James Mercer Says Shins-Decemberist Fake ‘Portlandia’ Band May Have A Future

The members of Echo Echo

The members of Echo Echo

It was the wildest fantasy of music nerds come to life.

James Mercer of the Shins, Colin Meloy of the Decemberists and Corin Tucker formerly of Sleater-Kinney got together recently to form a supergroup called Echo Echo. Unfortunately, the band, not to be confused with the Santa Ana, CA, indie rockers of the same name, didn’t play any shows, or actually record any music together.

Mostly they just sat around on a couch looking bored in a skit called “Deuce Hotel” for IFC indie comedy program Portlandia.

Mercer says the idea of making music together never actually came up, even though the three were playing the parts of fictional band members.

“We never talked about it,” he tells Spinner while doing press in advance of the Shins’ fourth album, Port of Morrow, set for release on March 20.

“We kind of just got through it. It’s strange for us being filmed and stuff. We had fun hanging out and stuff, but we never talked about starting a band.”

In the skit, which is designed to parody too-cool boutique hotels like Portland’s Ace Hotel, main Portlandia characters Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein (ex-Sleater-Kinney, and current lead guitarist-singer for Wild Flag) are hotel desk clerks who act like starstruck groupies when Echo Echo check in.

Unfortunately, things take a dark turn when the band’s rooms aren’t ready, which sends Armisen and Brownstein into a lobby-trashing rage complete with tables being overturned, a fake stag’s head getting torn apart and Brownstein swinging precariously over a fireplace while the band runs out of the building.

Still, even though “Echo Echo” didn’t actually talk about making music while they were together, Mercer hasn’t discounted the possibility. In fact, he’s pretty warm to the idea.

“I don’t know,” he starts. “See, now I’m starting to think about, we’ve got to do this…”

They just needs to stay out of bad hotels.

This story was originally published Jan. 27, 2012 on Spinner Canada (RIP).


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