Courtesy of annexmagazine.com
Death Cab for Cutie bid an emotional farewell to founding member Chris Walla after his final performance with the band this weekend. The long-running indie rock group honored Walla’s last set on Saturday during the Rifflandia Festival at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria, British Columbia.
Lead singer Ben Gibbard, also known for his associated act, The Postal Service, acknowledged the change before they played their closing song, “Marching Bands of Manhattan” off the 2005 album, Plans. “Thank you so much for the last 17 years, Chris,” Gibbard said warmly as the audience cheered. Walla stepped forward with his hand held to his heart and nodded, visibly moved. He gave a brief, but sincere “thanks” to the audience after the song, and the quartet came together for a tight hug.
The guitarist and music producer, who has been profoundly involved with the group since they formed in 1997, announced his departure last month. He explained that he “long[s] for the unknown,” and expressed his immense gratitude to fellow DCFC members Ben Gibbard, Nick Harmer, and Jason McGerr.
“Deciding to leave the band was not, and is not, easy. It’s really, really sad,” stated Walla. “I love my bandmates, and I’m proud of what we’ve done, and mercifully, those things don’t change with my departure. Moving forward, my plans are simply to continue making music, producing records, and erring on the side of benevolence and beauty whenever possible. Darkness may find me, but I shall never choose it.”
The 38-year-old musician has been involved with an abundance of outside projects during his time with Death Cab for Cutie. In 2005, Walla founded his own recording studio within his home in Portland, Oregon, called Alberta Court. He has served as a producer for dozens of alternative groups, such as Tegan and Sara, The Decemberists, Nada Surf, Hot Hot Heat, and The Long Winters.
Death Cab For Cutie plans to debut their eighth album in early 2015, followed by “extensive touring.” This marks the first time a Death Cab album has seen an outside producer, with Rich Costey (Muse, Interpol) filling in for the departing star. Although Walla will no longer be performing with the band, his work will be included on all of the new tracks. You can watch his last song and farewell here.