Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard embarks on a journey into his own heart of darkness.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard collaborated with Son Volt’s Jay Farrar on the soundtrack for the documentary One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Jack Kerouac’s Big Sur, which received a special concert screening at the Henry Miller Memorial Library in 2010. Back then, Gibbard told the Weekly his favorite Kerouac book is Big Sur.
“[Kerouac] is really facing himself and writing about himself in a way that is brutally honest,” he said. “I really admire that.”
On Wednesday, Gibbard will return to Henry Miller to kick off a mini-tour behind his solo debut Former Lives. The 12 tracks represent the most brutally honest work of a career that includes 15 years with Death Cab for Cutie, seven Grammy nods and mainstream success.
The Death Cab frontman has been working on the songs that ended up on the album – to be released Oct. 16 – for about eight years (since Death Cab released Transatlanticism) and in that time, he’s gone through three relationships (including a brief marriage to actress/musician Zooey Deschanel), bouts of heavy drinking and periods of sobriety.
“There are songs that are relatively new and some songs go back to 2004,” Gibbard told Paste. “I didn’t record with the idea of it being a long record. I just found myself with enough surplus material.”
On the surface, “Teardrop Windows” is a tribute to Seattle’s historic Smith Tower skyscraper. But really, the Matthew Sweet-Destroyer lovechild is a metaphor for Gibbard and his struggles: “There’s too many vacant seats, he’s been feeling all sore and teal/ And the sun sets over the sounds, and he’s going to sleep.”
Death Cab recently wrapped a ginormous world tour so Gibbard may have tour hangover, which provides another reason it makes sense for him to start things off in on the South Coast, if something he said to Paste is any indication: “I’ve always really loved Big Sur because Big Sur is kind of the wake up call after the night of binge drinking.”
BEN GIBBARD AND EARLIMART perform at 7:15pm (gates at 6pm) Wednesday, Sept. 26, at Henry Miller Library, a quarter mile south of Nepenthe Restaurant on Highway 1, Big Sur. $55. 667-2574, www.henrymiller.org