Okkervil River

Will SheffVocals, guitar
Patrick PestoriusBass2005-2016
Justin SherburnKeyboards2007-2016
Lauren GurgioloVocals, guitars, mandolin2008-2014
Cully SymingtonDrums2011-
Michael St. ClairTrumpet, violin, keyboards2011-2016
Will GraefeGuitar2016-
Benjamin Lazar DavisBass2016-
Sarah PedinottiKeyboards2016-

Okkervil River Artistfacts

  • Okkervil River lead singer Will Sheff has a knack for writing songs on airplanes. "Rider," from the band's I Am Very Far album, was written while Sheff was trying for 4 or 5 hours to sleep on a plane. "I Guess We Lost" also popped into Sheff's head while he was on an airplane.
  • Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff likes reading Grimm Brothers stories. Sheff told Drowned in Sound that after reading a giant collection of their fairy tales, he realized that he only actually knew about 5% of all of the fables they had written.
  • Will Sheff admits that he is "interested in pornography." In an interview with Pitchfork, Sheff explained that pornography is "the simplest art form there is" and that there is "so much meaning that floats around it." Okkervil River's song "Savannah Smiles" is even about an adult film star named Savannah who commits suicide after she is horribly disfigured in a car accident.
  • Will Sheff isn't a fan of his own singing on the band's early albums. He says that no matter what, he sings he "sounds like he's sad." Sheff says he originally intended for everyone in Okkervil River to write and sing their songs, but he quickly realized that he needed to sing his own songs himself or nobody around him would care about what he was doing.
  • While recording Okkervil River's breakthrough 2005 album Black Sheep Boy, singer Will Sheff was still working a regular job at a video store. Sheff would record all day long and then go in for a night shift. He had to work every single day because the video store didn't pay him very much.
  • When Okkervil River first recorded the song "John Allyn Smith Sails," their producer hated it and didn't want to put it on their record. He almost convinced singer Will Sheff to leave it off but Sheff decided to just put it out anyway. "John Allyn Smith Sails" turned out to be a fan favorite.
  • Okkervil River lead singer Will Sheff says if there's anything he could change about himself, he'd be more extroverted. Sheff says he's outgoing onstage but shy and introverted offstage. He also thinks his shyness makes people think that he's weird when he's not.


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