The Long Winters
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|The Long Winters|
|Origin||Seattle, Washington, United States|
|Associated acts||The Western State Hurricanes, Harvey Danger, Death Cab for Cutie, Bun Family Players, Alien Crime Syndicate|
Singer-songwriter John Roderick was born in Seattle, Washington, and grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. He later returned to Seattle, formed the Bun Family Players and The Western State Hurricanes. Following the collapse of the latter, he acted as touring keyboardist for Harvey Danger.
In 2001, Harvey Danger singer/songwriter Sean Nelson suggested that he and Roderick record an album—half of the songs penned by John, and the other half by Sean. Death Cab for Cutie band member Chris Walla had recently opened up the Hall of Justice studio in Seattle and agreed to help them record.
John recruited Joe Bass of Sky Cries Mary and Brian Young of Fountains of Wayne to flesh out several of the songs, and gradually the album evolved to feature only John's songs. After several months, The Worst You Can Do Is Harm was finished.
John traveled to New York, where he played solo shows and began to pen new songs. Several of these songs would eventually be included on The Long Winters' second album, When I Pretend to Fall.
While there, he was contacted by Barsuk Records—the label that would release The Worst You Can Do Is Harm—who made it clear they wanted John to tour to promote the release. He traveled back to Seattle and was joined by Chris Caniglia, former Western State Hurricanes drummer Michael Shilling and Eric Corson on bass. Thus, The Long Winters were born.
Sean Nelson of Harvey Danger offered to sing harmony vocals on a number of songs at the band's first live gig. He ended up casually performing with the band for their first few shows before committing to full-time enrollment.
The original trio responsible for The Worst You Can Do Is Harm—Roderick, Nelson, and Walla—is often considered the original incarnation of the band. Roderick and Nelson, along with recruits Corson and Shilling (the drummer in Roderick's previous band, the Western State Hurricanes) are the core players behind When I Pretend to Fall, with Nelson having replaced Caniglia as the band's keyboardist. When I Pretend to Fall was released and Roderick, Nelson, Corson and Shilling embarked on an ambitious series of tours throughout 2003 in support of the album. The band toured North America with Barsuk Records labelmates Nada Surf and Death Cab for Cutie, and later spent November touring Europe. Shilling eventually quit in December 2003, burned out by the hectic touring and lifestyle of the band. With the best wishes of The Long Winters, Nelson left in March 2004 to rekindle his former band Harvey Danger.
Early 2004 and onward
At the time of Nelson's departure, The Long Winters had recently begun rehearsing with Shilling's replacement for the band's 2004 tours, former Death Cab for Cutie percussionist Michael Schorr. Confronted with a double blow to the band's line-up, Roderick took opportunity to reinvent the band again. An east coast tour with The Pernice Brothers, a more fleshed out European tour, and a nationwide tour supporting The Decemberists that would take the band through the spring and well into the summer. Thus, the leaner three-piece version of The Long Winters was born, featuring John Roderick, Eric Corson, and Michael Schorr.
This extensive spring/summer 2004 tour took its toll on Schorr, who left the band shortly after its completion. Roderick continued to do small promotional events and shows throughout the latter half of 2004 and 2005, often previewing a handful of new Long Winters songs.
The next incarnation of The Long Winters featured Roderick on vocals, guitars, and keyboard, Corson on bass and back-up vocals, and Nabil Ayers (co-founder of Seattle's Sonic Boom Records) on drums. The band did a tour supporting Keane in October 2005 in support of an EP released October 11, 2005, titled Ultimatum. Roderick did a solo mini tour through Europe in May 2006 to promote the third full-length LP, Putting the Days to Bed, which was released July 25, 2006. In the fall of 2006 the band—now with guitarist/keyboard player Jonathan Rothman replacing Mike Squires—toured the USA, after which they joined the band Keane once again for a European tour. The Long Winters began 2007 with yet another European tour, followed by a month of shows in the USA and Canada.
In July 2008 the band went back into the studio to work on their fourth (yet untitled) album. In mid-2009 through early-2010, a satiric "quasi-weekly" 9 episode series by Roderick entitled "13 Songs with John" was made available through YouTube ostensibly focusing on the work he was doing in the studio. None of the episodes actually featured Roderick working in the studio. Through 2011, Roderick, through The Long Winters website, continues to promise the long-awaited new album will be released "soon."
The Long Winters released a split single with Spiral Stairs in September 2010. Their track was titled "Connections In Nashville.”
In August 2016, Roderick indicated—in a conversation with Dan Benjamin on his podcast “Road Work”—that he has begun working on the fourth The Long Winters album once again, reworking (in some cases significantly) songs that had been recorded in the sessions dating back to 2007. While he did not indicate whether or not studio recording time was imminent, he did state that he had “almost an entire record of songs now”.
- Studio albums
- Ultimatum (2005)
- Seattle Weekly: Roderick Talks About Bun Family Players In His Weekly Column, retrieved 2008-08-19
- Hannah Levin, "Nabil Ayers", Seattle Metropolitan, December 2008, p. 62.
- Benjamin, Dan (20 August 2016). "Road Work #39: Looney Tunes" (Podcast). 5by5. Event occurs at 00:20. Retrieved 24 August 2016.