By Stephen CarlickNow that Death Cab for Cutie frontman Benjamin Gibbard is basking in the glow of his debut solo album, Former Lives, it seemed like the perfect time to chat with the musician about his viewpoint on issues pertaining not just to his band, but to him, personally.
While Gibbard is now on tour supporting the solo album, he explains that life on the road isn't all roses, revealing that Death Cab actually almost called it a day after one disastrous show.
"We played on Halloween in 2001, in Baltimore. We had one of the worst fights as a band we'd ever had, to such an extent that I wasn't expecting to see [band member] Chris Walla the next day," Gibbard tells Exclaim! "I was expecting him to be on a plane, a train, or a bus back to the Northwest. It was awful.
"At the time, I'd been living with my girlfriend at home, and she had just moved to DC. We broke up, and it had been because of the amount of time I was spending in the band. I was going to see her the next day, and now, the band was on the brink of breaking up. I had lost something that was really important to me at the time for something that was in the process of falling apart. Chris and I talked the next day, and everything was fine, but that was the worst."
Asked what everyone should just stop talking about, Gibbard pauses for a moment, then speaks. "Everyone should stop complaining about Pitchfork," he says. "Just stop giving it power. There's no conversation I walk away faster from than other musicians complaining about Pitchfork. If it offends you, if you don't like the writing, if you don't like their aesthetic, then just don't pay attention to it. I haven't read it in years."
Finally, after discussing leaving Los Angeles for his beloved Seattle after divorcing with his wife of two years, Zooey Deschanel, Gibbard is frank when asked about advice he should have taken, but did not.
"I think there's an obvious answer to that," he laughs, "but I won't go there." Not that there's any need.
Former Lives is out now courtesy of Barsuk. For more Ben Gibbard, check out Exclaim!'s newly published Questionairre, and see his upcoming solo dates here.