Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Emerging Artist Interviews: Ben Franklin

Submitted by Sarah, Billy and Eddie.  The Brooklyn-based punk rock band can be seen playing all over NJ and NYC.  It's no surprise that Ben Franklin has been generating lots of positive press recently, including JerseyBeat, BlowUp Radio, and more! You can check out their tunes at:

1. What was the first record/cassette/CD that you owned and how did it change you?
Billy: Well, I had The Temptation's greatest hits as a stocking stuffer when I was a kid and that was all I needed to get through fifth grade, I think. Criss-Cross just seemed whack. Although, I do remember going to their MTV-sponsored concert at the beach in Belmar that turned into a big race riot. Imagine a ton of local black kids swarming all over the fabled play-land of the Jersey Shore characters, who are drunk and wielding crow bars and other random weapons and you have an instant powder keg. The first cassette I bought... I think it was Metallica's _Master of Puppets_. I'm not sure how it changed me, but I know my mother was worried.

Sarah: Milli Vanilli- 'girl you know its true" . It destroyed me when i realized they weren't singing those songs. god they were so pretty.

Eddie: My parents had Michael Jackson's Off The Wall, which I loved as a little kid, and basically claimed as my own. After that I got MC Hammer's, Please Hammer, Don't Hurt Em. I learned from a young age that everyone loves a catchy melody and a dancy beat. 
2. If you could pick any musician's brain over a beer, who would it be?

Billy: Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips. 
Sarah: Thom Yorke from Radiohead. Its a cliche answer for good reason!
Ed: Robert Pollard, Guided by Voices

3. What would the name of your band's biography be?

Billy: "Oh God Damn It, Who Just Farted?"
Sarah: You didn't know, we already wrote one! Its called "Fart Proudly (a letter to a royal academy)"  ck it out
Ed: Was A Whoremonger And God Bless Him, The Story Of Ben Franklin

4. Which musician would you be most comfortable dating your mom?

Billy: The Boss.
Sarah: Bruce- good answer. i think he may even be taller than my mom.
Eddie: Billy or Sarah

5. Name your dream tour: up to 5 bands, dead or alive.

Sarah: Dismemberment Plan, Fugazi, Dr. Dog,  At the Drive in, Nirvana, (and secret late night show w/ Metallica, circa 1986)
Ed: Pixies, Replacements, Who, Guided By Voices (Bee Thousand Era), Weezer (Pinkerton Era)
Billy: Flaming Lips, Autolux, The Clash, Spoon, Jay-Z

6. How would it feel to play with your favorite band?

Billy: Far out, man.
Sarah: Like a free music lesson
Ed: Boner! 

7. What's the funniest moment your band has ever experienced?

Billy: There are just so many...
Sarah: dont know that we can recall. which i think is self explanatory. we have a fun time. all the time!
Ed: I fart a lot on stage. That's funny.

8. ...the craziest/most bizarre?

Billy: When Eddie put his bass into the wall at the end of a show.
Sarah: What billy said
Ed: Sure 

9. Who are you musically influenced by that no one would ever guess by listening to your music?

Billy: Old school NES music.
Sarah: Phish- (shut up eddie)
Ed: Beastie Boys (haha, Sarah's a hippie) 
10. Tell us about the most unique member of your band and why he/she has earned this title.

Billy: Sarah, she plays more instruments than either I or Eddie.
Sarah: im the girl and have larger muscles, its crazy.
Ed: Yes, larger muscles.

11. If someone invested a million dollars into your band, how would you use the money?

Billy: I'd invest it in our music. And perhaps on a reefer delivery service, but mostly the music. I mean, that's a lot of rent, and food, and would really free us for a while. Especially the reefer. It would also pay for studio time and equipment, and make going on tour a lot less difficult in terms of having a home when you get back.
Sarah: First off, we would buy better beer.No more of this hack domestic garbage.Then I would suggest buying a band house in this market and investing in gear to expand our home studio. Then hotshit booking or management so we dont have to worry about anything but music. Oh and a band shrink.

Billy: No more High Life? 

Ed: I'd take my share and run away to Thailand.
12. How do you feel being on stage when the audience is having an amazing time?

Billy: Like an angel.
Sarah: affirmation on why i do this again
Ed: Normal

13. Which 5 songs would you cover if you had a cover band?

Sarah: Journey- "Dont stop believing", Journey- " Wheel in the Sky", Journey- "Faithfully", Journey- "Lovin,Touchin,Squeezin", Journey- "Lights"

Billy: "Land of the Freak" by King Khan and the Shrines, The Smith's "How Soon Is Now?", "London Calling" by The Clash, "The Great Curve" by Talking Heads, "One Armed Scissor" by At the Drive-In.

Eddie: Color Me Impressed - Replacements, A Quick One While He's Away - The Who, Surfwax USA - Weezer, Manta Ray - Pixies, Back To The Lake - GBV, everyone would hate us. 
14. If you swapped ipods with other members of your band, what's the most surprising music you'd find?

Billy: I wouldn't be surprised by anything they're listening to. Okay, maybe Rob Halford.
Sarah: Eddie-"Sesame Street - Platinum"
Ed: Sarah, Debbie Reynolds Inspirational Healing Seminars

15. Name the place you'd most like to play a show, anywhere in the world.

Billy: TOKYO!
Sarah: We're huge in Japan
Eddie: A dirty pub in Holland 

16. What's the most memorable musical moment of your life?

Billy: Playing contrabass for Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 in F minor in the Monmouth Symphony.

Sarah: My last band's last show. [Days Awake] We took our $ guarantee and made it a huge final party for our fans w/ gifts drinks, food,confetti and shit. We passed out free shots and at one point whole room did a toast together. When I started to see people in the front well up tears and all, it hit me really hard.

Ed: Too Many. 
17. If you got a band tattoo, which band would it be?

Billy: "This is not a Fugazi tattoo"
Sarah: Ben Franklin- Tougher than Chuck Norris
Ed: The OAOTs 

18. Tell us a situation where another band really helped you out.

Billy: We've only been around for a year now, but bands we know from Jersey (Invincible Gods, Frozen Gentlemen, Una Pong) have been super helpful in terms of getting us out of the city, in front of enthusiastic audiences, setting up great performances.
Sarah: iGods have been great to us, we heart them!
Ed: Brook Pridemore is gonna help us book our tour! 
19. What moment has made all of the hard work being a musician worth it?

Sarah: its the endorphins from the stage that does it for me .I should of been a veterinarian instead of a musician, but you cant help yourself. you don't choose it, it chooses you. 
Billy: Every time I get to entertain people, it's worth it.
Ed: Never worth it.  

20. If your band was a comic, what would each member's super power be?

Sarah: Billy- Leonardo, Eddie- Donatello, Sarah- Raphael
Billy: I'd be a dancing machine. Or maybe Super-Climbing-Guy. Sarah goes invisible, and Eddie can read peoples MINDZ MAN.
Ed: I can fly, Billy's hair can be used as a torch, Sarah can drink more than anyone on earth. 
[ Eddie has clearly never seen Sarah with a beer bong ]