After five flights, three bouts of jet lag, multiple equipment rentals and a couple hangovers, Most Thieves arrived in Toronto.. It’d been three weeks since they played together. The last time was in the U.K., during their second British tour in under a year. That night, in Canada, they’d support The Killers in front of at least 2,600 people. Stuart Morgan, who stood in for U2’s Adam Clayton when he was infamously too hungover to play the band’s 1993 Zoo TV gig in Sydney, was teching their bass. But that’s not the crazy part. A year and a half ago, Most Thieves didn’t even exist.
Eight days after the show, we’re sitting in Eric Rickey’s studio on West Sunset Road. That is, mostly. Singer Eric Koch, drummer Rob Whited and keyboardist Rickey are all in the flesh. Guitarist Bobby Lee Parker is in L.A.. Bassist Trevor Hurley is Skyping in from his home in England, where it’s about midnight.
We’re plowing through bullshitty, college-music-blog questions. Most Thieves started with longtime friends Whited and Koch a year and a half ago, slowly picking up and replacing members until arriving at the current quintet. Whited and Parker are both drum and guitar techs (respectively) for The Killers, which takes them to the United Kingdom all the time, which is why they met and hired Hurley.
I say bullshitty college-music-blog questions because it feels silly to be asking such rudimentary questions of a band that just got home from playing the support slot for one of the biggest bands of the global musical climate. A couple weeks before that, they played three gigs in England — less than a year after playing six U.K. dates, a couple of them as support for Killer drummer Ronnie Vannucci’s project Big Talk. So to be asking the same questions you might ask a fledgling group of 20-year-olds (which none of the Thieves are) almost seems insulting.
But it’s not. Because, based purely on musical ripeness, Most Thieves are still green. Even the first song they played together, “Prometheus,” is still in constant rotation. It’s even on their debut full-length, Unnecessary Maps, released in August. They had already hit the ground running before most of their hometown had any idea who they were.
Before you start thinking what we can’t blame you for thinking, the guys don’t deny Whited and Parker’s Killers relationship as a major tool in their new career. Vannucci took them along for their first-ever tour and, while doing sound tech for The Killers on a recent British tour, Most Thieves were offered that Toronto gig. When Whited describes it, it sounds like an intern getting offered a good assignment from his supervisor. “With the Big Talk stuff, [Vannucci] took us overseas and helped light the fire over there,” Whited says. “The mentoring Bobby and I get just from simple observation is significant. … You see how these guys operate and you understand why they’re there. It’s a huge combination to open the safe to that level of success.”
And the turns to open that safe have already started. Unnecessary Maps comes off like a sophomore or even junior effort, the slip-ups of a first release nonexistent. Though it has a big-deal publicist now, the team books its own shows and hustles its own flow. “The idea is to be a moving train,” Koch says. “We’re not waiting for a record [label] to say put out an album and go on tour.”
They already have an incredibly precise sound, anthemic and uplifting, the same reason you listen to Arcade Fire. It only sounds like The Killers on the tracks featuring Killers bassist Mark Stoermer. They’ve prepared for the next big thing.
When the questions have been asked, Rob chuckles, mentioning something about Most Thieves being a boring interview. And maybe they are. But it paints a picture of what’s really happening here. This isn’t a band with a biblically thick press-clipping scrapbook, finally getting their big break. This is a band from Las Vegas with international pedigree and, it looks like, staying power.
The Toronto set came and went in 25 minutes. Short and sweet, they called it. And it was the best show they’ve played to date. In two months, they’ll open again for The Killers at The Cosmopolitan. Twice. And in an amount of time Whited can’t divulge, they’ll play a major late-night television show. We wouldn’t be surprised if, before long, they head back across the pond, building their fan base in that curiously familiar way. “We could do a [West Coast tour],” Whited says. “And that’s cool. But let’s go to the U.K., go to the biggest little incubator in the country. It’s not easy, it’s not cheap, but it’s substantial. And that’s a fuckin’ story.”