Death Cab for Cutie

  • Alternative/Indie Rock band formed in 1997 from Bellingham Washington. The members of the band during the 00s era were Ben Gibbard (lead vocals, frontman, guitars, keyboards), Chris Walla (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), Nick Hammer (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Jason McGerr (drums). Wella was replaced by Dave Depper and Zac Rae in 2015. McGerr was preceded on drums by Nathan Good in the late 90s, and by Michael Schoor in the early 00s. Gibbard was the primary songwriter, with occasional co-writing by the other band members.
  • Gibbard was the guitarist for a band named Pinwheel in 1997 when he decided to record a solo project, using the moniker All-Time Quarterback. He recorded two EPs, and then using the name Death Cab for Cutie, he released a demo cassette titled You Can Play These Songs With Chords. The indie rock cassette proved popular in the Washington state area, so he decided to expand the project into a band. He hired Walla (who had helped on the cassette), Hammer and Good to form the band. Gibbard chose the name of the band from a 1967 song of the same name by the group the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. Fifteen years later, Gibbard admitted that he never imagined that the band would have the success it had, and he would have chosen a different name had he realized it.
  • The band was signed to a local independent label, and they released their debut album in 1998 – Something About Airplanes. It was a critics favorite in the Seattle scene, but it did not get national exposure. Albums released in 2000 and 2001 also were obscure, though they managed to have their first charting single with A Movie Script Ending, which reached #123 in the UK. The song also was featured in the television show The O.C.
  • In 2003, they released their Transatlanticism album. It was their first album to chart in the U.S. (peaking at #97), and a couple of songs were featured in four television shows and three films, increasing their exposure to the mainstream. Several years into a growing successful career, the band signed a recording contract with a major label, negotiating a deal with significant creative freedom.
  • Their major label debut was released in 2005 – Plans. It was a major success, receiving a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Album. Three singles were hits. Soul Meets Body was their first song to chart on the Hot 100, peaking at #60, and it reached #1 on the Adult Alternative Airplay chart. Crooked Teeth peaked at #3 and I Will Follow You Into the Dark reached #2 on the same AAA chart. The band performed on Saturday Night Live in early 2006, and the album eventually was certified platinum in sales.
  • Now a commercial success, the group released the Narrow Stairs album in 2008. It topped the Billboard 200 album chart, and the single I Will Possess Your Heart topped the AAA chart, while Cath… and No Sunlight reached #11 and #8 respectively on the chart. In 2009, they contributed the song Meet Me On the Equinox to the soundtrack of the film The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which reached #11 on the AAA chart.
  • They continued their success on the Alternative chart with singles from their next album, Codes and Keys, released in 2011. You Are A Tourist became their third #1 song on the AAA chart. A global tour followed, and they began working on another album in 2013. One year into the process, Walla opted to leave the band after 17 years to focus on producing music for other artists. He was replaced by two guitarists on tour, and both were officially brought into the band in 2016. In 2015, the Kintsugi album was released. It included another #1 on the AAA chart – Black Sun. 
  • Their final studio album of the 10s decade was Thank You For Today, released in 2018. Two more songs reached #1 on the AAA chart – Gold Rush and Northern Lights. Through 2020, the band received eight Grammy nominations, and their video for I Will Possess Your Heart won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Editing. The video crew traveled nearly 28,000 miles over thirteen days, recording a young woman traveling alone to locations all over the world – New York, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Hokkaido, Tunis, Carthage, Bangkok, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. So…let’s watch it! Enjoy the indie-alt sound of Death Cab for Cutie.

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