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The Other "Decembrists"

A number of people have asked me if I knew there was a band called The Decembrists. I did. I've heard them (thanks to the once-great but now ruined legal music download site emusic.com), and I thought they were o.k. but a bit mannered. It's the sort of music that might be easier to enjoy if you weren't old enough to have heard this kind of thing back when it was called Progressive Rock. (Now it's called "chamber pop")

Anyway, in a search for this weblog on Feedster, I came across another that quoted the band's explanation of why they chose the name, from an interview in Pitchfork magazine:

Pitchfork: I realize this is an awful question but I'm curious-- why "The Decemberists"?

Colin: Well, there are a couple answers to that question. There's The Decembrists that everyone knows about, the 19th century revolutionary group in St. Petersburg. They staged a failed coup against the tsar at the time. It was put down and they were all sent off to work camps in Siberia. And so there are all these Decembrists communities in Siberia. But that's not really why we named ourselves that.

It's really just this: I like to think that the drama behind the month of December... there's a group of people who, that is their month, and they're sort of stuck in this month. And I think that sort of speaks to the songs and the characters in the songs: sort of marginalized, sort of on the outskirts, all living in the coldest month.

The first comment on the original posting of this quote says it best: "Barf."

I guess they've got their reasons and I've got mine.

Posted by Mark Schmitt on November 5, 2003 | Permalink


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I came across your site in search of, you guessed it, the band. I may be too young to have been into Burt Bacharach and the like but I'm not too young to realize that your writing makes alot of sense. I look forward to future postings.

Posted by: | Dec 19, 2003 2:29:53 AM

You do realize the band is called 'The Decemberists', not 'The Decembrists'? There should be a difference.

Posted by: michael | Mar 25, 2004 11:36:53 PM

I love the Decembrists! Amamzing, amazing band. I dont know the whole history part of this, but I dont care. I love love love them.

Posted by: Katrice | Mar 3, 2005 12:55:05 PM

Present day music and ancient history should not be grouped.
The Decembrists - the communities in Siberia
The Decemberists - the band
no tie.

And I'd recommend that everyone take a listen to them. They are astounding live.

Posted by: Andora | May 25, 2005 11:57:11 AM

Whats wrong with emusic.com?

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