B i o g r a p h y
Writing your own bio is like. pulling your own teeth .... and when your doing it........... you're thinkin' why? So I let my friend Jim (aka JP) write it. Here it is:
I first met Ben in Bethel, Alaska during the fall of 2011. I’d seen him bomb about town on his mountain bike, often with a cased-up guitar bandoliered across his back. Later, I had the occasion to hear him play some funked-up, jazz-infused, classical piano selections for a local fund-raising event. We chatted a few times about the meaning of life out on the tundra and I placed him in my mind-file under the category of ‘interesting characters’.
Three years later, I was back in Bethel, standing around a bonfire with friends, keeping warm during a single-digit night. There was a full moon and meteorites streaked the sky. A trampoline may have been involved. Ben showed up with his bike and guitar and somehow pulled enough heat from the flames to keep dexterity in his fingers. For the next hour, he entertained us all, a diverse gathering of cross-cultural folks not only from the Lower Kuskokwim RIver, but also from the Alaskan road-system as well as recent Outside escapees. He played a mixture of original songs and covers of rock and soul classics. He even took requests. Some goof ball asked for the Cindi Lauper song, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. With deadpan comedic perfection, Ben nailed it. It was one of those rare nights when you knew you were part of one the coolest things happening at that moment anywhere on the entire planet.
It takes a lifetime to become an ‘interesting character’ and Ben qualifies. He’s been a musician since the age of five and began writing music by the time he was ten. He’s played stand-up bass in school jazz bands and while at Wasilla High, with his sister and friends, formed Spiritus Mundi and another group that copped the name, the band. After high school, he played and recorded with The Drunk Poets out of Palmer. Moving on to college, he started the group, Shriek. Ben decided that school wasn’t for him, so he began jamming with friends in Seattle before landing back in Alaska. With guitarist Mike Fleck, he formed Fleck’s Frenzy, a short-but-intensely-lived band that gigged around A-Town.
But then it was time to see the world and off to Holland he went. He formed the group, Billy Goat’s Gruff and toured around the Netherlands and Belgium with another ex-Drunk Poet’s new band, Bowel Flowers.
Visa issues forced a retreat to the States. After a short stay in Alaska, Ben moved to Vermont, focusing more on writing songs for piano. With guitar in hand, he busked the streets there for five years to make sure his dues were being paid.
Returning to Alaska in 2011, Ben composed and recorded his first solo album, “Comin’ Home to You with Toilet Paper on My Shoe”. Yes, there is off-hand humor in a few of his songs. In 2013 he formed the band, The Acoustic Oosik with a variety of sidemen and they’ve appeared all over the state including three different bars in Nome during the 2014 , 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2019 Iditarod.
Ben has recorded two cd's since “The Boat of My Imagination” and "Twenty Thousand Day Dreams Under the Sea". Your sonic palate might detect flavors of Waits, Dylan and Prine blended with Knopfler, Westerberg, and Police-era Sting. You’ll be able to perceive hints of Lennon and McCartney and the occasional pinch of Shankar spices it all up into a quirky curry.
With three cd's under his belt a tour is pending. Will he tour near your neck of the woods? Is there an event you want him to play?
A back-yard barbeque perhaps?
A weenie roast?
Call him. I don't know his number... I lost it ...on purpose... Damn dude used to call me late at night mumbling nonsense about meteorites and Volkswagen engines...
Should you be lucky enough you will catch him...
Lucky if he don't steal your watch... or kick your dog...
Awe... the only reason I am writing this is cause he paid me in cash and promised to not play Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" on the piano.... seriously this dude is weiiiiird....