…ben gibbard in Paste mag

In interview, magazines, music on April 17, 2008 at 9:12 pm

Is that a halo around Ben Gibbard’s head?

This first person essay by Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie in the May issue of Paste Magazine is a manifesto of sorts. It’s to promote their new album, Narrow Stairs, but it’s also his declaration that a band can be cool and have longevity. That a band gets better with age and popularity rather than worse. That it’s ok to sell out.

“I don’t want to go back to that period of being obscure and having nobody know who I am, let alone have to struggle to get people to come to the show. I remember what it was like, and it was shitty,” writes Gibbard in Paste.


He further declares that music is what he’s wanted to do for a living, and how his songwriting is now better than it once was, when everyone thought they were the cool “it” band. It’s Gibbard’s declaration that they were better than they were before, and if you liked them then, before their increased popularity, you should enjoy them even more now.

Maybe there should be two categories for music, or rather music business. The have’s and the have-nots. Those that just want to get music made and then go on with their lives, and those that want to make a living doing it. And everyone has to make a declaration up front. Therefore those that jump from the artistic to the viable are the actual “sell-outs,” so to speak, compared to those that have their capitalistic goals always firmly in mind.

But, wait for it, all of the bands want to sell out at some point. If not, they’ll quit, they’ll reformulate, come up with something new. We all want to sell out in something. We all want to make money doing something that we like.

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