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Messages - drummerstu

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Album Board / Re: The Sound of the Life of the Mind - What do you think?
« on: October 02, 2012, 10:29:22 AM »
- the missing edge of the record, compared to earlier ones: We've talked about Ben's piano style a lot, but for me it is the drum track that is much more soft and 'standard pop'ish than what Darren is capable of. I'm not an expert, I would like to hear what others think of that?

That might be cos Darren's gotten fat in the past few years. It's also affected his vocal abilities. I thought he was near-death when I saw the Myspace Reunion video. He looked so pale and bloated, kinda like Brian Wilson in the 70s. Sledge also added a few pounds, but it hasn't affected his musical abilities in any way.

Really? I think it probably has more to do with the fact that over the past ten years or so Darren simply hasn't had to play the drums. I gave up drumming only three years ago, picked up some sticks a month or so ago and couldn't do anything with them. Sense of rhythm or anything sounding like one gone. Can't imagine what I'd be like after ten years of not playing.

Playing drums is on a par with being an athlete - you don't play, you lose the skills. I think it stands to reason that he doesn't play like he did in the old days. How could he possibly? In the old days, he had been playing drums non stop for years and years. He simply ain't gonna get them chops back just like that.

Album Board / Re: The Sound of the Life of the Mind - What do you think?
« on: September 12, 2012, 09:44:38 AM »
Only half way through at the moment - but so far, loving it! Sky High is beautiful...

And is it me or has livestream crashed? Damnit.

« on: May 02, 2012, 02:30:44 AM »
Always! Bristol and London booked. Almost went for seating, but remembered I'm only 32....

« on: April 27, 2012, 06:51:15 AM »
Ben's blog from earlier on Facebook


About Ben Folds Five, the new album.
I'm writing this on a plane. I tweeted that I wanted to blog and most responses were - blog about the new album. Fine, I'll start there. I won't correct grammar or spelling so hopefully we'll all deal. I'm typing as fast as I can... and I type damn fast if I do say so myself. I just screw up a lot....
The album started in January. We just started playing and recorded shitloads of stuff.
A way that I often wrote for us was to just sit and imagine what kind of sound, song, sentiment, arrangement I'd like to hear us do. It's easy to imagine because we have a very distinct style of playing together that was pretty much writ in stone from our first rehearsal on. There were a couple of breakthroughs back in the day... Eddie Walker was one. We figured out some tonal stuff - the floor tom ride with lots of AAAHS and fuzz bass on the chorus was a defining technique for instance.
On the new album we've discovered quite a few new things like that. We're tonally a few steps into the future. I remember when bands all had a 'sound'. I know that sounds like a total old man thing to say, but hey if the orthopedic shoe fits... You know, a band that just set up their shit, played in the corner and just had a fresh sound. I'm not saying there's no style today, just that plugging in and working with what you have makes you work hard to find a sound... okay. I'm rambling but that's what I promised to do in the blog.
So we played hours of stuff on tape and it was inspired. Quite insane. I got little sleep for weeks as I had idea after idea on how to make these sounds into songs. I'd spend the mornings at the piano and then the guys would come in. It was a burst. We began on Pro Tools with the idea of moving off when we started recording 'for real' but we saw no advantage of moving over as we were only using the Tools as a tape deck anyway and were enjoying the freedom of being able to record more than a fifteen minutes of music at a time.

We set up in my studio in the same room with a little baffling, but without the interest in separation. In other words, for engineers, we welcomed bleed.
Lyrically it began to take shape quickly and we were much richer in ideas and material than any of the albums we did together. We were supporting each other, trying each idea instead of poo poo-ing each other's creativity. It was a pretty amazing experience. UNTIL...

We ran out of time because I had stuff to do, Darren had a Hotel Lights tour and Robert's son is too young to leave for too long. So we stopped and that's where we are.
The lyric stuff. Loss of ego. That emerged as a theme. Ways to lose the ego. Funny thing is that I didn't realize that each of those ego losing songs would be failures. I mean, each character who aspired to do so only succeeds for a short time and then the ego comes back. I guess that's the way it works in real life. Anyway... for instance.... Being Frank. That's a song on the album. It's kind of historical fiction in a way. Certainly when Frank Sinatra died, he had a tour manager and let's say that tour manager was with him his whole career. Decades. When Frank passed the tour manager might have realized that he'd spent most of his adult life setting the thermostat for someone else, eating his leftovers, essentially trying to think like Frank to anticipate his needs. Frank's death would have been a crisis but an exciting one. How to be yourself when someone you're attached to is gone. What kind of coffee do you like, who are you really? But then I started to realize that that tour manager would have wanted to take some credit for Frank's career. He suggested THAT lyric or that TV show etc. Frank was really being HIM. Loss of ego, failure.
Other songs titles... Erase Me. Do It Anyway. The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind (that's Nick Hornby's lyric and my music). Sky High (beautifully written Darren song). We really spent quite a bit of production time on Sky High. It warranted it. You know that 10cc trick where they looped vocals, unison AHHHs and assigned each note to a fader on the console? Then they play the console like it's a keyboard using the faders. We did that. Nobody does that and they should. It's not "copying" 10cc... it's recognizing that they invented an instrument. We play that instrument on Sky High. I'll put up video of that. It's kinda interesting.
What else... I've had a chorus that goes "If you can't draw a crowd, draw dicks on the wall" for quite a while. Since Reinhold era. It had different melodies, but I always liked the idea. When someone wants attention and they don't get it, often we do something really stupid or even destructive. The song is Draw A Crowd. It's partially silly and partially deep. Many will latch on to the silly part and give me shit for it and maybe when they grow up they're get the other part. If not, oh well. It's okay. I like Kesha songs and some people don't.

We'll get back together in June. We kinda f*cked up. We meant to finish the album and then do gigs. But we're doing a few festivals and will be paddling ferociously between those gigs to finish our album. That's alright. Deadlines are good.

I suppose the album should come out in September and we do not want to release it traditionally at all. I'm all into traditional record releases but for this one... I want to avoid ass kissing. It's not healthy. I think we're going to pass on radio promo and on most advance press. No sending it out for reviews etc. We'll just let you know through Twitter and Facebook that it's coming out. That's the idea, and we'll see how that goes. Maybe we'll adjust our thinking. Just seems like such a musical experience I hate to be in the position of selling it to people who don't care. I'd rather spend my time telling people who DO care and save the money and time. Sell fewer records probably to those who want it. That leaves more time to make new records and tour. Less ass kissing, more music and life. A good theory... we'll see... lemme know what you think of that theory.

What else can I tell you. If you're a Robert fan, you'll shit. He's better than ever and we've grown into knowing how to put him up front and letting him do what he does. Darren is playing lyrically as ever, like a fine jazz drummer - cymbals are gorgeous and he doesn't give a damn so every once in a while he just makes a mockery of every drum fill you've ever heard but does it twice as crazy and makes it mean something. It's quite damn amazing. Look out for what he does on a song called Michael Praytor. That song comes from a 'rock this bitch' partially. I'd always liked the melody but it comes to life with Robert and Darren in a way I never expected. Its a song about how some people just come back and back into your life whether you like it or not. You don't choose them, they just show up.
There you go. I'll do another blog now. The record pops out of the speakers and I'm finding myself wondering if we should tone it down. Nope. I think it'll be just fine.

« on: April 26, 2012, 03:32:25 AM »
James, do you need to ask?! Photographing Bournemouth, London is for fun...

« on: April 25, 2012, 03:22:31 AM »
There is an upside to being on PR lists...


This winter original members of Ben Folds Five (Ben Folds, Darren Jessee, Robert Sledge) will return to the UK for the first time since Christmas 1999 playing 8 shows in the UK and Ireland.
The tour is scheduled to begin in Bournemouth on November 23. Ben, Robert and Darren first got back together last summer to record three new songs for a career retrospective 3-CD set released in October of last year. Finding it to be fun and feeling that old magic, the three original members decided to go the distance and record a full new album at Benís Nashville studio earlier this year.
The reunited band will debut this summer in the States playing just 4 major gigs in June at Mountain Jam in upstate New  York, Chastain Park in Atlanta, the Bonnaroo festival, and wrapping up at Milwaukee SummerFest. Following the upcoming August release of the album, Ben Folds Five will play a full North American tour in September-October, drop down to Australia and then begin the UK/Ireland run of dates.


November 23 Bournemouth O2 Academy
November 24 Nottingham Rock City
November 26 Dublin Vicar Street
November 29 Manchester O2 Apollo
November 30 Glasgow O2 Academy
December 1 Leeds O2 Academy
December 3 Birmingham O2 Academy
December 4 London O2 Academy Brixton

Tickets go on sale on Friday 4th May at 10am GMT at
and 0844 477 2000

Can't. Chuffing. Wait!!!!

Tour Board / Re: BEN FOLDS FIVE TOUR 2012
« on: January 28, 2012, 07:32:46 AM »
I'm in the US at the same time! Now if they add a warm up date down south a day or two before, that would be kinda perfect...if not, an expensive detour is in order, surely?

News / Re: Ben Folds FIVE tour(?)
« on: September 06, 2011, 11:35:04 AM »
THIS is why I got into photographing bands...can. not. wait!

News / Re: New Ben Folds Five song released!
« on: August 30, 2011, 12:39:02 PM »
Hells. Yeah. Y'know, I thought I'd pretty much got over the Five, but...
Quizmaster J, we shall talk at length at some point. Probably when you are drunk.

News / Re: A Glorious Tweet about Ben Folds Five
« on: August 03, 2011, 01:43:11 PM »
Hell frickin' yessssss...2011 just got good, people...

News / Re: New Ben Folds Five Album
« on: May 20, 2011, 08:45:45 AM »
now THAT'S exciting! Now Ben is back with CEC, maybe we'll get a bit more BFF stuff happening...

We can hope.

Tour Board / Re: London 20th Feb 2010
« on: February 24, 2011, 12:03:58 PM »
The best review I've seen in a while - look at all those pretty stars...


Tour Board / Re: Birmingham 19th Feb 2010
« on: February 24, 2011, 11:43:29 AM »
I've been on a massive Ben trip since Birmingham...a few days later, I have gotten over the Institute and am loving the Folds unconditionally again!

Kate Miller Heidke was brilliant - She is massive in Australia, and I shot at Sydney's equivalent of Hammersmith Apollo when I was out there, so got an album signed in a shot. All my Oz mates are jealous!

I wish I'd gotten down for the London show...two and a half hours? Man, that's some Ben lovin' - I want my extra half hour next time...

There's a 5 star review on the Independent website somewhere of the London it!

Tour Board / Re: Birmingham 19th Feb 2010
« on: February 20, 2011, 08:09:44 AM »
First time at The Institute - not my favourite venue ever...though I think I am getting old and need to site down these days. Is it me or did that place have way too many people for the amount of space...I couldn't even get my hands in the air it was that tightly packed...

Anyway, I have some shots up from Birmingham last night:

News / Re: My little Ben Folds article
« on: January 10, 2011, 01:45:37 PM »
Fair point - Just can't get past Free hurts my ears! Why?!!

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