John Roderick was a fuckup. He'll admit this more readily than anyone: the liner notes of his band The Long Winters' first (and only, so far) album are comprised of old notes from ex-friends and lovers berating him for his self-destructive tendencies; lyrics about failed relationships, drugs and unwillingness to face reality; little, bitter notes about each song ("She killed my friend; her Hell is now.") and photographs of beautiful landscapes, John as a smiling child and John as a bearded twentysomething, wasted on god knows what, red-eyed and looking like shit.
He cleaned up a few years ago, formed a band called the Western State Hurricanes which imploded spectacularly one night onstage, walked across Europe to try to get away from his own head, came back skinny, sick and devastated and was asked by his friend Sean Nelson to join his band Harvey Danger as a touring keyboardist. That, apparently, was just what John needed. He discovered that he genuinely loved music once again, and that he wanted to start a band and do it right this time around. He recruited Sean and their mutual friend, Death Cab For Cutie guitarist and producer Chris Walla, to make a record of polished-up old Western State Hurricanes songs and new ones. Thus, at the Hall of Justice in Seattle, The Worst You Can Do Is Harm was born. It was released in early 2002 on Barsuk Records, and it made a lot of people very happy. Not least of all John Roderick himself.
He assembled a crack team to tour with -- Sean on keyboards and harmonies, Chris Caniglia on more keyboards, Eric Corson on bass and former Western State Hurricane Michael Shilling on drums -- and has been touring steadily in support of the album. With this lineup, and some old and new friends (members of REM and The Posies included), the Long Winters have recorded their second album and first as a real live band, When I Pretend To Fall. It'll be released in May 2003. Their brand of solid, sad, crunchy pop is not to be missed.
More information: http://www.barsuk.com/web.cgi?lw