Bands Need Time to Ripen

by | Apr 21, 2008

Paste Magazine asked Ben Gibbard, lead singer of Death Cab for Cutie to visit Big Sur and meditate on life, his life specifically.


Gibbard’s essay is a good read. I could point to several different passages, but I like this one about fighting the accelerated pace of things.

I can unequivocally say that I’m so glad we were one of the last bands to break before the Internet got crazy. We actually had some time to develop. I hate hearing people say, “I went and saw this band—everybody’s saying they’re really great—but I went and saw them last night and they weren’t any good live.” You know why they weren’t good? Because they’ve never done more than five shows in a row, and now they’re two weeks into a tour—their first national tour. They don’t know how to get to the shows, they don’t know how to sleep right, they don’t know where to find food. They don’t understand how to make a set list somebody cares about. You can’t blame these bands for not being great yet. We were terrible when we first started playing. Our shows were so fucking boring.

For the opposite of boring look at this cinematic eight and half minute video featuring a song about a stalker from the band’s new album, Narrow Stairs (in stores May 13th).

There’s another important piece of Gibbard’s writing worth examining.

Before I made a living playing music, I used to work shitty job after shitty job and think “Man, as soon as I’m able to make a living in music, it’s really going to come together then, it’s really going be amazing.”

The point here is find a way to be happy where you are. Enjoy your path, because it’s never ending. Even when you make it as an artist, you’re still just a guy walking a path, living a life with ups and downs and all the rest.