The War On Drugs began in the early days of the new Millennia in 2005. Born in Philadelphia, this band, once comprised of Adam Granduciel and Kurt Vile, with a collection of exceedingly extraordinary talent that includes Charlie Hall on drums, Jon Natchez (Sax and Keyboards), Eliza Hardy Jones (Percussion and Keyboards), Anthony LaMarca (Guitar), David Hartley (Bass), and Robbie Bennett (Keyboards). Kurt Vile left after the first album to concentrate on his own career (and I say great as The War On Drugs is MUCH better without him).
Today, The War On Drugs have a library of five studio sets that are nearly unbeatable by any standard, and Live Drugs, an extraordinary Live document of a band that excels in the live setting. Their last album is the untiring I Don’t Live Here Any More. Released in 2021 on Atlantic Records, it can be played an infinite amount of times and still be as amazing as the first time. And for us old-timers, that’s a thing! We love our classics and most of WOD‘s library fits on that stage.
I have spent many days, almost a full decade, listening to The War On Drugs. And while they have gained in popularity and importance in today’s Rock offerings, they deserve far more attention than that. They can be construed as a transitional band, bridging effortlessly from the ’70s into today’s style of Rock and Roll. At times, they even exhibit strong Post-Punk strength (listen to “Baby Missiles” and then you tell me!)
Let me clarify a bit more. If you find Bruce Springsteen an insurmountable force especially on his first five or six albums, then you have the idea of the strength of War On Drugs. For me, Adam Granduciel matches the grandeur of early Springsteen, both in lyrical power and depth, and in musical capacity. Granduciel is my Springsteen for today, and his band is my E Street Band. I’ll even go as far as to say that Granduciel is more in touch with the human condition than Springsteen ever has been lyrically. Will we remember The War on Drugs in the future as fervently as we now remember Springsteen? I sure hope so! Because we should!
I recommend you investigate The War On Drugs if you haven’t already. There’s no need to put down where to start as any track is the one to start with. But if you insist, I’ll lay down “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”, “Living Proof”, “Harmonia’s Dream”, and “Wasted” as a good place to start with. And they’re all on their latest album. I’ll leave you with “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”, “Wasted”, and “Baby Missiles” as foundational stones.
If you have an argument, or an agreement, leave your comments. I’d love to get your attention for a band that matters now.