Ben Gibbard Supports Gay Marriage, Is Terrified of Bush
The song's liable to be a highlight of Gibbard's solo set at Town Hall on Monday night. Anything from his deep songbook is fair game during the performance, he says -- the new album, Death Cab songs, Postal Service tunes, maybe even stuff dating back to his late '90s side project All-Time Quarterback or from One Fast Move or I'm Gone, his 2009 Kerouac-inspired collaboration with Son Volt's Jay Farrar.
"Playing solo, my entire body of work is at my fingertips," says Gibbard. "I'm trying to play something in every city that I'm not playing anywhere else. Maybe covers, maybe songs that have disappeared into the ether for a long time. And I'll be able to change the set list as quickly as I can remember a song."
And since the show's happening the night before Election Day, there might be a plug for Barack Obama in there as well. Ever since their participation in the 2004 Vote for Change tour in support of John Kerry's failed presidential bid, Death Cab hasn't been shy about showing its political stripes. Gibbard hasn't been directly working with the Obama campaign like Death Cab bandmate Chris Walla -- who's been going door-to-door in battleground states this fall -- but his was the first essay featured in "90 Days, 90 Reasons": the campaign conceived by Dave Eggers and Jordan Kurland in which 90 celebs explained why they're supporting Obama in this election. Gibbard's piece focused on Obama's support of gay marriage.
"It's no secret that my sister is gay, and I feel it's incredibly important in moving this country forward that we embrace the social progress that stands directly before us," he says. "The opposition claims that gays and lesbians want special rights and that isn't true. They also say, 'It's okay -- you can be pro-gay and be anti-gay marriage,' and I'm saying, 'No, you can't.' It's not possible, and it's shocking to me that some people are taking this position as a justification for their own bigotry."
Though worried about Obama's re-election prospects on Tuesday, Gibbard says he's holding onto hope no matter what happens. "I woke up the next morning after Bush was re-elected and I really was convinced the world was gonna end. I mean, really, I was terrified. I'm talking like Cold War-style. I was convinced this person was gonna take us off a cliff, and he did, in a way. But I think the lesson learned was that the sun came up every day for four years, and then Obama got in. So I think I have become a lot less doomsday." He laughs, slightly. "About everything, really."
Ben Gibbard plays Town Hall on Monday, Nov. 5 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $39.50.