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.
Singer-songwriter Billy Joel is probably most famous for his frequently airplayed hit Piano Man, about a fellow who bemoans his life as a bar entertainer and the steady stream of characters that inhabit the typical tavern. The term has come to be associated not only with Joel but also in reference to Ben Folds in an edgier way (I doubt Joel would throw a piano bench at the keys, for instance). While Joel’s style is more along pop lines, Folds’ is anywhere from balladeer to irreverently raucous. Despite their differences in style, Ben still credits Billy for helping to blaze the piano-pop path.
If you’re still in doubt about the similarities and differences between the two, you’ll have a chance for a consecutive comparison on New Year’s Eve. (more…)
Update: As expected, it’s out, available for listening online.
Ben did a live album, aptly titled Ben Folds Live, several years ago, comprising live material from his solo shows and teasing fans with the Five/Live similarity. Well, now there will be a Ben Folds Five Live album, gleaned from live performances as the band was touring in support of The Sound of the Life of the Mind.
Tracks and shows: (more…)
Even though most, if not all, of the songs will be out and about already, the reunited Ben Folds Five’s recently recorded album The Sound of the Life of the Mind will be officially released on September 18 through Ben’s longtime Sony Music affiliation. Taking a leaf from the PledgeMusic campaign making contributors all “vice-presidents of promotion,” the album’s on the “ImaVeePee Records” imprint.
In addition to the already-out Do It Anyway, the Folds/Sledge/Jessee collab contains the tracks Erase Me, Michael Praytor Five Years Later, Sky High, The Sound of the Life of the Mind, On Being Frank, Draw a Crowd, Hold That Thought, Away When You Were Here, and Thank You For Breaking My Heart.
Fans who donated to the PledgeMusic project will get access to the tracks earlier than the album release date.
A short tour of US venues has been announced for September and early October, followed by a few dates in Australia and several in the UK and Ireland; details are on the tour dates page.
Fresh on the tour schedule are Ben Folds Five shows here and there across the south and midwest, and one in Holyoke, Massachusetts, in September. In addition to the previously announced shows in New York and Pensacola, new shows are added in North and South Carolina, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Austin and Kansas City. Tickets on sale this week; see the tour dates page for more.