||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (February 2011)|
May 22, 1967 |
Gainesville, Florida, United States
|Genres||Alternative rock, indie rock|
|Labels||Dead Oceans Barsuk Records|
|Associated acts||Mk Ultra, The Mountain Goats, Spoon, Death Cab for Cutie|
John Vanderslice (born in Gainesville, Florida) is an American musician, songwriter, record producer, and recording engineer. His declared musical influences are diverse, ranging from Neutral Milk Hotel and Radiohead to Public Enemy and Henry Cowell. He has incorporated the poetry of William Blake, Percy Shelley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Lowell into his music. He is known for alternately deeply personal and political lyrics and the use of experimental analog recording techniques.
Early years 
Vanderslice grew up in Florida and Georgia, before his family moved to Maryland when he was 11. After playing in several bands as a teenager, he spent five years as a member of the experimental band MK Ultra, with whom he released three albums in the 1990s. The last of these, The Dream Is Over, received a 9.2 from Pitchfork Media.
During this period, he also founded a recording studio, Tiny Telephone, in the Mission District of San Francisco. Established in 1997, the studio was initially used as a rehearsal space before being developed as a full-time, all-analog recording studio. Bands who have recorded in the studio include Death Cab for Cutie, Okkervil River, Deerhoof, The Magnetic Fields, and Spoon.
Solo career 
In 2000, Vanderslice released his first solo album, Mass Suicide Occult Figurines, and briefly gained some national media attention for the single "Bill Gates Must Die" after concocting a hoax in which Microsoft supposedly threatened legal action over the song; Vanderslice then however had trouble manufacturing the CD because the artwork resembled that of a Windows installation disc, and at least one manufacturer was wary of legal action. During the controversy, he was interviewed by Spin, Wired, and the San Francisco Chronicle.
Many songs on the 2005 album Pixel Revolt referenced the September 11, 2001 attacks and the Iraq War and were more overtly political in their lyrical content. The album earned an 8.3 rating on Pitchfork Media and was cited for its "meticulous arrangements" with "everything in its right place", and declared an "excellent album". The album's ending resolves the narrator's struggles with acute depression ("Dead Slate Pacific"), suicidal thoughts ("The Golden Gate") with a love song to psychotropic drugs ("CRC 7173, Affectionately").
The title of his 2007 album, Emerald City, references the nickname of the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad and The Wizard of Oz. "I was so beaten down after the 2000 election and after 9/11 and then the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan," said Vanderslice. "I was so depleted as a person after all that stuff happened, that I had to write my way out of it." Emerald City achieved a score of 80/100 on Metacritic. Entertainment Weekly called the album "a gleaming gem" that doesn't disappoint. Billboard's review of the record called Vanderslice an "always perceptive lyricist." Calling Vanderslice a "master story-teller", Matt Fink of Paste said that Emerald City was "vividly imagined yet subtle in tone, with conflicted character sketches unfolding around somber synth melodies, creaky electronic effects, and fuzzy acoustic guitar strums."
In 2009, he released the album Romanian Names.
In 2010, Vanderslice released a free EP called Green Grow The Rushes. A full album, White Wilderness, was released on January 25th, 2011 on Dead Oceans. He recorded the album with Minna Choi and her Magik*Magik Orchestra in three days in Berkeley. It was produced and recorded by John Congleton.
Vanderslice has often chosen bands to tour with him who have gone on to widespread recognition and critical respect, including Sufjan Stevens, Okkervil River, The Tallest Man On Earth and St. Vincent.
Recording technique and collaborations 
Vanderslice is a proponent of using analog instruments and recording equipment to produce a richer, more raw sound which he has sometimes called "sloppy hi-fi". He has collaborated closely with Scott Solter in the production of his recent albums.
Vanderslice was a contributing producer on the Spoon album, Gimme Fiction, and also produced The Mountain Goats albums Heretic Pride, The Sunset Tree, and We Shall All Be Healed. In March and April 2009, John Vanderslice toured alongside The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle in the "Gone Primitive Tour". These shows featured Vanderslice and Darnielle each playing acoustic sets and then performing material together.
Vanderslice's latest collaboration with American songwriter, musician, and singer Samantha Crain; whose third full length recording 'Kid Face' produced by Vanderslice, is released in mid February 2013.
Influences and interests 
He is influenced by film and is a fan of David Lynch, whose work is referenced in his song "Promising Actress". Vanderslice is a prolific amateur photographer, doing publicity photo shots for Thao Nguyen, The Mountain Goats, Will Sheff of Okkervil River, and Mirah. He has also had his work used in album artwork by Matt Nathanson, Carey Mercer of Frog Eyes, Mobius Band, and Vanderslice's own 2009 release, Romanian Names.
- Mass Suicide Occult Figurines (2000)
- Time Travel Is Lonely (2001)
- Life and Death of an American Fourtracker (2002)
- Cellar Door (2004)
- Pixel Revolt (2005)
- Emerald City (2007)
- Romanian Names (2009)
- White Wilderness (Recorded with The Magik*Magik Orchestra) (2011)
- Dagger Beach (2013)
Remix Albums 
- MGM Endings: Cellar Door Remixes (2004)
- Suddenly It All Went Dark: Pixel Revolt Live to 2-Track (2006)
- Scott Solter Remixes Pixel Revolt in Analog (2007)
- Moon Colony Bloodbath - vinyl EP (with the Mountain Goats) (2009)
- Too Much Time - 7" (Dead Oceans, 2009)
- D.I.A.L.O. - 7" (Dead Oceans, 2010)
- Green Grow The Rushes - (2010)
Tour history 
Time Travel is Lonely
- Spring 2001 SW Tour (supporting Death Cab for Cutie)
- Summer West Coast (supporting Spoon)
- Fall 2001 US Tour
Life and Death of an American Fourtracker
- Winter 2002 Tour (supporting The Mountain Goats)
- Summer 2002 US Tour
- Fall 2002 US Tour (supporting Spoon and Dismemberment Plan)
- Fall 2002 US Tour "All Hail West Texas" (supporting The Mountain Goats)
- Summer 2003 US Tour (supporting Jets To Brazil)
- Japan Tour Fall 2003 w/ Quruli and Dismemberment Plan
- Fall 2003 US Tour "Coast Is Never Clear" (supporting Beulah)
- Japan Tour Winter 2004
- Winter 2004 "Cellar Door" US Tour (with Okkervil River and Sufjan Stevens)
- Summer 2004 US Tour (supporting Pedro the Lion)
- Fall 2004 US Tour "We Shall All Be Healed" (supporting The Mountain Goats)
- Japan Tour Summer 2005
- "My Aim Is Only True When I'm Aiming At You" US Solo Tour, Summer 2005
- John Vanderslice and Photographs "I've been living in a k-hole" US 2005 Fall Tour
- European Tour 2005 with Nada Surf
- European Tour Spring 2005 with Death Cab for Cutie
- "Getting it on with the hangman's daughter" US Spring 2006 Tour (with Laura Viers supporting)
- John Vanderslice and Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday European Tour Fall 2006
- Summer 2007 Australia Tour "Get Lonely" (supporting The Mountain Goats)
- John Vanderslice and Suburban Kids w/ Biblical Names Spring US Tour (with St. Vincent)
- Emerald City Fall US Tour (with Bishop Allen supporting)
- Fall 2007 European Tour
- Spring 2008 European Tour
- Spring 2008 US Tour (supporting Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks)
"Moon Colony Bloodbath"
- Spring 2009 US Solo Tour "Gone Primitive" with The Mountain Goats
- Summer 2009 US Tour (with Tallest Man On Earth and The Morning Benders supporting)
- "Steady The Bow" Fall 2009 European Tour
- Fall 2010 "Undercard" Tour (supporting Extra Lens)
- 2011 SXSW Tour
- "White Wilderness" Spring US Tour (with Damien Jurado supporting)
- "I Couldn't Wait To Fall Off The Map" Fall 2011 European Tour
Notable Performances 
- On March 17, 2000, Vanderslice played his first solo show, opening up for Bob Mould, The Mountain Goats, and Thingy at Bimbo's, San Francisco, CA.
- On August 27, 2003 Vanderslice joined Quruli and Dismemberment Plan on stage at Namba Hatch in Osaka, Japan.
- On September 12, 2005 Vanderslice performed live on Soundcheck with cellist Erik Friedlander New York's NPR affiliate, WNYC.
- On May 14, 2005 Vanderslice joined The Mountain Goats to perform songs from The Sunset Tree on NPR's Weekend Edition.
- On March 6, 2006, Vanderslice joined Death Cab for Cutie onstage at the Melkveg in Amsterdam.
- On December 31, 2006, Vanderslice performed with The Mountain Goats at the Falls Festival in Lorne, Victoria and Marion Bay, Tasmania.
- On May 3, 2007, Vanderslice performed with St. Vincent at Randy Bacon's Gallery and Studio in Springfield, MO. For the last two songs of his show, he invited the crowd on stage to sing along. Then he told everyone he wanted to play in the middle of the street, so he walked off stage, through the crowd, and out the front door. The entire crowd ended up outside, surrounding Vanderslice in a circle in the middle of a city street. He proceeded to finish his entire set, playing acoustic guitar, the drummer on a bass drum, and Annie Clark on backup vocals. The mass of bodies filled the entire city street, blocking traffic til the last note of "Nikki Oh Nikki."
- On May 18, 2007, Vanderslice sang "Such Great Heights" at the Fillmore, San Francisco with Ben Gibbard and Jenny Lewis.
- On July 29, 2007, Vanderslice performed "Live at the Fremont Drawbridge" where songs from Emerald City were accompanied by the Fremont Bridge bells in Seattle, WA.
- On Dec 7, 2007, Vanderslice played with The Liars and Deerhunter at Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, Spain.
- On September 1, 2008, Vanderslice performed the Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle, WA with Beck and The Black Keys.
- On September 21, 2008, Vanderslice played at Treasure Island Music Festival with Spiritualized and Tegan and Sara.
- On October 18, 2008, Vanderslice played the grand opening of 92YTribeca in New York, NY with Michael Showalter.
- On January 30, 2009, Vanderslice played a show with Magik*Magik Orchestra at San Francisco's Great American Music Hall to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Tiny Telephone.
- On May 24, 2009, Vanderslice played the Sasquatch! Music Festival in Quincy, WA with Animal Collective, Bon Iver, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
- On August 30, 2009, Vanderslice played at Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in San Francisco, CA with Modest Mouse, TV on the Radio, and Calexico.
- On September 22–24, 2008, Vanderslice joined Spoon on guitar and vocals for their residency at San Francisco's Fillmore.
- On June 17, 2011, Vanderslice performed with a 35-piece configuration of the Magik*Magik Orchestra at San Francisco's Herbst Theatre to celebrate the release of White Wilderness.
- On July 16, 2011, Tiny Telephone and The Bay Bridged presented Phono Del Sol, a yearly San Francisco music festival featuring Aesop Rock, Mirah, and Man/Miracle.
See also 
- Greenblatt, Leah (2005-08-26). "Spotlight on John Vanderslice | John Vanderslice | Music News | Music | Entertainment Weekly". Ew.com. Retrieved 2009-02-16.
- Derk Richardson, special to SF Gate (2005-10-27). "Pop & Politics / SF's John Vanderslice gets political on his radiant new CD, Pixel Revolt". Sfgate.com. Retrieved 2009-02-16.
- "John Vanderslice: 'Cellar Door'". NPR. 2004-03-11. Retrieved 2009-02-16.
- Little, Michael. "John Vanderslice - City Lights". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 2009-02-16.
- June 05, 2006 (2006-06-05). "John Vanderslice: Plugged In". Glide Magazine. Retrieved 2009-02-16.
- Fink, Matt. "John Vanderslice Biography". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
- Gale, Ezra (23 January 2009). "Tiny Telephone, Big Decade". Retrieved 26 November 2009.
- Athitakis, Mark (2000-02-09). "Riff Raff". San Francisco Weekly. Retrieved 2009-02-16.
- David Raposa (2005-08-25). "Pixel Revolt Music Review". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2009-03-12.
- accessdate = 2009-03-012 http://www.metacritic.com/music/artists/vanderslicejohn/emeraldcity accessdate = 2009-03-012. Missing or empty
- Simon Vozick-Levinson (2007-07-27). "Emerald City Music Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-03-12.
- Jill Menze (2007-08-04). "Emerald City". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 2009-03-12.[dead link]
- Matt Fink (2007-07-24). "Emerald City Music Review". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 2009-03-12.
- "Green Grow The Rushes Download". 2010-09-14 accessdate = 2010-11-23.
- Tom Breihan (2010-11-23 accessdate = 2010-11-23). "John Vanderslice Plans Orchestral New Album". Pitchfork Media.
- Justin Cober-Lake (2005-10-14). "Make It Beautiful and Trash It: An Interview with John Vanderslice". PopMatters. Retrieved 2008-01-08.
- Baron, Melissa (2009-01-31). "All Shook Down". San Francisco Weekly. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
- Anderman, Joan (2009-03-28). "John Darniell's Music Hurts So Good". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-04-01.
- Tiny Telephone Recording
- John Vanderslice's Tumblr
- John Vanderslice at NPR
- John Vanderslice's Radiohead cover on Stereogum
- Daytrotter Session
- Pitchfork Feature: Top CDRs Given To Me At Shows
- The Magik*Magik Orchestra
- Dead Oceans Page