Built To Spill Side-Project Boise Cover Band Announces ‘Unoriginal Artists’ LP – Shares “Ashes To Ashes” (Bowie) Cover

Built To Spill side-project Boise Cover Band has announced the first-ever digital & vinyl release of its sole album, Unoriginal Artists (due March 19, 2021 via Ernest Jenning Record Co.). To ring in the announcement, they’ve shared their version of David Bowie‘s “Ashes To Ashes.” Check it out below…

The one-off project convened in 2002 to record seven covers of everyone from David Bowie to Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band. The album was previously available exclusively as a tour-only CD, and subsequently as a bootleg.

Boise Cover Band’s Unoriginal Artists is basically a Built to Spill album, the vision of its founding member Doug Martsch.

In 2002 while Built to Spill was on hiatus, Doug was inviting various local musician friends to his home studio for improvised jam sessions. Eventually he settled on guitarist John Mullin, long time BTS sound man Ian Waters on drums and his former Treepeople bandmate Scott Schmaljohn on guitar. Doug played bass. After a while they lost interest in improvising and decided to learn a few covers.

When Scott no longer had time for the project he was replaced by boise guitar player Ned Evett. While Doug, John , and Ian were ok musicians Ned was a world-class virtuoso, winner of the 2003 North American Guitar competition and inventor of the glass-necked fretless guitar which he plays on the album.

No one seems to remember exactly how long the band existed, maybe a couple months. There were no ambitions, it was all just for fun. They played the Pretenders song “Back On The Chain Gang” but without first listening to the original, relying only on memory. There was talk of maybe playing a show or two but the band ended up never performing live. When everyone’s lives got too busy for the band they made this record and called it quits.

It was recorded on Doug’s 16 track 1/2 tape machine in the same room where the band had always rehearsed, a garage behind his house that his three-year-old son had named the Man House because it had been built for humans, not for lions or elephants. Long time Built to Spill producer Phil Ek engineered the live tracking sessions and then Doug finished the record alone, adding more guitars, some keyboards, lead vocals, and the backing vocal parts that the other band members had been singing during rehearsals. He mixed it alone and Up Records executive Pete Ritchy designed the K-Tel style cover and released a few hundred CD’s on his unofficial side label Jo-Ri. Built to Spill sold them on tour and that was that.

And then seventeen years later Doug asked his friends at EJRC if they could make it available again because it is probably his favorite record he ever made.

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2 Responses

  1. That is amazing, I first seen built to spill in 04 and used to have and love that CD so much. I totaled my car and have never been able to find a copy. This just made my year. The cover of strange is otherworldly the delusions were freaking great but Doug is a perfectionist it just always stuck with me. I will definitely be first in line

  2. This is probably Bu far my fave of the BTS catalogue… Ive been a fan since ’99, and was absolutely blown away by Keep It Like A Secret… Ever since that record ive been keeping my eyes and ears pealed, always looking forward to Doug’s artistic outlook/interpretation of things.. I just happened to stumble across “boise cover band” and the story behind its inception and it feels like i just stumble upon a treasure chest of sorts…. Doug never fails to impress, intrigue and flat out vlow me away with this talents…


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