We Interviewed Ben Folds on His Way to Play for Obama, You Should See His Sausage Trees
This past September, the piano, bass, and drum trio Ben Folds Five returned with The Sound of The Life of The Mind, their first studio album in thirteen years. Folds’ snug, idiosyncratic vocals, the churn of his keys, and the band’s agile dynamic are still intact. The compositions bust out well with Robert Sledge’s bass distortion while Darren Jesse’s drums tidy up the often self deprecating spillage. The juices had begun to stir in 2011 when they came together to record three new songs for an anthology of their material. Shortly after, they played their first concert in over a decade at New York’s Mountain Jam Festival. Then came Bonnaroo, Milwaukee Summerfest, and Old St. Patrick’s Church Block Party in Chicago. At that point, they couldn’t not do a new album.
In January 2012, the trio went into Folds’ own Nashville studio, originally built in 1964 by Chet Atkins as the historic RCA Victor Sound Studios. After they took some time experimenting with chord changes, arrangements, and feels, they opted for a simplified method of recording, keeping the piano, bass, and drums all within ten feet of each other in the studio’s big room. Joe Pisapia (Guster, k.d. Lang) was enlisted to co-produce. A portion of the album sales, and other BFF items ordered by fans through PledgeMusic is going to support Music Education and Music Therapy, a charity chosen by the band. Folds spoke while en route to Washington, DC to play the Obama Inauguration festivities on Saturday, January 19th.
What is a cover over the years you’ve loved to play?
I’ve always enjoyed doing “Barrytown” by Steely Dan. But we don’t do anything necessarily unique with it. My greatest memory of any cover is getting to play “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” with Burt Bacharach. I got to do it with him on television. It was quite an honor.
So what is the sound of the life of your mind?
Ah, a good question. I’d say right now the sound of the life of my mind is the sound of your voice in my phone. And the Frankie Goes to Hollywood song. What’s the sound of the life of your mind?
Jan 23, Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre
Jan 25, Las Vegas, NV - The Pearl
Jan 26, Los Angeles, CA - The Wiltern Theatre
Jan 27, San Diego, CA - House of Blues San Diego
Jan 29, Anaheim, CA - House of Blues Anaheim
Jan 31, San Francisco, CA - The Warfield Theatre
Feb 02, Reno, NV - Harrah's Tahoe
Feb 04, Seattle, WA - Showbox at the Market
Feb 05, Portland, OR - Roseland
Feb 16, Tokyo, Japan - Hitomi Kinen Kodo
Feb 18, Tokyo, Japan - Shibuya Kokaido
Feb 20, Hiroshima, Japan - Club Quattro
Feb 21, Nagoya, Japan - Club QuattroFeb 22, Osaka, Japan - Melparc Hall
Everything You Need to Know About the Life of Nelson Mandela
Weediquette: Stoned Kids
Munchies: Jackson Boxer
Live Streaming the Ukrainian Revolt
Jihad Selfies: These British Extremists in Syria Love Social Media
The Internet Is a Giant Lie Factory
People in Colorado Are Now Shooting Themselves Faster Than They Can Die in Car Crashes
The VICE Guide to Travel: North Korean Motorcycle Diaries
I Have Voluntary Tourette’s (and Am Insane)