This imaginative San Francisco pop band was born in the head of Andrew Goldfarb, a writer, musician, and artist possessed by a sense of the theatrical and the romantic. In 1996, Goldfarb -- previously a member of oddball indie outfit Caroliner -- was travelling in Paris when he discovered a copy of the book Memoirs of Extraordinary Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, written by one Charles MacKay in 1841. He proceeded to read a chapter entitled "The Slow Poisoners," a nasty little tale about a hale and hearty British aristocrat who, over the course of six months, is poisoned by his two nefarious enemies. The seductively mysterious nature of the story stuck in Goldfarb's brain, and he soon enlisted older brother Ed to help record Great Spiders and Diamond Powder, an album evocative of everything from monster-filled seas and jungles to wan European dandies sipping sherry in an antique dirigible. Utilizing the talents of a bevy of Bay Area musicians, Great Spiders showcases Goldfarb's elegant songwriting and absurdist lyrical sensibilities and Ed's penchant for classical arrangements. The Slow Poisoners soon evolved into a steady live outfit, comprised of Goldfarb on vocals and guitar, cellist Mica Pollock, bassist Tim Plicka, and drummer Dan Agrella. Pollock later left the band and guitarist/keyboardist Rich Trott was ushered in. Goldfarb has proven to be a unique performer and set designer; a favorite feat was to extricate himself from a straitjacket, while other gigs were drowned in a stream of bubbles that appeared from a giant papier-mâché head. He's also something of an activist: in 2000, he and Trott wandered through San Francisco's City Hall wearing nothing but telephone-pole flyers, pleading the cause of free advertising. Later that year Plicka was replaced by Christopher Webber.