John Roderick (musician)

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John Roderick
Roderick performing in December 2012
Born (1968-09-13) September 13, 1968 (age 52)
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • podcaster
  • politician
Years active1997–present
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass
  • keyboards
LabelsBarsuk Records
Associated acts Edit this at Wikidata

John Roderick (born September 13, 1968) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, podcaster, and politician. He is the lead singer and guitarist of the rock band The Long Winters, was a touring member of the rock band Harvey Danger, and co-hosts the podcasts Roderick On The Line, Road Work, Omnibus, and Friendly Fire.

Early life[edit]

Roderick was born in Seattle on September 13, 1968, the son of Marcia and David Roderick. His father was a Washington State legislator and World War II veteran.[1] His mother was a computer programmer who eventually rose to an executive position working for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.[2] Roderick has three older half-siblings from his father and a sister, Susan.[1]

In 1971, the family moved to Anchorage, Alaska.[2] In 1973, Roderick's parents divorced and his mother took John and Susan back to Washington state, but returned to Anchorage shortly after.[1] He graduated from East Anchorage High and moved back to Seattle. Roderick enrolled at Gonzaga University in 1987, but left after two years.[2] In 2019, Roderick graduated with a BA from the University of Washington after three decades of undergraduate study.[3]


Western State Hurricanes (1997–1999)[edit]

Roderick's first major band was The Western State Hurricanes, which he started while attending the University of Washington. The band enjoyed quick success, playing their first show at Seattle venue "The Breakroom" in May 1998.[2] The band split after failing to sign a deal with Sub Pop Records.[4] Having recorded an unreleased album in the late 1990s, Roderick was prompted by Pete Greenberg to remaster their debut album, Through With Love, which was announced in late 2019 by Latent Print Records. In February 2020, the band regrouped to perform shows, including a recorded performance on KEXP.[5]

Harvey Danger (1999–2001)[edit]

After the disbanding of The Western State Hurricanes, Roderick was offered a spot to play keyboard in popular Seattle band Harvey Danger. Roderick played with the band until they went on hiatus in April 2001.

The Long Winters (2001–present)[edit]

Along with former Harvey Danger singer/songwriter Sean Nelson, Roderick founded the indie rock band The Long Winters in the wake of Harvey Danger's breakup. Roderick penned the band's first album, The Worst You Can Do Is Harm, in 2001 and released the album on Barsuk Records. The band since released two more albums, When I Pretend to Fall (2003) and Putting the Days to Bed (2006), and one EP titled Ultimatum (2005). The band still plays shows, playing at the inaugural Upstream Festival in 2017.[6]


Merlin Mann and Roderick

In September 2011, Roderick began co-hosting the Roderick on the Line podcast with Merlin Mann.[7] On August 13, 2015, he released the first episode of his second podcast called Road Work, with co-host Dan Benjamin.[8] On September 7, 2017, HowStuffWorks announced a new show entitled Omnibus, co-hosted by Roderick and former Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings. They pick topics they fear might be lost to history and discuss them. The first episode was posted on December 7, 2017.[9] Roderick, along with Adam Pranica and Benjamin Ahr Harrison, presented Friendly Fire, a weekly podcast about war films that ran from January 12, 2018 to January 22, 2021.[10][11]

The song "It's A Departure" from the Long Winters album Putting The Days To Bed acted as the theme song for the podcast My Brother, My Brother, and Me until January 2021, when it was announced that the song would be replaced due to the controversy over Roderick's tweets.[12] Roderick has appeared on the program, sometimes performing the theme song live before live shows.

Musical collaborations[edit]

Roderick frequently collaborates with other musicians. Along with collaborator Sean Nelson, he provided vocals on Death Cab for Cutie's album Transatlanticism. He also collaborated with Jonathan Coulton for Coulton's album Artificial Heart, released in September 2011,[13] as well as the duo's Christmas album One Christmas at a Time. Roderick co-wrote some songs on Aimee Mann's 2017 album Mental Illness.[14]

Political career[edit]

Roderick became a founding member of the Seattle Music Commission in 2010, appointed to the position by former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.[15] In 2015, encouraged by McGinn, Roderick announced his candidacy for Seattle City Council Position 8, one of two city council positions that represent the entire city.[16] He came in 3rd place in the citywide primary, winning 15.90% of the vote.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Roderick currently lives in Seattle with his daughter. In 2017, he was honored with the position of King Neptune for the 2017 Seattle Seafair.[18]

Twitter controversy[edit]

In January 2021, Roderick posted a Twitter thread in which he discussed preventing his nine-year-old daughter from eating until she learned to open a can of baked beans using a manual can opener by herself, which he approximated took six hours.[19][20][21] His comments were met with a large outcry on Twitter, and some users began derisively referring to Roderick as "Bean Dad".[21][22] As a response to the "Bean Dad" tweets, other Twitter users dug up and re-published old tweets in which Roderick used antisemitic, homophobic, racist, sexist, and other derogatory language.[21][23] Some, including Ken Jennings and Michael Ian Black, defended Roderick; Jennings said that Roderick was "a loving and attentive dad who [...] tells heightened-for-effect stories" and Black said that Roderick's older tweets were "obviously jokes, not proof of any abhorrent beliefs".[21][24] Roderick subsequently deleted his Twitter account.[21][25][26] Following the controversy, the podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me, which had previously used The Long Winters' song "It's a Departure" as a theme, announced that they would be dropping the music from the show.[21][26] Friendly Fire, which was co-hosted by Roderick, went on a brief hiatus before announcing on January 22 that it wouldn't be returning.[11]

Roderick posted an extensive apology to his website the day after the controversy.[27] He wrote that "My parenting story’s insensitivity and the legacy of hurtful language in my past are both profound failures", and that, although he "framed the story with [himself] as the asshole dad" for comedic purposes and that his early tweets were an attempt at "being an ally" by using slurs in an ironic, mocking way, he had realized that the story and his early tweets were hurtful and insensitive. He concluded by writing, "I apologize to my partners, my friends, and to all the people affected by my words for the hurt I caused."[28]


  1. ^ a b c "Former legislator David Roderick dead at 86". The Seattle Times. December 26, 2007. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d DeRoche, Jeff. "Harm's Way". The Stranger. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  3. ^ "John Roderick on Twitter". Retrieved September 13, 2019.
  4. ^ "Silencing the Knuckleheads". City Arts. May 27, 2015. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  5. ^ "Western State Hurricanes - Full Performance (Live on KEXP)". YouTube. January 4, 2021. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  6. ^ "Check Out The Lineup | Upstream Music Fest + Summit". Archived from the original on October 20, 2017. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  7. ^ "Roderick on the Line". Merlin Mann. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  8. ^ "Road Work". 5by5. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  9. ^ "Episode Archive". Omnibus. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  10. ^ "Friendly Fire Podcast". Maximum Fun. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Over and Out (2021)". Friendly Fire (Podcast). Maximum Fun. January 22, 2021. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  12. ^ "For reasons we’re sure you’re all aware of, we’re getting started finding new music for MBMBaM...", MBMBaM on Twitter.
  13. ^ "First Track from Artificial Heart - Jonathan Coulton". Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  14. ^ "Aimee Mann - Mental Illness". Discogs. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  15. ^ The Seattle Music Commission Archived April 16, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Groover, Heidi (April 6, 2015). "Musician John Roderick to Run for Citywide Council Seat". The Stranger. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
  17. ^ "King County 2015 Primary Election Results".
  18. ^ "Seafair Royalty". Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  19. ^ Welk, Brian; Rossi, Rosemary (January 3, 2021). "Bean Dad Makes His 9-Year Old Struggle to Open Can of Beans for 6 Hours, Infuriates Twitter: 'Self-Absorbed A–Hat'". The Wrap. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  20. ^ Rettig, James (January 3, 2021). "Long Winters' John Roderick Dubbed "Bean Dad" After Viral Tweet About His Daughter". Stereogum. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  21. ^ a b c d e f "Outcry as 'bean dad' forces hungry child to open tin can". BBC News. January 4, 2020. Retrieved January 5, 2020.
  22. ^ Prigge, Matt (January 3, 2021). "Twitter Blew Up On A 'Bean Dad' Who Wouldn't Teach His Young Daughter How To Use A Can Opener". Uproxx. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  23. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (January 3, 2020). "Ken Jennings Defends Co-Podcaster John Roderick Amid "Bean Dad" Controversy". The Hollywood Reporter.
  24. ^ Laviola, Erin (January 3, 2021). "John Roderick, 'Bean Dad': 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  25. ^ Rossi, Rosemary (January 3, 2021). "Bean Dad Deletes Twitter Account After Old Anti-Semitic, Homophobic Tweets Resurface". The Wrap. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  26. ^ a b Binder, Matt (January 3, 2021). "'Bean Dad' becomes Twitter's first 'main character' of 2021". Mashable. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  27. ^ "'Bean dad' apologises after tin can posts cause outcry". BBC News. January 5, 2020. Retrieved January 5, 2020.
  28. ^ Roderick, John (January 5, 2021). "An Apology". Retrieved January 10, 2021.

External links[edit]