The first thing Spoon drummer Jim Eno says during his phone interview with OnMilwaukee.com is, "I really love Milwaukee."
Right. He probably says that to every journalist he interviews with, switching out city names as needed.
"No, really," he continues. "Can I tell you my Summerfest story?"
The interview seems to have suddenly switched direction, but when a member of one of Austin's finest indie exports wants to talk up Milwaukee on the record, you let him.
"Our record ("Ga, Ga, Ga, Ga, Ga," Merge Records) was coming out that next week," he says, referring to Spoon's July 5 Summerfest appearance. "Our record had leaked, and every show we played as we got closer to the actual release date, more and more people were singing the words and knew all the songs, but it just sort of culminated with that Milwaukee show, which was pretty awesome. It was that night, to me, that I thought to myself, 'Wow, I think this record is going to do really well. All these kids seem really into these new songs.' It was pretty cool and we had a really good show."
It's impressive to hear that the Big Gig maintains a resonating impression on the band -- a classy little quartet fronted by Britt Daniel and rounded out by Eric Harvey, Rob Pope and Eno -- as it's getting calls from the Big Apple. Spoon is scheduled to play Saturday Night Live this Saturday, Oct. 6 with host Seth Rogan ("Superbad," "Knocked Up"). It's the band's first appearance and Eno admits he's a little nervous.
"It's a pretty difficult thing to get, and the history of it is just awesome," he says. "I remember watching it growing up, and now we're going to be on it ... it's just big."
As far as he knows, no one from the band has gotten the cue to participate in any skits, but he's more than fine with that.
"I really don't need my acting debut to happen on live TV."
Two days later, on Monday, Oct. 8, Spoon arrives in Milwaukee for a highly anticipated Pabst Theater performance with Chicago's The Ponys. Given the close proximity to the recent crowd conduct debate that began after an indifferent Ryan Adams scolded his Pabst Theater audience for shouting at the stage and requesting songs, we couldn't help but ask Spoon for thoughts on the subject. Was Adams being a baby or are crowd requests blatantly annoying to a band?
"Yelling out song requests is usually pretty fun for us," Eno says. "We really get off on interacting with the crowd -- it makes you feel like you're not just playing in front of a bunch of mannequins ... which we've done before."
He says Spoon will sometimes readjust its set for requests or play them during the encore. And yet again, he reiterates his local love.
"Milwaukee crowds are really great. We're very excited to be back."
With the exception of last year's Summerfest slot, the only venue the band's played here was the Cactus Club back in the late '90s. Although Eno says he loved it -- as well as owner Eric Uecke -- it's great to watch the band grow into larger spaces like The Pabst Theater.
OnMilwaukee.com staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.
As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When OnMilwaukee.com offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”