If you’ve never listened to them before, The War On Drugs probably don’t sound like what you would imagine. The band’s name scans as dark sarcasm, yet there’s nothing bleak or ironic about the group’s style, at least not musically. Instead, The War On Drugs specializes in patient, airy rock music that unfolds gracefully, like a large flag unfurling in the wind.
Adam Granduciel -- the frontman, producer and primary creative force behind The War On Drugs -- has cited Bob Dylan as a key influence when the band started in 2005 but by the time of the band’s breakthrough Lost In The Dream (which was the most critically-acclaimed album of 2014 according to Metacritic), the group had developed its own unmistakable style.
With The War On Drugs returning this year with a new album and upcoming tour, we thought it would be enlightening to share five facts you may not know about the band. For tickets to select dates on the band’s upcoming tour, click here.
Granduciel and former bandmate Kurt Vile are still close friends
One of the most common narratives about The War On Drugs is their connection to fellow Philadelphian Kurt Vile, who played in the band through the release of their first album Wagonwheel Blues. However, it seems that some are under the misapprehension that he left under bitter terms. While Granduciel has said that there’s a “healthy competition” between The Violators and TWOD, members of the two bands are still good friends and Granduciel and Vile have remained open about the possibility of recording again.
Granduciel’s teacher inspired his name change
When Adam Granofsky first moved from his hometown outside of Boston to Oakland, his early demos were recorded under the moniker “Granduciel,” a nickname given to him by his high school French teacher that’s the literal translation of his real last name. The title stuck and Granduciel has used it ever since.
Granduciel began suffering panic attacks during the recording of Lost In A Dream
The recording process for Lost In A Dream was fraught with anxiety for Granduciel. Following a birthday celebration in February 2013, he suffered a “massive, crazy” panic attack. His symptoms soon escalated and before long, Granduciel had retreated almost entirely to his bedroom, where he would work without leaving for days at a time. Keeping his focus on the music helped Granduciel overcome his mental health challenges and imbued songs like “Under Pressure” (which you can listen to above) with a pleading earnestness that resonated with fans the world over.
The War On Drugs is now signed to a major label
With their sprawling song lengths, lack of choruses and introspective lyrics, The War On Drugs are a quintessentially “indie” band in sound. So it was somewhat surprising that following the release of Lost In A Dream, the group announced a two-album deal with Atlantic Records.
“The most important thing to me is that I continue to have the creative freedom to do whatever I want to do with the music I make, and if a label is down with that then I’ll listen to what they have to say,” Granduciel told The Skinny about the move in 2015.
If the release of the band’s incredible new single “Thinking of a Place” is any indication, the leap hasn’t changed their sound one bit.
Granduciel is in a long-term relationship with “Jessica Jones” star Krysten Ritter
Ritter and Granduciel started dating in 2014 and Granduciel has credited her with helping him remain centered following the tumult of the Lost In A Dream sessions.
“She’ll tell me, ‘Baby, you have to make life big.’ That's a beautiful thing,” Granduciel told Pitchfork. “I don't know what I was so scared of before. But I want to start trusting my gut and seeing what happens when you let go a little bit.”
Browse The War On Drugs' upcoming tour dates and get tickets to select shows by clicking here.