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Ben’s Friends and Relations

Takeover Tuesdays: On politics

As we approach the consequential midterm elections in the US, Ben is turning his Facebook page over on Tuesdays to issues of politics. Every week he’s featuring a guest commentary to encourage fans (and everyone, really) to vote in our November 8 Congressional elections (and, in many states, local and statewide elections). Current commentaries come from his manager, Mike Kopp, a longtime political operative turned music manager, and Scott Goodstein, Mike’s blogging partner, who took the opposite course and transitioned from music to a career in politics. Both have tremendous insights into our political landscape and are worth paying attention to.

The bottom line in the effort is to excite everyone – especially young people – to pay attention to the candidates who want to serve as their representatives and to the issues on the ballot in their communities, and to register and vote in this fall’s election. The weekly commentaries are well worth the read, and will hopefully motivate you to get involved.

 

New band and song for Chad Chapin

The BrethrenIf you’ve attended a Ben Folds show in recent years, you may remember Tambo-Man, the mysterious figure who  appeared on stage to play the tambourine and occasionally the guitar. Tambo-Man is actually former tour manager Chad Chapin, a Grammy-nominated drummer in his own right, who got the role, as the story goes, when Folds had a dream that Chad was playing drums during a show. Chad comes from a musical family – he’s played the drums since childhood, and his brother Lonnie plays bass. They got their start playing in the band at their dad’s church and went on to back up Michael Tait in his Christian rock band TAIT, where Chad earned the reputation of “the Tommy Lee of Christian rock”.

The two brothers have now teamed up with another pair of brothers, (more…)

New Darren Jessee album now out

Darren Jessee, former drummer, songwriter and vocalist for Ben Folds Five, has another new work of his own. Available today, Remover is described as an album that “redefine[s] the significance of quiet moments with grand consequence.” Indeed, the leadoff single of the ten tracks, Never Gonna Get It, is a quiet ballad about separation and loss, laced with dreamy orchestrations and gentle melodies.

You may recall that Remover was a name for a band that Darren put together in 2003 but was changed to Hotel Lights because another band already had that name. The title stuck with Darren, though, and resurfaces as the title of this latest work.

Remover is available through the usual digital channels and on vinyl. For more info, visit darrenjessee.com.

Majosha, then and now

If the names Eddie Walker, Evan Olson, Snüzz Uzzell and Millard Powers aren’t as familiar as those of Darren Jessee or Sam Smith, you’ll want to take a look back in the musical history of Ben Folds to his early days bouncing around the North Carolina music scene.

A feature article, A Ben Folds Lovefest, in the Greensboro, N.C. weekly Triad City Beat this week has a great overview of how Ben got into the music business, the friends he involved and met along the way, and some of the crazy gigs they played.

Reading Brian Clarey’s feature helps to explain the origin of many of Folds’ iconic songs like Army, where Ben drops out of school and forms a band which he subsequently gets kicked out of. It goes into Ben’s multi-instrumental abilities, with onetime bandmate Evan Olson describing how quickly Ben could learn a new instrument. And Olson’s not surprised at how many times Folds’ musical career has evolved, having realized at the time that Majosha was an “ephemeral project” but that it was time to move on.

The article concludes with a wrapup on what Ben’s original bandmates are currently up to.

There’s more about Ben Folds Five and the early days in our original Ben Folds Five website, still available using the link in the column to the right.

Gracie records album, opens for dad

pinkelephantGracie Folds, Ben’s daughter, has a fledgling music career of her own and a five-song EP album to show for it. Released in August, the EP titled Pink Elephant features five songs that are very reminiscent of dad’s early material. Unusual rhythms, wryly cynical lyrics and discordant runs and chords run throughout the melodies, described by one commenter as Bach meets Aimee Mann. She plays piano and guitar and Ben contributes hand claps.

The album is available on Bandcamp for whatever you’d care to pay for it, and as a bonus, she’ll be the opening act at Ben’s shows in New Haven, Conn., Northampton, Mass., and Burlington, Vt., and possibly more, this fall.