Ben Gibbard

American singer, songwriter and guitarist

Benjamin Gibbard (born 11 August 1976) is an American musician who has formed several indie bands. He is most notable as the lead singer of Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service, although also known for his project ¡All-Time Quarterback!.

At this point in my life, I find myself obsessed with alternate paths I could’ve taken. I don’t think about this with a sense of regret, but with a sense of wonder...


  • I don't think there's necessarily a story, but there's definitely a theme here. One of my favorite kind of dark jokes is, "How do you make God laugh? You make a plan." Nobody ever makes a plan that they're gonna go out and get hit by a car. A plan almost always has a happy ending. Essentially, every plan is a tiny prayer to Father Time. I really like the idea of a plan not being seen as having definite outcomes, but more like little wishes.

We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes (2000)Edit

  • It wasn't quite what is seemed: a lack of pleasantries
    (My able body isn't what it used to be)
    I must admit I was charmed by your advances
    Your advantage left me helplessly into you
    • Title Track

Transatlanticism (2003)Edit

  • I wish the world was flat like the old days
    Then i could travel just by folding a map
    No more airplanes, or speed trains, or freeways
    There'd be no distance that could hold us back
    • The New Year
  • I am waiting for something to go wrong
    I am waiting for familiar resolve
    • Expo '86
  • And it's strange
    They are basically the same
    So i don't ask names anymore
    • Expo '86
  • Our Youth is fleeting
    Old age is just around the bend
    And I can't wait to go grey
    And I'll sit and wonder
    Of every love that could have been
    If I'd only thought of something charming to say
  • You touch her skin
    And then you think
    That she is beautiful
    But she don't mean a thing to me
    • Tiny Vessels
  • And tiny vessels oozed into your neck
    And formed the bruises
    That you said you didn't want to fade
    But they did and so did I that day
    • Tiny Vessels

Plans (2005)Edit

  • I once knew a girl
    In the years of my youth
    With eyes like the summer
    All beauty and truth
    In the morning I fled
    Left a note and it read
    Someday you will be loved.
    • Someday You Will Be Loved
  • You'll be loved you'll be loved
    Like you never have known
    The memories of me
    Will seem more like bad dreams
    Just a series of blurs
    Like I never occurred
    Someday you will be loved
    • Someday You Will Be Loved

Narrow Stairs (2008)Edit

  • How I wish you could see the potential
    The potential of you and me
    It's like a book elegantly bound, but
    In a language that you can't read just yet

    You got to spend some time, love
    You got to spend some time with me
    And I know that you'll find love
    I will possess your heart

  • As the flashbulbs burst she holds a smile
    Like someone would hold a crying child

    Soon everybody will ask what became of you
    Your heart was dying fast and you didn't know what to do.

  • It seems that you live in someone else's dream
    In a hand-me-down wedding dress
    With the things that could have been are repressed
    But you said your vows and you closed the door
    On so many men who would have loved you more

The Meaning Of LifeEdit

Essay in Paste magazine (10 April 2008)
  • I pulled On The Road off the shelf and found myself reading it between classes, and at that time in my life it was exactly what I craved, exactly what I needed to hear. I thought, “That’s the way, that’s the ideal life, that’s great. You get in a car and you drive and you see your friends and you end up in a city for a night and you go out drinking and you catch up and you share these really intense experiences. And then you’re on the road and you’re doing it again.” The romance of the road, particularly from Kerouac’s work, encapsulated how I wanted to live. I found a way to do it by being a musician, which is what I always wanted to be. The traveling and the being on tour and being away from home set a precedent for me where I thought, “Oh yeah, this is how it works.”
    But then in reading Big Sur, it’s the end of the road. You end up with a series of failed relationships and you end up being an alcoholic and in your late 30s, and not having any kind of real grip on the lives of the people around you. That’s the potential other end of the spectrum when you’re never tied to anybody or anything. I run the risk of losing touch with the people in my life that mean the most to me because I have made the decision to live like this.
    • I
  • If you tell certain people that you like Kerouac, they assume that’s all you read, like you don’t know anything else about literature. I recognize all the things that people dislike about the way he writes — his tone and the sentimentality of it all. But those books were there for me at a very important point in my life.
    • I
  • Because of my age and what I do for a living and the amount of time that I’ve spent away from my family and loved ones, I’m starting to relate more to the late-period Kerouac stuff in the way that I once related to the fun and excitement of the early material. There’s a darkness inside of me that I’m only now starting to come to grips with and accept. And it’s starting to scare me.
    • I
  • At some point I thought that, as I got older, I’d come to terms with a lot of things. I’d solve some big problems, and eventually I’d become content. It’s almost more depressing to think that the older you get, the more your problems multiply. When I’m old, I’d like to wake up in the morning and not really do anything — just be happy to exist. I’d like to look at my accomplishments and sit back and revel in my own achievement. But I don’t think that’ll ever happen.
    Before I made a living playing music, I used to work shitty job after shitty job and think “Man, as soon as I’m able to make a living in music, it’s really going to come together then, it’s really going be amazing.” I remember hoping there’d be 10 people at a show in 1998 when there was an incredible write-up in the local weekly. I don’t want to go back to that period of being obscure and having nobody know who I am, let alone have to struggle to get people to come to the show. I remember what it was like, and it was shitty.
    • II
  • Liking interesting things doesn’t make you interesting.
    • II
  • I decided a handful of years ago that I just want to write songs that you can understand as soon as you put the record on. There’s no need to veil what’s happening in the song the way I used to.
    My goal as a songwriter now is to simply write some memorable turns of phrase.
    • II
  • It’s amazing to have people singing a song back to you on a stage. It’s great to finish recording a song and play it for your friend, and they love it. That feels good. But nothing feels better than when you’ve finished something and you know it’s good, and you know that those other responses will come in time.
    • II
  • Some fans get genuinely upset if I admit that a song that they held close to their heart was not based on actual events in my life. Like “What Sarah Said”: I was never in a waiting room in a hospital waiting for news that somebody was going to die.
    • II
  • A lot of the material is about the inevitable disappointment people feel as they move through life, and things don’t feel the way they expect. No experience will ever match up to the idealized version in your mind.
    • II
  • Our band is very polarizing. There are people who absolutely can’t stand us, and people who absolutely can’t live without us. I’d rather spark those kind of polar-opposite feelings than have people be indifferent.
    • III
  • I don’t spend my time perusing message boards to find out what people think about me or if people think my songs are good or if people love that lyric or this or that. I just want to be happy with it myself — and if other people like it, that’s great.
    • III
  • At this point in my life, I find myself obsessed with alternate paths I could’ve taken. I don’t think about this with a sense of regret, but with a sense of wonder...
    • III
  • I find it very hard to accept the wonderful things in my life. My life really is great: I do exactly what I want to do for a living, I have a wonderful person to share my life with, I have a great family, I have great friends. But somehow there’s a void. I’m the last person who should be complaining or wondering why I’m perpetually unhappy. I would like to think that my lack of contentment is part of what makes my work the way it is, and for the better.
    I would rather make great records than make great relationships. When I’m at odds with myself, I would rather fuck up every relationship I’ve ever been in and write great records. And not because I need a breakup to provide me with material. Not like that.
    • III
  • It’s hard enough having a relationship with one person, but to have a relationship with three other bandmates that you are so intimately tied to and you spend so much time with — and to have that actually work and function — is just astounding. I have been in a band for more than 10 years now. I never thought I’d be doing anything for 10 years straight, let alone a band, and I feel so fortunate for that. I have been allowed for some reason to do that. But it’s even more amazing that we get along better now than we did 10 years ago.
    • III
  • An ex-girlfriend once got upset when I told her that music is the most important thing in my life. It’s more important than anyone else could ever be. I don’t want to be overly dramatic and say it’s the only thing that gets me up and keeps me going. But people in your life come and go. As you go through your life, you make friendships, you break friendships, you have relationships. Music is the one thing I’ve always been able to rely on. So why wouldn’t it be the most important thing in my life?
    • III

Quotes about GibbardEdit

External linksEdit

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