vocals) and Marcus McCord (bass) have reunited and are now joined by Vinnie Cosentino (drums), of Tampa’s Palantine.
McNicholas, the band’s primary songwriter, lives in Atlanta, and also plays solo and with bands there. We talked to him about Spiller’s upcoming return to the Tampa scene.
Is this reunion a one-off gig, or something you plan to continue with in the future?
We’re definitely back. We’re playing Tropical Heatwave, and we’re looking at two or three other things for the summer. We’re gonna play as often as we can. Right now I’m working in Atlanta, so that slows practice down a little bit. Moving forward, we’ll try to play shows every couple of months. We’re working on some new songs.
What was it that made you decide to re-form the band?
We just started talking about it and it seemed like a fun thing to do. Marcus and myself, the core of the original band missed playing together. I’m down there a lot so it was a fun thing to play some of the old songs and work on some new things.
What brought Vinnie Cosentino into the fold?
We’ve known Vinnie forever. When we were trying to figure out who would play drums for this reunion, initially we wanted to involve one of the older drummers, but he just didn’t have the time to do it. When he couldn’t work it into his schedule, our first thought was to get Vinnie, because we used to play with his band Lukali all the time. We were a huge fan of his drumming, and he’s a great guy. We thought he’d be a perfect fit.
Have you been musically active on your own in Atlanta, or have you been saving yourself for Spiller?
I’ve been very active. I’ve been on at least six or seven records since I left, both my own and other bands that I play with. This is Spiller’s first gig since 2000. Spiller never really broke up; we just added some guys and changed the name to Misfortune 500. We put out an EP. After that we just sort of stopped playing, ’cause everybody got busy. I put out a couple of solo EPs .Some of those guys also played on that. Then I relocated to Atlanta to work. We never really broke up; we just morphed into a few things. Finally, with me being out of town most all the time, it stopped.
Does Spiller plan to record in the future?
Absolutely. In fact, for the Heatwave show, we hope to have a new song or two. And we’ll probably record stuff as we write it and release it as we get things together using the digital business model: release something when we have something.
Do you plan to do the same thing when you work on new material?
Absolutely. In fact, I’m in a band in Atlanta called Supervisor Of The Loveless Average. We’re working on our second record, and one of the things I wanna continue from how that band writes is every time we get together, we try to come up with a totally new idea from scratch and sort of finish it as much as possible. So I’m hoping to do something like that with Spiller, where someone comes up with a riff, someone else has an idea and we literally try to finish it in a few hours.
What else can people expect from Spiller in the future?
Going forward, we’re just gonna go out, do what we always did and have some fun.
-- Aaron Lepley, tbt*