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Check your papers and the TV

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.

“So There” album reviews this week

sothere_200Here are a few of this past week’s reviews of So There:

  • Straight-up chamber pop, by Samantha Vincenty in PopCrush
  • A dramatic turn on par with Bob Dylan’s electric set at Newport, from Lee Zimmerman of Glide Magazine
  • Deceptively happy ruminations, by Bill Lamb in the Wisconsin Gazette
  • Never the same album twice, by Annie Zaleski in A.V. Club
  • I want to piss in your yard with this record, in which Ben drinks Scotch, plays knives like they’re drumsticks and gets all potty-mouthed with Danielle Bacher of Billboard Magazine
  • Pleasant, affable personality (could this be the same Ben? Never the same interview twice, I suppose) of whom the orchestra draws out the purest essence, by Adam Kivel writing in Consequence of Sound
  • Definitely sounds like a Ben Folds record but with strings and horns that aren’t merely part of the background, says Michael Quick writing in the University of New Haven Charger Bulletin
  • Kurt Weill meets Randy Newman and Leon Russell is Jon Sobel’s impression, writing in BlogCritics

Nationwide Insurance commercial

toddler_nationwide_250What’s that song again? Your ears don’t deceive you. The latest television ad campaign for insurance giant Nationwide features the 2008 Ben Folds & Regina Spektor song You Don’t Know Me as its musical soundtrack.

The 30-second spot is titled Toddler and it depicts dealing with adult frustrations, such as waiting at the motor vehicle office and enduring terrible service in a restaurant, by showing toddlers in these real-world grown-up situations to emphasize that good service, such as that which Nationwide provides, is everything.

Watch the commercial here.

Image copyright and courtesy Nationwide Insurance.

Full “Community” song surfaces

Community_200You probably recall either seeing Ben Folds pop up in a cameo role on the January 9 episode of the NBC-TV show Community, or you heard about it afterwards and are waiting for the rerun. There was also something about dropping money down people’s pants to the tune of – what was that? - Ass Crack Bandit??? Nothing out of place for Folds, whose repertoire includes such off-color lyrics as “Well, f*** you too!” as well as his cover of Dr. Dre’s classic B****** ain’t S***”. But the aforementioned song about currency and peoples’ derrieres ran during a network TV show, much to the astonishment and delight of viewers and critics alike. And although video clips have been posted online of the minute or so snippet of the song that aired in the episode, the full-length version remained in the vaults – until today, when the full version of ASSCRACK Bandit appeared on YouTube. Here, in all its three minutes and 56 seconds of glory, is the song you’ve been waiting to hear. So get your MP3 players ready for some intragluteal numismatics and a few chuckles besides.

Show about Nashville music scene features Folds

Since landing in Nashville from his native neighboring state of North Carolina (via Los Angeles and Australia), Ben Folds has made his mark on the Music City scene, from buying and restoring an iconic recording studio to underwriting music education. A new television documentary celebrating the history of Nashville’s music will feature Folds as one of its cornerstones. Airing on ABC Television Sunday, November 3, For the Love of Music: The Story of Nashville examines the artists, producers and songwriters who make Nashville what it is and features three dozen of the city’s most prominent music figures. “You can’t get that many talented people in one area and expect the genres not to grow,”said Ben, who’s joined by stars from today and yesterday ranging from Duane Eddy, Bill Anderson and Charlie Daniels to the Black Keys and Peter Frampton. The film airs on Sunday, November 3 from 3-4 PM Eastern time.