Ben Gibbard is a singer/songwriter best known as frontman for Pacific Northwestern indie rockers Death Cab for Cutie. Gibbard was raised in Washington and got interested in music due in part to the explosion of grunge and its roots in his region during his formative high-school years. Gibbard's first band was the fledgling Pinwheel, who released one self-titled album in 1996. Pinwheel's Justin Kennedy would go on to front Army Navy. Gibbard began Death Cab for Cutie as a solo project in 1997, taking the name from a song by cheeky classic rockers the Bonzo Dog Band. He released a cassette of his sentimental acoustic-leaning songs called You Can Play These Songs with Chords under the new moniker later that year, and the reception was warm enough to merit expanding the project into a full band.