Gibbard performing at the Orpheum Theatre (Memphis, Tennessee) in 2009.
August 11, 1976 |
Bremerton, Washington, U.S.
|Genres||Alternative rock, indie rock, synthpop|
|Instruments||Guitar, vocals, piano, drums, bass|
|Associated acts||Death Cab for Cutie
The Postal Service
Pedro the Lion
|G&L ASAT Classic Bluesboy
Benjamin "Ben" Gibbard (born August 11, 1976) is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist. He is best known as the lead vocalist and guitarist of the indie rock band Death Cab for Cutie, with whom he has recorded seven studio albums, and as one half of the electronica duo the Postal Service. Gibbard released his debut solo album, Former Lives, in 2012, and a collaborative studio album, One Fast Move or I'm Gone (2009), with Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt's Jay Farrar.
While performing guitar in the band Pinwheel, Gibbard recorded a demo cassette under the moniker Death Cab for Cutie, entitled You Can Play These Songs with Chords (1997). After receiving a positive response to the material, Gibbard expanded the project into a full band, with the addition of Chris Walla (guitar), Nick Harmer (bass) and Nathan Good (drums). The following year, the band released its debut album, Something About Airplanes (1998), on Barsuk Records, and released its follow-up, We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes, in 2000.
Life and career
Gibbard was born in Bremerton, Washington, where he spent his formative years, during the time of the grunge music explosion in the early 1990s. He graduated from Olympic High School in 1994. He also cites Jack Kerouac as a major influence. He studied engineering at Western Washington University. He was raised Roman Catholic and referred to himself as "this indoctrinated Catholic even though I haven't been to church of my own volition in 10 or 15 years now." In a 2003 interview Gibbard stated that while he had previously been a vegan, he had recently become a pescetarian.
He had a small role in the John Krasinski film Brief Interviews with Hideous Men based on the David Foster Wallace short story collection of the same title. He completed a solo tour through the US in the spring of 2007 that featured David Bazan of Pedro the Lion and singer-songwriter Johnathan Rice.
Gibbard became engaged to actress and musician Zooey Deschanel in 2008. The couple married in September 2009 near Seattle, Washington. They announced their separation on November 1, 2011. Deschanel filed for divorce on December 27, 2011, citing irreconcilable differences. The divorce became final on December 12, 2012.
He reportedly gave up alcohol in 2008 and began running marathons.
Gibbard is a strong agnostic, lapsed Catholic: "I don’t want to falsely believe in something solely so I can jump to the front of the line for whatever this awesome place is we go after we die. [...] The vastness of that idea is so beyond my comprehension that I feel like if there was a God, then that God would accept me saying I’m not able to believe because it’s so outside of my ability to understand it. I understand that’s where faith comes into play."
Gibbard is an activist for gay rights and wrote an article in The Daily Beast voicing why this issue is important to him. He stated that when his lesbian sister got married, that it was "the most beautiful thing" he had ever seen. In the article, he voiced his strong support for Referendum 74 and discussed raising money for the issue. He stated, "I would just feel so much pride for my state if we could pass it by a popular vote and show the rest of the country that this is the direction we are going in."
In popular culture
Gibbard is the subject of the song, "Ben's My Friend", by indie folk act Sun Kil Moon. The track appears on the project's sixth studio album, Benji (2014). Gibbard had previously made a guest appearance on the band's third studio album, April (2008).
Death Cab for Cutie
- 1997 You Can Play These Songs with Chords
- 1998 Something About Airplanes
- 2000 We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes
- 2001 The Photo Album
- 2003 Transatlanticism
- 2005 Plans
- 2008 Narrow Stairs
- 2011 Codes and Keys
The Postal Service
With Jay Farrar
- 1996 Pinwall
- "Death Cab For Cutie – news, lyrics, pictures, reviews, biography, videos, best songs, discography, concerts, gossip, pictures and tour dates". NME. UK. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- "The Meaning of Life".
- Harrington, Richard (October 21, 2005). "Death Cab, Full Speed Ahead". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
- "FILTER Magazine". Filter-mag.com. Retrieved September 3, 2010.[dead link]
- IGN: Death Cab For Cutie, September 4, 2003. Retrieved March 21, 2009.
- "Benjamin Gibbard IMDB Profile".
- "Zooey Deschanel Gets Married." People.com. September 20, 2009.
- Ravitz, Justin (November 1, 2011). "Zooey Deschanel, Husband Ben Gibbard Separate". Us Weekly. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
- "Zooey Deschanel Files for Divorce from Ben Gibbard". January 4, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
- "Zooey Deschanel Officially Divorced". December 17, 2012. Retrieved December 23, 2012.
- "How Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard Got Sober". Spin. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
- "Death Cab for Cutie". RELEVANT Magazine. 2011-09-13. Retrieved 2012-10-15.
- "Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie On Why He Supports Gay Marriage". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
- Cohen, Ian. "Sun Kil Moon: "Ben's My Friend"". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 10 January 2014.