Chris Walla Quits Death Cab For Cutie

Chris Walla has announced his departure from Death Cab For Cutie. “Deciding to leave the band was not, and is not, easy. It’s really, really sad. I love my bandmates, and I’m proud of what we’ve done, and mercifully, those things don’t change with my departure,” he said in a post for Seattle newspaper The Stranger. “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 band acknowledged his departure on their Facebook page, adding: “We’ve had an incredible 17 years of making music with Chris. We are very proud of what we’ve accomplished together, including our 8th studio album which we have just put the finishing touches on. 
We will miss Chris and wish him all the best in the next chapter of his career. We are excited about sharing new music, and seeing all of you very soon.” Walla will perform his last show with the band at the Rifflandia Festival in Victoria, BC, Canada on 9/13. Death Cab also said that their next album, which was produced by Rich Costey, will be out next year. Read Walla’s full statement below.

Walla’s statement:

Short version: I’m leaving Death Cab for Cutie. My last show with the band will be September 13, 2014, at the Rifflandia Festival in Victoria, BC. I hope you guys can make it.

Longer version: I think I long for the unknown. It might be that simple.

I will miss being a quarter of this band, and will support whatever course Death Cab for Cutie chooses from here. I am profoundly grateful to Ben, Nick, and Jason, for the experiences that define my adult life. Truly grateful, beyond words. Thank you.

I am also grateful to, and deeply humbled by, all of our fans. Without you, music would be mere ‘content’, and nothing could possibly be sadder than that. Thank you all, so dearly.

We’ve just finished our eighth album, which is our first with an outside producer. That producer is a fellow named Rich Costey, and working with him in this capacity is one of the greatest joys of my professional life. Thank you, as well.

There are so many others to whom I am grateful—our crew, our management, our families, the Atlantic, Barsuk and Elsinor labels, the Billions team. Thank you all.

Deciding to leave the band was not, and is not, easy. It’s really, really sad. 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.

Death Cab’s remaining tour dates with Walla:

08/15 Dallas, TX @ KXT’s Summer Cut – The Happy Funtime Fest
08/16 Omaha, NE @ Maha Music Festival
08/29 Edmonton, AB @ Sonic Boom 2014
08/30 Calgary, AB @ X-Fest 2014
09/05 Chicago, IL @ The Hideout Block Party & Onion AV Fest
09/07 Toronto, ON @ Riot Fest
09/13 Victoria, BC @ Rifflandia

[Photo Mike Lawrie/Getty.]

Comments (12)
  1. I cannot imagine what this means for Death Cab for Cutie. Chris Walla has been integral in shaping and defining the band’s sound for many years and his presence will definitely be missed, though there’s no doubt that Death Cab hasn’t been themselves for a little while now. This is rough news for sure, but I am hopeful for the future.

  2. Ouch. Seems kind of unnecessary to not only quit Death Cab, but also announce out of the blue that he would never join the Darkness.

  3. That’s a bummer, but they had a hell of run, the last couple of albums have been getting kind of eh. Maybe some change will be good, now back to the Photo Album style of DCFC!

  4. Maybe this upcoming 8th studio album will be the first one I can stomach listening to from beginning to end.

    Doubtful.

  5. cast  |   Posted on Aug 13th +4

    Death Cab was never really my thing but I always thought Walla was the brains behind their sound.

  6. Ben Gibbard gets a lot of the credit for what’s there, but a lot of my favorite death cab moments (incl. Bixby Canyon Bridge, easily one of the top album openers ever) come from Walla’s guitar work. If anything this leaves me profoundly interested in his future and the band’s – shakeups are often the best antidote to stale-ness.

  7. My guess is he felt slighted over not producing the record. His production has been an integral element of the DCFC sound as much as his instrumental work or songwriting input. I’m sure there was more to it, but I’ll guess that was the largest part of his decision.

    • It’s weird, right, to have a great producer in you ranks but not use him? Especially since they went for Rich Costey. Costey’s worked on a lot of records I really like but whenever a band has him produce them, the result is a more heavy, “modern rock” sound.

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