The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

Get to Know: Murder by Death

Friday, August 12: 1:32 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Murder by Death will perform at the Rock Hall on Wednesday, August 17th.

Murder by Death formed in Bloomington, Indiana in 2000 under the name “Little Joe Gould.” The group released their first EP of the same name in 2001 but shortly thereafter changed their name to Murder by Death, which the band felt was a better representation of their unique sound. Murder by Death has since released four more EPs and five studio albums. Their latest album, Good Morning, Magpie, was released in April 2010 and charted on the Billboard Top 200. Murder by Death’s music has spanned across many genres over the years, including rock and alternative country, while also incorporating dark rock and roll sounds. The band currently includes Adam Turla (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Matt Armstrong (bass guitar), Sarah Balliet (cello, keyboards), Dagan Thorgerson (drums, percussion), and Scott Brackett (keyboards, accordion, coronet), and performing live at the Rock Hall for the first time as part of the Museum's free Summer in the City concert series.We caught up with Turla for some background on the band and thoughts on performing at the Museum for the first time. 

How did Murder by Death form?
We formed by people coming to parties at my house when I was 19. We found out that we were musicians with an interest in making some unique music.
It seems that most of the band is still located in the Midwest. What have been the pros/cons of being a band from Bloomington?
Yes most of us still live in Bloomington, Indiana. We love it!  Being from the Midwest allows you to be in a great starting place for tours- you don't have to drive all the way across the country to begin a tour. It's also a lovely place to live that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, so living on a meager musicians salary is more reasonable.

In terms of your songwriting, what comes first for you- the music or the subject of your songs?
I write the melodies and lyrics first then add the music with the band. We try to twist the songs into shape so it becomes something weirder and more unique than it started.

How do you feel about performing particularly in Cleveland at the Rock Hall?
Excited! We have visited before and its a great collection of artifacts and oddities from rock and roll over the years. Should be a fun show.
If you could jam on-stage with any musician or band from the past or present, who would you choose and why?
I once had a dream that we were playing with James Brown. I'm not sure that would work in real life but it would sure be something to talk about!


Related: Click here to check out Murder by Death's video for "As Long As There is Whiskey in the World," and be sure not to miss them perform live on the Rock Hall's outside plaza stage with Buried Wires on Wednesday, August 17th at 7 p.m.! Click here for details.

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