Thursday, April 06, 2006

FDF Volume 1 Issue 3: Ben Folds Five Whatever.

Album - Whatever and Ever Amen
Artist - Ben Folds Five
Key Players: Ben Folds - vocals, piano, Robert Sledge - bass, Darren Jessee drums
Produced by: Caleb Southern and Ben Folds
Recorded - Sept/Oct 1996 in Chapel Hill, NC
Released - March 18, 1997

Overview: Whatever and Ever Amen is the second album from Ben Folds. "Brick" the song about Ben Folds girlfriend having an abortion was the biggest "hit" from this record making them somewhat household names. Ben Folds Five was around from 94-2000 totally as three-member band. Formed in Chapel Hill, NC they are seen as the fore-fathers of "piano rock". The joke is old "why are they called ben fold five when there are just 3 of you?" Folds is quoted as saying "Trio doesn't equal five?"

FDF Comments: Opening with the piano pounding One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces the bass is brought right out with a nice fuzz effect and for a trio of "piano rockers" they really get cooking. Brick everyone knows that song, what else can I say on that?. Song for the Dumped is the ultimate revenge post break up song. Kate was always a stellar sing along song..I WAANNNA BE KKKKKKKATE! Stevens last night in town has one of the fuller sounds due to a violin and clarinet part used in the song.. Battle of Who Could Care Less really showcases the bass work of Robert Sledge. Some of the slickest melodic bass playing you'll hear.

Where are they now: The band had an amicable breakup in October of 2000.
Ben Folds has gone on to release a few solo records and continues to tour heavily.

Robert Sledge sang and played bass in a band called International Orange but they disbanded in 2005.

Darren Jesse now fronts the band Hotel Lights. Their myspace page is here

FDF Personal Comments - FDF had the chance to see Ben Folds Five live three times. The most interesting part is the fact I saw them these three times all in one year?! May 27, 1997 was the first time at the Paradise in Boston. The funniest moment was a person yelling for "Uncle Walter" from the back of the room in the HEAVIEST Boston accent. "Play Uncle WHAALLTAH". The next was the second stage at the HORDE festival on Aug 8th. The highlight of that was meeting the band afterwards, telling them I taped them, and then getting their mailing address. Granted nothing came of it but still. The final time was Dec 2, 1997 when the band was part of the WBCN Christmas rave. On the bill the same night was Everclear and the ever amazing Catherine Wheel.

FDF Overall Take - A perfect introduction to "piano rock" if you will. The band were very talented and a trio of bass, drums and piano was just as off the wall as it sounds. It worked, was refreshing and fun. It still is fun and this cd will get your toes tapping.


At 8:15 AM, Blogger Dim said...

I never much cared for them, to be honest, but Xteen had this CD and one that was just billed as Ben Folds. Both of them found their way onto the iPod, and I do have to admit, when a Ben Folds song comes up, I usually look at the iPod to see who it is because I usually like it a lot.

I did think their breakup was a bit acrimonious. Didn't the trio sue to keep the name "Ben Folds Five" even though Folds himself had left? I thought I remember hearing that. I might be wrong though.

Good job...I look forward to reading these.

- D.

At 9:28 AM, Blogger Jenny G said...

Ohhh, I love Brick. That's the only song of theirs I know. Well, that I know I know anyway.

At 9:58 AM, Blogger Road to the Isles said...

And the highlight at the Horde festival was also meeting them and asking them in person if I could be the fourth member of the band and play my flute. They said "sure thing" and then laughed.


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