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The Benjamins Biography

Last updated: 09/18/2002 01:07:50 AM

"A stack of mix-tapes brought me closer /
And I know that it's a modest melody /
That sent you out to find the perfect guy /
But found you crashing into me"

So begins the third and final verse to "Sophia On The Stereo", the third track to The Benjamins debut LP entitled "The Art of Disappointment". As the wry lyricism would suggest such to be a very appropriate title, make no mistake, these guys make wonderful music that will undoubtedly remain in your head for days at a time. If you're looking for volume -- you'll find dynamics at all levels. If you're looking for melodies -- you'll find harmonies to enhance them... However, perhaps most appealing about The Benjamins is their lacking of many rock cliches. In giving them a listen, say goodbye to the unnecessary angst that was brought on from an oh-so-rough childhood. Forget all the rules that say that Kurt Cobain, John Lennon, and Morissey have to channel through you as your spiritual gurus. Instead, welcome a group that is destined to be the first ensemble of (sincere) rock stars from Wisconsin...

Though they're among the newest additions to the Drive-Thru roster, The Benjamins have been knocking around Milwaukee and neighboring circuits since the beginning of 1998. However, it wasn't until the summer of 1998 -- which saw the addition of Ben (bass) -- that things began to fall into place. Quickly moving up from the "dirty dive" bar scene to the club and festival circuit, the group has been renowned time and time again for their live show. Though stages have been shared with artists as diverse as Goldfinger, Citizen King, and The Promise Ring, it was last summer's appearance by The Benjamins at Milwaukee's Summerfest that saw things taken to a new level. Soon after, nearly all 1000 copies pressed of their self-released six song EP "Bordering on Boredom" - recorded live without overdubs on Labor Day 1999 -- were in the hands of folks throughout the United States of America.

In the fall of 2000, the guys ventured out to Los Angeles to begin work with producer Nick Raskulinecz on their then-untitled record. After tracking him down through their love for Superdrag's complete discography, they got in touch with his manager. Having worked with visionaries like Dave Grohl, Marilyn Manson, and Billy Corgan, Raskulinecz brought in a lot of real-deal rock influence to The Benjamins. Along with the lessons learned in feedback, multi-tracking, and reverb came a sampling of the local limelight. In their time out, the guys also got a special taste of "the good life", running into stars like Benecio Del Torro and Britney Spears while out on the town.

Making allusion to the relatives, friends, girlfriends and ex-girlfriends that they may have disappointed on their paths to choosing rock and roll as their futures, they mutually agreed on "The Art of Disappointment". While some of their parents may have felt that the guys perfected such an art in not finishing college or holding down full-time jobs, make no mistake, The Benjamins are a group that has got the game mapped out and surely knows the score.

All in all, the band ensures that their close friendships with one another and their strong liking towards meeting new people helps them to hold their own. While time will tell if record sales and touring attendance also put The Benjamins in their very own category, it is certain that they're very distinct in their ideas towards the Internet. In other words, don't expect to see them suing Napster anytime soon. Using their online mailing list and e-Group discussion list to keep fans posted on all things Benjamin since day one, the possibilities seem endless with the recent launch of their official web-site ( Keeping to the topic of the near-future, however, the guys envision themselves touring endlessly (yet happily) no matter the immediate result of their first semi-major label effort.

With the intense but fun singing of Jay (vocals / guitar) and the effect-drenched riffage of Dan (guitar / vocals) taking front charge, the two perfectly complement the powerful yet on-cue rhythm section of Ben (bass) and Jon (drums). Though the four individually hold influences including Weezer, Ben Folds Five, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, The Kinks, and Creation -- to name just a few (!) -- they collectively create a sound that they frequently refer to as "power-pop with balls". While we'll let you take that term for a test drive, the praise of dozens of critics alike helped build a big buzz around the guys prior to their signing. Maximum Ink said The Benjamins "play sincere yet witty rock and roll that fits all moods and occasions" while Under The Volcano noted that "maybe Puff Daddy was right when he said it was all about The Benjamins!" Amen...

-Darren "Hollywood" Paltrowitz "MAXIMUM INK"