Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Personal History: Death Cab For Cutie

When I was fourteen years old, I was convinced that any "modern" music was not worth my time. The chief reason for this was that I'd not actually listened to any modern music, save for a few manufactured pop songs I'd heard on the radio. To be fair though, there was also a lot of narrow-mindedness on my part. I insisted that the 60s were the only worthwhile era (save for They Might Be Giants and some crazy 80s music). I also had an obsession with Monty Python (particularly Eric Idle), which led me to Do Not Adjust Your Set, a series I've mentioned in the past. From there, I discovered The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, a group I was allowed to like, because they were from the 60s. Somewhere in that same year, I discovered that there was a group that shared a name with one of their songs. Naturally, I was intrigued. I remember googling the band name and thinking that they just looked so modern! I wasn't sure I could take it. At least, I couldn't discover a new band on my own anyway. I added Death Cab For Cutie to my list of bands I needed song recommendations for, along with The Foo Fighters.

There was someone I knew on Livejournal (my social networking site of choice in my early teens), who shared a lot of my interests and also liked Death Cab For Cutie, so I asked her which songs I should start on. She suggested "Marching Bands of Manhattan" and "Crooked Teeth," both of which I listened to and fell immediately in love with.

This may have been the photo I found when I first googled them, but I'm not positive. Look how 
frighteningly "modern" they are. Left to Right: Nick Harmer, Ben Gibbard, Chris Walla, Jason McGerr.

So at this point, I bought Plans second hand at the now out-of-business local record store and listened to it through. I liked it. Death Cab For Cutie became my gateway drug to other modern music. I will grudgingly admit though, that apart from Plans, I had only heard a handful of other Death Cab songs by the time Narrow Stairs came out in 2008. But Narrow Stairs rapidly became one of my favorite albums of all time. I must have listened to it a hundred times that summer. When I found out Death Cab were going to be playing an hour away, with opening act Tegan and Sara, I decided I had to go. 

Up until November of 2008, I had been to two shows, both at children's festivals: They Might Be Giants and Micky Dolenz. I couldn't drive and none of my friends really shared my musical interests. But I had a job and money to spend on tickets and I was determined to go.

I did go, and it was amazing. Just as Death Cab introduced me to the fact that modern music could be things apart from sucky, they also introduced me to how awesome a live show experience can be (with all due respect to They Might Be Giants and Micky Dolenz. They did great shows too, but this was different). 

 Death Cab For Cutie in Columbus, Ohio 2008.

Since that concert, Death Cab have become absolutely one of my favorite bands for reasons too numerous for me to not exploit in other blog posts. I even got to see them again this year, and they managed to live up to the wonderful memories of them that I had. Death Cab For Cutie are a great band that have helped form me as a person and will hopefully continue to shape me in the future.

Other Recommended Tracks:

What Sarah Said