“I never said anything very clever.”
Would you give me a short shot, what´s going on in today´s local punk scene? And bands or clubs you prefer or not prefer?
Ben: No idea. I haven't been out to a show I wasn't playing in many years.
What question would you like to be asked in interviews, but you are never asked? And what is your answer?
Ben: Usually questions about songwriting, nobody ever asks about that. If they did, my answers would undoubtedly point out what I brilliant songwriter I think myself to be. So maybe it's better if nobody asks.
Please give me one or two questions to ask the next band I interview.
Ben: 1. Why bother? 2. Really. Who cares?
What is the best sentence you have ever heard, that someone has managed to get into a song's lyrics?
Ben: “The 'Phaedo' and 'Timaeus' are works which demonstrate the conscious separation of the knower from the known and the dual nature of the body and the soul.”
Which record could I find in your CD-player or at your turn-table?
Ben: I just burned a compilation CD for my nephew with stuff like Chuck Berry and the Ramones and the Blue Oyster Cult and a whole bunch of other stuff. I was listening to the Dickies last week too.
What is your fave word, that you used very often for writing songs? Any explanation?
Ben: “Wanna” maybe. Or “Baby”. I use the word “seems” a lot, too.
What are your favorite punk sites on the web?
Ben: I don't have any.
First record you ever bought yourselves?
Ben: “Goofy Greats”, circa 1974 or 75. It was a K-Tel compilation featuring bubblegum greats the Ohio Express and the 1910 Fruitgum Co. as well as stuff like the Tokens and great songs like “Ahab The Arab” and “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron”. Soon after I bought Aerosmith's “Get Your Wings” and the floodgates opened.
What was your last interview you did?
Ben: I don't remember.
Please describe the best local eccentrics - the unique and interesting people in your town.
Ben: There's a crazy guy who hangs around the coffee shop who pretends to be homeless. He always has his Walkman on and he only listens to Olivia Newton-John. His name is Joe so me and some of the people at the shop refer to him as Olivia Newton-Joe. There's some lunatic who drives around town in a red cargo van plastered with American flags in all the windows. He's got sticker letters on the side of the van that read "9/11 - Never forget!" The guy who owns the New Rebozo isn't very interesting but he's somewhat unique in that he says "Oh my GOD!" after every third word. He even has "Oh my GOD!" printed on the receipts at the restaurant. I used to run into this guy up by the record shop who was in band. It seemed like every week the band was changing. First they were funk, then they were soul, then r&b, then gospel. And every time they changed styles, they'd get new stage clothes, like suits or jumpsuits. There were like a dozen guys in the band. And he'd describe the new costumes to me and I'd always tell him they sounded really terrific. He really seemed to think he was going to make it big any day. All he needed was the right clothes to go with the right kind of music. Hey, it works for punk!
What was your most cherished toy when you were a kid?
Ben: I had an Evil Knievel doll/motorcycle combo I was pretty crazy about.
What´s the most over-rated and the most un-rated punk rock band?
Ben: Right now? I have no idea.
If you get the chance to play on a tribute – sampler. Which band did you like to choice?
Ben: I don't know, I'm not too good at covering other people's stuff.
Do you have a day job beside the music?
Is punk relevant in your life anymore or just a phase of your misspent youth?
Ben: No, it's not really too relevant in my life anymore. But it wasn't just a phase of my misspent youth either. I like the music but I can't stand everything else that comes along with it. I used to love all the drama and politics and social bullshit, but I can't stand it anymore and that's why I don't have anything to do with it anymore.
When you look back at the time you spent in Screeching Weasel, what sticks out the most? What's the general feeling you get about it? Do you miss it?
Ben: I don't miss it. Honestly, I'm embarrassed by the lack of quality of most of the music. Most of the time it really wasn't very fun for me. It was a lot of work, mostly work that I really didn't know how to do, so I did it very badly a lot of the time. I have no idea how the band did as well as it did. I used to think that as time passed I would gain more objectivity about the band and be able to understand why it did okay. But the more time that passes, the less sense it makes. I'm glad it did well and there were some really fun times, but I'm very happy it's all over now and I can get on with the rest of my life.
Being over the teenage age, how do you view teenagers now?
Ben: With distrust, contempt and a sense of annoyance, like any reasonable person my age.
What was the strangest thing that´s been thrown at you on stage?
Ben: A class ring.
Who is/was the biggest loudmouth in punk rock, that you met or knew? And why?
Ben: Aside from me, Al Sobrante. Al has balls. Half of what he says is bullshit, but the other half is pure gold.
The most clever word you ever said?
Ben: I never said anything very clever.
Anything you would like to add?
Ben: Not really.
Ralf Real Shock would like to thank Nanette and Steven from "Fat Wreck Chords" in Berlin, for making this short interview possible.