The War on Drugs: A New Beginning

By: Samantha Eddy
The War on Drugs at the Pemberton Music Festival in 2015. Photo Courtesy of Pemberton Music Festival via Flickr.

The War on Drugs is a rock band formed in Philadelphia, PA in 2005. Consisting of members Adam Granduciel, David Hartley, Robbie Bennett, Charlie Hall, Jon Natchez, and Anthony LaMarca, The War on Drugs has a very heavy discography record. To date, the band has released 11 singles and 7 albums (Wagonwheel Blues, 2008; Future Weather, 2010; Slave Ambient, 2011; Lost In The Dream, 2014; A Deeper Understanding, 2017; LIVE DRUGS, 2020; and I Don’t Live Here Anymore, 2021). 

The leader of the band, Adam Granduciel, explained that he wanted The War on Drugs to start putting out “catchier, tighter songs,” as Pitchfork puts it. With the recent birth of his son Bruce, Granduciel is more inspired every day to write and produce new music. “Every day he’s turning things on, twisting and patching stuff in. It’s amazing,” Granduciel explains of his newborn’s curiosity. The recent birth of his first son and need to spend more time with family has taught Granduciel more about in-the-moment feelings and has given him a new perspective on music. With a 2022 tour just around the corner, fans get to see what this new perspective is like through the new album I Don’t Live Here Anymore. Continue reading to learn more about the band’s newfound inspiration and perspective through a recent interview. 

The War on Drugs at The Bowery Ballroom in 2014. Photo Courtesy of Vladimir via Flickr.

While it’s clear that being a new father has made quite an impact on the band’s music, Granduciel goes more into detail saying, “The time is not free anymore, so we had to be pretty economical. I’m so used to being able to dive in, all the way. For this record, we didn’t do that. We had to find other ways to immerse ourselves. Like everything I’ve done, I started out thinking I’d be done within two months, because I had all these songs kicking around. And months later, you’re at the lowest point where you have no new ideas and everything sounds gibberish, and you have to climb your way back to something that feels like music. But you get used to it.” He continues by explaining the process of developing the most recent album: “We worked on that album for so long, and it was always evolving and changing. That’s kind of where the first spark of inspiration was to get deep in your own music. It’s an ongoing relationship. I hope that with all that work and attention to detail, it’s an offering to our fans. I take it seriously.”

Pitchfork asks Granduciel about the title track for the new album, as it feels like a breakthrough song. Discussing the process of writing it, Gradnuciel says, “My baby Bruce was a month old, maybe, and I have a voice memo of myself just playing the chords. That night, I went down to my music room and sang the songs with those chords but I didn’t have anything else. It was 10 verses or something, just improvising.” After sending what he had to the band’s keyboardist Robbie, they came up with the most perfect track. It was in that moment that Granduciel knew what the song was going to be. 

Noting that he had just started his own family, we see that Granduciel mentions his own father a lot in the new release. Upon asking if that was a result of starting his own family he says, “It’s something that keeps popping up. I don’t know if I’m able to explain it. You want to write from a real place. I might not be skilled enough to write in a way that’s so elegant. I write by referencing things, and letting the music and the mood of the music take you there. I want to write about having a child, and being a dad, and seeing things in my own life and my own dad… I don’t know what I’m trying to say other than the fact that I’m also trying to uncover something here.” Gradnuciel’s dad is a big part of the band. For a 90-year-old guy who didn’t even get into rock music until the age of 86, he’s now one of the band’s biggest fans and biggest influences. “He’s the star of the band, really,” claims Granduciel. 

The War on Drugs at La Route du Rock in 2014. Photo Courtesy of Alter1fo via Flickr.

Check out I Don’t Live Here Anymore tracks, along with the 2022 tour dates below!

I Don’t Live Here Anymore Track List:

01 Living Proof

02 Harmonia’s Dream

03 Change

04 I Don’t Wanna Wait

05 Victim

06 I Don’t Live Here Anymore (featuring Lucius)

07 Old Skin

08 Wasted

09 Rings Around My Father’s Eyes

10 Occasional Rain

2021/22 Tour Dates:

Nov. 12 – Lake Perris, CA

Jan. 19 – Austin, TX

Jan. 20 – Austin, TX

Jan. 21 – Lake Dallas, TX

Jan. 22 – Houston, TX

Jan. 24 – Nashville, TN

Jan. 25 – Atlanta, GA

Jan. 27 – Philadelphia, PA

Jan. 28 – Philadelphia, PA
Jan. 29 – New York, NY

Jan. 31 – Boston, MA

Feb. 1 – Boston, MA
Feb. 2 – Washington, DC

Feb. 4 – Columbus, OH

Feb. 5 – Toronto, Canada

Feb. 6 – Toronto, Canada

Feb. 8 – Detroit, MI

Feb. 10 – Chicago, IL

Feb. 11 – Chicago, IL

Feb. 12 – Milwaukee, WI

Feb. 13 – Milwaukee, WI

Feb. 15 – Sant Paul, MN

Feb. 16 – Saint Paul, MN

Feb. 18 – Denver CO

Feb. 19 – Salt Lake City, UT

Feb. 21 – Seattle, WA

Feb. 22 – Seattle, WA

Feb. 23 – Portland, OR

Feb. 25 – San Francisco, CA

Feb. 26 – Los Angeles, CA

Mar. 22 – Helsinki, Finland

Mar. 24 – Stockholm, Sweden

Mar. 25 – Stockholm, Sweden

Mar. 27 – Oslo, Norway

Mar. 28 – Oslo, Norway

Mar. 30 – Copenhagen, Denmark

Mar. 31 – Copenhagen, Denmark

Apr. 2 – Berlin, Germany

Apr. 4 – Zurich, Switzerland

Apr. 5 – Milan, Italy

Apr. 7 – Munich, Germany

Apr. 9 – Paris, France

Apr. 11 – Birmingham, United Kingdom

Apr. 12 – London, UK

Apr. 14 – Dublin, Ireland

Apr. 16 – Leeds, UK

Apr. 17 – Edinburgh, UK
Apr. 18 – Edinburgh, UK

Apr. 20 – Cologne, Germany

Apr. 21 – Wiesbaden, Germany

Apr. 22 – Amsterdam, Netherlands

Apr. 23 – Antwerpen. Belgium

Jul. 8 – Madrid, Spain

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