This page is the home of The Magical Armchair, Frank Maynard’s Ben Folds Website. Following in the footsteps of the highly popular Frank Maynard’s Ben Folds Five Website, you’ll be able to stay current on everything related to Ben Folds.
A little history
I’m often asked about the origins and history of the Magical Armchair.
The website grew out of a need for a source for news and information about Ben Folds Five on the new medium known as the World-Wide Web. Very few artists were on line at the time. It came about on my personal web account back in the fall of 1995, shortly after the release of the group’s eponymous first album, during one of their earliest tours. The only other information I could find online at the time was a single page on the Caroline Records website, which held basic catalog information and wasn’t being updated with band news, tour dates or anything else. I gathered as much information as I could and put the site online.
At the same time, I started spreading the word on e-mail listserves that I belonged to, and raised enough interest to start an e-mail discussion list for Ben Folds Five. This was released initially in digest form and was constructed manually – fans would e-mail me comments and other items to post, and I’d periodically compile them into a digest and e-mail them out. Ben himself was one of the earliest subscribers, along with his manager, Alan Wolmark of CEC Management, both of whom were very accepting of my efforts and have helped tremendously with the development of this resource over the years.
A year or so in to the existence of what was called the “Ben Folds Five Digest,” one of the listmembers suggested that a name be chosen for the list. I solicited nominations, compiled the top five most popular names, and put it to a vote of the membership, which by then numbered close to 500 members. The largest vote-getter was The Magical Armchair, and so it was christened. In that same time frame, a very generous offer by a listmember, Ralf van Dooren at Fontys Polytechnic in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, to host the e-mail list under the Majordomo list-management software resulted in the Armchair being automated. The Armchair survives to this day and is currently hosted at topica.com, but will be morphing and moving to this site in the near future.
The website remained “Frank Maynard’s Ben Folds Five Website,” and when the band broke up in 2000, a separate “Frank Maynard’s Ben Folds Website” was spun off. I had always wanted a real name for the site, so in 2007 I finally decided to adopt the well-known Magical Armchair name for the website as well.
Now and into the future
The Magical Armchair site carries on the tradition of bringing the most recent news, tour dates and information about Ben, his music and his collaborators to readers around the world. News feeds are constantly monitored for items of interest to our readers, and Ben himself checks in with me from time to time. The current version allows readers to post their moderated comments on news items as well, so please feel free to add your thoughts to the discussion. I’d personally like to know what you think, so please contact me if you have a comment, a question, or a news item.