After a couple of years of doing these interviews with people about meaningful objects, I can see pretty quickly when a guest has a theme running through their choices, even if they don’t see the theme themselves. Within a few minutes of talking with Adam Turla, lead singer and songwriter of the band Murder By Death, it was apparent that his theme was “home.” He’s been in a pretty successful band for 18 years (!) and has spent lots of time touring: hotel rooms, vans, airplanes. He and his wife, cellist Sarah Balliet (also in the band), moved to Louisville a couple of years ago, and they’ve been able to feel at home here — enough to get a dog, have some houseplants, and open a restaurant, Butchertown’s Pizza LUPO.
We had a terrific conversation about what it means to take chances, get your hands dirty (literally and figuratively), what life looks like when it unfolds unexpectedly, and I even got a little song that was written for the dog, Robocop. (Check out an EP of songs devoted to Robocop here.)
On his dog:
“He means a lot to me. I’m just very smitten. He brings a certain joy to me that I guess I just didn’t have before. I love thinking about him. I used to definitely stay up really late and go out a lot and everything, and now he’s sort of anchored me at home. I’m like, ‘I’m going to go home and hang out with the dog a little,’ and it’s nice. It’s given me a sort of stability that I enjoy.”
On his car, a 1963 Galaxy 500:
“It’s a symbol of some of my philosophies, which are that everybody doesn’t always need shiny new things. Sometimes you can just get the thing that works. It just symbolizes this sort of ‘live the way you want to live, don’t just buy things cause people tell you to.'”
On opening Pizza LUPO, which included a renovation of the 1860 Butchertown building:
“We didn’t realize, one, how extensive the renovation of the building would be. Two, how extensive the process of borrowing and executing and then staffing — there’s just so much to it, to do a full-service restaurant, that is harder than I think anybody who hasn’t done it understands. I’ll say that my respect for restaurant owners and entrepreneurs has gone up in such a huge way since we have delved into this project. It’s just been an eye-opener. I’ve run businesses and done renovations and done huge projects for a long time, but a restaurant is just a huge, huge task.”