Ben Gibbard, best known for his work with indie darlings Death Cab for Cutie and the electronica side project the Postal Service, is going solo — sort of. Gibbard has announced an Oct. 16 release date in North America for ‘Former Lives,’ a 12-track solo collection that will feature guest contributions from Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster, Son Volt’s Mark Spencer and singer-songwriter Aimee Mann.
Gibbard has been working on his ‘Former Lives’ songs for several years, but didn’t really start focusing on completing the tunes until a few years ago when he moved from his former hometown of Seattle to Los Angeles, where he quit drinking, married Zooey Deschanel and went on a health kick that eventually included him running the Los Angeles marathon. Regardless, he never really planned on releasing a solo disc and wants to be clear he’s not leaving his Death Cab mates behind (although he has since split from Deschanel).
“It wasn’t a goal and it certainly wasn’t a reaction to any sort of dissatisfaction to recording with Death Cab or anything like that,” he tells Stereogum. “It certainly doesn’t come out of like, ‘I have all these songs to record and I’m not getting my fix with the band.’ It was never anything like that and I never really had this idea that ‘Oh, someday I’ll make a solo record,’ and that I’ll go solo, which is definitely not what this is.”
‘Former Lives’ was recorded at longtime pal Aaron Espinoza of Earlimart’s boutique Los Angeles studio, The Ship. Gibbard plans to announce a limited slate of dates in support of the album, which, strictly for this release only, he will be issuing under his full name of Benjamin Gibbard.
The Death Cab frontman has never issued a solo album before, but ‘Former Lives’ could be considered a follow-up of sorts to ‘Home Volume V,’ a 2003 split release with Andrew Kenny of the American Analog Set, which featured four solo tracks from each artist…