Spoon is an American indie rock band from Austin, Texas. The band is led by Britt Daniel (vocals, guitar); Jim Eno (drums); Rob Pope (bass) and Eric Harvey (keyboard, guitar, percussion, backing vocals).
The band was formed in late 1993 by lead singer/guitarist Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno. The original lineup also included Greg Wilson (a.k.a. Wendel Stivers of the song “Theme to Wendel Stivers”) on guitar and Andy McGuire on bass. The name Spoon was chosen to honor the 1970s German avant-garde band Can whose hit song “Spoon” was the theme song to the movie Das Messer. Eno describes Spoon’s music as “rock ‘n’ roll.”
Spoon’s recording debut came with the vinyl release of The Nefarious EP in May 1994. In 1995 the band signed with Matador Records, and within a year, Spoon released its first full-length LP Telephono in 1996. The album was met with mixed reviews, with critics often comparing their sound with the likes of the Pixies and Wire. But comparisons aside, Telephono showed signs of a band slipping free of its influences, mixing post-punk with a blend of pop.
Less than a year later, Spoon released its second EP, Soft Effects, which served as a transition to their more distinctive, honed sound. Unlike its predecessors, Soft Effects was less noisy and brash, showcasing a more sophisticated, minimalist approach.
In late 1996, Spoon was playing a gig at Denton, Texas, club the Argo with a local band called Maxine’s Radiator, for whom Joshua Zarbo was playing bass at the time. Zarbo was invited to audition for Daniel and Eno in 1997, and subsequently became the band’s full-time bassist until his permanent departure in 2007.
Major label debut
After the release of Soft Effects, Spoon signed to Elektra Records in 1998. Through this major label the band released A Series of Sneaks in May 1998. The album did not sell as well as the label had hoped; merely four months after the release of Sneaks, Spoon’s Elektra A&R man Ron Laffitte quit his job and that week the band was dropped from the label. Angry with Laffitte, who had promised to stick with the band, and with Elektra CEO Sylvia Rhone, Spoon recorded a vindictive yet humorously-titled two-song concept single entitled “The Agony of Laffitte.” They lamented their experience with the two executives and questioned their motivations with the songs “The Agony of Laffitte” and “Laffitte Don’t Fail Me Now.”
Spoon signed with the indie rock label Merge Records and released the Love Ways EP in 2000. They did this without bassist Josh Zarbo, who had briefly left the band. In 2001, Spoon released its third LP entitled Girls Can Tell. The new record was a success, selling more copies than both their previous LP releases combined. The band’s next release in 2002, Kill the Moonlight saw similar success. Kill the Moonlight also contained the single, “The Way We Get By,” which was popularized by its placement on the teen drama The O.C. Their next album, Gimme Fiction, was released in May 2005, and debuted at number 44 on the Billboard 200, selling more than 160,000 copies.
Spoon’s Britt Daniel collaborated with Brian Reitzell to compose and arrange the soundtrack for the 2006 film Stranger than Fiction. The soundtrack consists chiefly of music performed by Spoon, and according to the liner notes of the official soundtrack, Brian Reitzell collaborated with Britt Daniel to compose the score, while also adapting several tracks from Kill the Moonlight and Gimme Fiction into instrumental versions of the songs.
Their most recent album, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga was released July 10, 2007, and debuted at number 10 on the Billboard 200. Since the release of Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga and the hit single “The Underdog”, Spoon has performed on late night talk shows, such as The Late Show With David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson, and Last Call with Carson Daly, as well as the PBS show Austin City Limits. They were also musical guests on Saturday Night Live on October 6, 2007, where they performed “The Underdog” and “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb”.
“I Turn My Camera On”, from Gimme Fiction, was featured in the second season of Veronica Mars, as well as on the pilot episode of Bones, and 4 May 2008 episode of The Simpsons. “Don’t Make Me a Target” and “Don’t You Evah” from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga have been featured on Chuck. Adam Buxton used the song “Don’t Make Me a Target” for a segment of the pilot of his BBC 3 series Meebox. “I Summon You,” from Gimme Fiction, was featured in the sixth season of Scrubs, in the episode, “My Perspective“, as well as in Season 2 of Veronica Mars in the episode “Rashard and Wallace Go to White Castle“. “Don’t You Evah” and “I Turn My Camera On” have become popular on YouTube as dance soundtracks for the Japanese robot Keepon, accumulating over two million hits. The song “Take A Walk” from Girls Can Tell was featured on the soundtrack to the popular video game “Matt Hoffman’s Pro BMX 2”. The song “The Underdog” was featured in the film Cloverfield, and included in the movie’s soundtrack, Rob’s Party Mix. It was also featured in Episode 10 of the fourth season of Numb3rs, as well as the movie 17 Again.