If I'm working on a song and I'm hitting a wall and then the next day I go for a three or four hour run the mountains...
It's not that I'm writing while I'm running, I'm just not thinking about writing.
I kind of had a moment where you know I went on a bender and then on the flight home from that bender told myself, 'I can't do this anymore... I should just have a drink and then go home.' And then it was in the morning and I'm stumbling home trying to get my keys in my door.
I woke up the next morning and was like, 'Not only can I just not...
I've learned as I've gotten older that it's very important to walk away from a piece of work and clear one's mind of the creative process and then return to it later.
When I was younger, I would start a song and I wouldn't think about anything else until it was done and it would just consume my entire being. But more times than not, I think about the work that I could have done if I would have had the wisdom to just focus on something else, walk away from it, and come back to it.
Ben Gibbard: I think for me and I think for a lot of people – and by me, I mean musicians – I think alcohol abuse, it sneaks up on you slowly. we're around town, we're playing a show this Friday, we had a great show, we're going out drinking afterwards. I found myself making those false equivalencies of like, 'Well, I don't really have a problem because I don't drink as much as that guy.' Well, you're already around people who drink more than almost anybody in the world, so that's not really a fair measuring stick for that.
And then we're starting to tour a bit, but the tours are short and they're kind of a break from real life, so we're gonna go out and kind of just go crazy because I'm going to be back at my job in two weeks. Over time, I got to a place where we had been touring on 'Plans' and that tour kind of wrapped up in the end of 2006.
And do you believe that it was a part of your recovery? As it relates to recovery, I know there are a lot of ex-addict ultra runners.
Over time, at least with me, I think what happened was the tours got longer. By the end of the tour, I was waking up at or in the afternoon, just going right into soundcheck and the show became a preamble to just going out drinking.
I think it was due to homesickness, boredom, just trying to kind of create some excitement in an environment where we'd been playing so many shows that the shows were becoming less exciting bedrincause we'd just been doing so many of them.
But I have found when I've been deep into an ultra marathon, there is inevitably a moment where everything falls away and I'm just a being in space. Moving through this beautiful environment on a trail on a mountain somewhere and all the concerns that you might have about anything in your life just disappear and you have these moments of just flow and Zen that people achieve them by myriad ways. There are the type- A people who are measured professionals who set goals and then achieve them.
And then there are weirdos and then there are addicts. I've met so many addicts, so many people in recovery who have at some point kind of discovered that kind of transcendence that you'd find running or doing ultra marathons and have put that in place of the addiction that they had.