on tour with Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie/the Postal Service
David Bazan of Pedro the Lion, and
Johnathan Rice

photographs by Ryan Russell

Earlier in the year Ben had mentioned he was planning a solo tour and said I could possibly come out on a few dates and do some photos. Jump ahead to May and I was driving over to Atlanta to fly out to DC to hop on the bus for 3 days. First things first. If you fly to DC, unless youre getting a rental car, you want to fly into Reagan/National not Dulles which is way outside the actual city and your cab ride will be $75 or more... So I flew into Dulles and had an $80 cab ride to the 930 club. I arrived, found a place to go buy film and vitamin water, and by the time I came back to the club Johnathan was already performing. There were going to be two shows that night though. NPR broadcast the first show.

Johnathan Rice

I had flown the week before to Chicago and seen the tour there. Ben I have known for a year or so due to my Death Cab for Cutie obsession and Uncle Henry, but David and Johnathan I met for the first time in Chicago. They were unbelievably nice guys from the start.

David and Johnathan

Johnathan and Ben soundchecking a cover of the Dovers "What Am I Going to Do"

Jordan (death cab's manager) and Ben

Ben and Johnathan performing the Dovers cover at the second show.

David Bazan

So when I first got to the club Ben had told me John Krasinski from the Office (yes, Jim from the show on NBC) was filming a movie in North Carolina (the date after DC) and that he was gonna fly up to DC and ride that night on the bus back to North Carolina with us and hang out Carrboro all day. John is a super warm/friendly person.

During the second show John did a bit with Ben on stage.

I asked John to yell at David. He couldnt stop laughing.

David and John

Travis Morrison of the Dismemberment Plan

The Dismemberment Plan. The first show I ever went to out of Alabama was to go see Death Cab and the Dismemberment Plan at the Cotton Club in Atlanta in early 2002. I never got a chance to shoot the Dismemberment Plan before they broke up. I was stoked that Travis from the Dismemberment Plan came out to the show.

After the show Bob Mould of Husker Du and Brendan Canty of Fugazi came backstage to say hello to Ben. I love Husker Du and, although I would have be stoked to get a shot of any of the members, I didnt think I would ever have that opportunity.

Bob Mould of Husker Du/Sugar

Backstage at the 930 club

After the show, those that ate meat (aka me and a couple others) had amazing hot dogs from a place called Ben's Chili Bowl. Bill Cosby apparently loves them.


The next morning we woke up in front of Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC. We went down to a bar called the Orange County Social Club near the venue for coffee with some friends of theirs. There was also a co-op grocery store a couple blocks away were we had breakfast.

Once we got back to the bus I made them stand around for a few minutes and let me take horrible photos of them.

Theyre laughing because after I shot the photo above this one with John, I asked him to step out and he started faking yelling and threw his water bottle I had taken away from him on the ground.

John Krasinski (Jim) from NBC's the Office

soundcheck at Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC

David and Johnathan came out to sing on Such Great Heights

After the show the guys went back down to OC Social Club for an after party and I watched a 'Classic Album' about Jimi Hendrix on VH1. John had a driver pick him up after they got back to the bus to go back to where he was filming a movie.


The next morning we were in Atlanta, GA. The guys from the band the Glass Ocean came and picked me up at the bus and took me back to the airport park and ride so I could grab my car. After hitting up Elmyr for lunch I came back to the bus to pack and take all my stuff to the car.

soundcheck at Centerstage in Atlanta, GA

David just before soundcheck

Johnathan opening the show

Ben warming up backstage before his set

After the show we went back to the bus and watched the new Wilco film (Brendan gave Ben a copy of it in DC) and half of Fargo before I said my goodbyes and headed back to Birmingham. Most friends know that Death Cab for Cutie is my favorite band, so this was definitely one of the most important things I have gotten to do in my life, which I will never forget. So a big thank you to Ben, David, Johnathan, John, and all the crew guys.
Sorry if I was annoying, I get that way.