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Best-Laid Plans

Death Cab for Cutie weathers their major label transition with grace

It's like, "Are you always unhappy?"

Once we released Plansand everyone kind of realized, "Oh, well, this is the band we know and recognize, and they still make the music that I know, it's not a big deal," that kind of made everybody relax a little bit. We haven't really come across the diehard sell-out kids at all.

They're in their rooms avoiding your shows.

Death Cab for Cutie: Indie in spirit, heard next to Slipknot in practice.
Death Cab for Cutie: Indie in spirit, heard next to Slipknot in practice.

Those people that are like, "Everything on a major label is crap," I just feel bad for them; they must really have some of the worst record collections in the world. If it wasn't for Talking Heads, the Clash — think about these bands that only had major-label careers in the world. The Cure, all of these bands, geez, that I grew up on that influenced me to no end. I would have never found them in the small-town USA I grew up in if they weren't on major labels, especially because there weren't many independent record labels or much distribution.

Yeah, back in the day, there wasn't the Internet to watch videos and find new bands. I remember getting mail-order catalogs and circling things, like, "That sounds cool."

[I remember] getting an SST catalog, and going, "I like the name of that band, I wonder what they sound like, I'll buy the record and they'll send it to me." I used to take risks like that all the time. You had to go on gut instinct alone, have your senses razor-sharp and go, "OK, I'm going to give this one a shot, I hope it's good."

Did you buy anything atrocious?

When the grunge thing was happening in Seattle, there was a lot of grunge bands at the time that you were like, "Oh, fucking cool!" We were kind of in this frenzy, at least growing up near Seattle, where we were buying lots of stuff that was coming out around then. I got burned a couple of times. There were a few bands where it's like, "I can't wait to get that record! That sounds like a cool band!" Then you go and buy it: "No, no, no. Geez, I should have bought the Soundgarden EP, and not that."

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