In the late 1990s, Alan Sparhawk of the Duluth band Low wrote
a song that would become a geek anthem. The lyrics consisted
of just two lines: "Fear is gone. We’ll be philosophers."
Sparhawk and fellow Low band-member Zak Sally
had been experimenting with new electronic sounds, and had
formed a side project, the Hospital People. They recorded
a few demo tracks in 1998, and a small record label in New
York, Duck Suit, released two of those songs on a phonograph
single. One of the songs was, "We’ll Be Philosophers."
The song was a message of hope to disenfranchised
youth, and was embraced by small factions of geeks across
the nation. The Hospital People played a handful of concerts,
but the project was eventually abandoned as Sparhawk and Sally
returned their focus to their primary band, Low.
In the spring of 2002, "We’ll Be
Philosophers," by then a cult classic, was chosen as
the "Love Theme" for the spotlight dance at Geek
Prom, despite being one of the most undanceable songs ever
In 2003, the Hospital People played Geek Prom
with a lineup of Sparhawk, Chris Bacigalupo and Brian Ring.
Staging complications prevented the band from playing "We'll
Be Philosophers," but Sparhawk returned to the stage
to sing the song with Manplanet performing the music.