By popular demand, here’s the full version of the theme for my musical variety talk show. The boys from The Manhattan Mob and I are actually up for an Australian Independent Music Award for this tomorrow night!
Introducing… The Forbidden Show Of Mystery!
The world’s premier progressive-rock-musical-variety-chat web show!
Join me on the very first episode when Australian proggers Ben Craven & The Section (that’s us) are interviewed by Kevin Mulryne (the voice of Yes Music Podcast) and perform selections from the albums Great & Terrible Potions and Two False Idols.
Future episodes of The Forbidden Show Of Mystery are in production, however in order to maintain appropriate levels of both forbiddance and mysteriousness, their exact content and scheduling cannot be revealed at this time.
But you can tell by the lovingly-crafted insanely-catchy lyrically-diverse theme song that I mean business.
I am hopeful that The Forbidden Show Of Mystery will eventually claim its rightful timeslot at approximately 3am on community television.
Like many guitarists, I am the proud owner of a Fender Blues Junior amplifier. Picked it up for a song when a major Australian music retailer went bust a while ago. It’s a nice little amp but many people on the interwebs complain that, stock, it sounds “boxy” and lacks bottom end. This is mainly a symptom of cramming a 12 inch speaker into such a small cabinet. Fortunately there are plenty of ways of improving the sound. Continue reading
As you might remember, Ben Craven & The Section performed live for a video webcast a few weeks ago.
We were interviewed by Kevin Mulryne from Yes Music Podcast in the UK and played four songs – Diabolique, Nobody Dies Forever, Golden Band and No Specific Harm. It was a grand experiment in online streaming and tested the limits of my internet connection and Google’s capabilities. Plus there were hijinks and mayhem and laughs all round. Especially hijinks.
The podcast is now available for download. Grab yourself a copy and if you have any requests for a future streaming event, please let me know!
Been a while since my last email, so I hope you’re doing well.
Just wanted to let you know that Ben Craven & The Section (that’s us), in proud association with Kevin Mulryne at Yes Music Podcast, will be holding a live video podcast this coming Saturday, 11 May, at 14:00 UTC.
I believe that’s 3pm in London, 10am on the US east coast, 7am on the US west coast (sorry about that – we’ll set a better time next time!) and midnight here in Brisbane, Australia. Please let me know if I’ve made any mistakes there..
We’ll have a chat with Kevin, perform a few songs live in the studio, and aim not to resort to all sorts of increasingly desperate measures to be entertaining.
If this works out, I plan to do more like it. If it doesn’t, I plan to get it right and do more anyway. It’s difficult to tour the world and get the message out, so I think this might be a good way forward.
The broadcast will be accessible via a YouTube link, posted to my website, Facebook and Twitter accounts right before we start. We’ll see how it goes!
One Friday in 1999, probably August, I was in a covers band called Shagpile, with Brad Douglas on drums and Jason Curtis on bass. Excellent band name.
We discovered, through a friend, that a prominent Australian alternative radio station (known for “un-burying” hitherto unknown and unsigned bands) was holding a competition for our city of Brisbane. Only trouble was, the deadline for song entries was the following week. This was the period before songwriting competitions had exploded across the internet, and way before I had figured out that (a) when they say recording or performance quality don’t matter, they’re lying and (b) the judging process is frequently more politically motivated than artistic.
Brad and I had already started writing songs together. Enough About You and If You Knew were in the can, but were nowhere near recorded or ready to release. We needed another song, and we needed it yesterday.
So I conscripted some music from one of the demos I had previously filed away for a project that would one day become greater and more terrible. Over lunch, we wrote lyrics for Crippled Minds, a cheery jaunt about the pleasures of working life. What followed was a whirlwind recording effort. We cut the instrumental track over the weekend and recorded vocals one night after work. Then I mixed down the song wearing cheap headphones. I thought the garage-like sound quality would fit the spirit of the competition. The package was express posted and we sat back and reflected on how clever we were.
Apparently Crippled Minds didn’t impress the one person at the radio station who maybe listened to it.
Shortly afterwards I became dismissive about the song. I felt the subject matter was too heavy, the lyrics were a bit naff, and the production unrealised. So that was that.
How would Crippled Minds have sounded if I’d been able to mix it today? That’s what I suddenly started wondering. Perhaps I could have done a better job of hiding the limitations of the equipment we used at the time. I tracked down the original files and gave it a go. Many years later, I now realise that the lyrics Brad and I put down were ahead of their years, and spot on. Deep down we probably knew they were true, but I didn’t want to admit it back then.
So here is the 2013 remix of Crippled Minds. No re-recording, no new overdubs, and no prizes in the songwriting competition.
Only a few weeks to go now until the first outing of Ben Craven & The Section, right here in Brisbane, Australia. If you’re in the area on Friday 30 November, feel free to drop in to The Tempo Hotel (388 Brunswick St) for our inaugural live three-piece experiment!
There was a ragged band that followed in our footsteps..
OK I’ve been pretty quiet lately I’ll admit, but not inactive.
Welcome to the mailing list if this is the first email you’ve received. And thank you of course to everyone who’s bought a copy of Great & Terrible Potions or Two False Idols recently, or ever.
Over the past few months I’ve been rehearsing with a three-piece band here at Desert Comb Studio, generally late at nights and very early in the mornings, and knocking together new arrangements of old and not-so-old songs. I’m excited to announce that the first live performance of “Ben Craven & The Section” will be happening on Friday 30 November at The Tempo Hotel, 388 Brunswick St, Brisbane, Australia. More details as the date approaches!
As you might imagine, I was fairly doubtful in the beginning that we’d be able to reproduce any of these songs without an army of backing musicians or backing tracks. But through the gentle art of refining and distilling (and potion ingestion), I think we’ve managed to pull it off in a traditional power-trio configuration.
Not long ago we spent a day recording and filming the new arrangements in the studio. Mainly so we wouldn’t forget them, but also with the idea of a commercial release in mind. The video editing is currently underway, and I’d like to point you to a very early test-edit of Diabolique.
This clip is not public on YouTube and won’t be in its current form, so you’re amongst a select few who know about it. In fact it’s only been seen so far by the band members themselves. For the eagle-eyed amongst you interested in continuity errors, we filmed several takes of each song during the course of the day, and we won’t be wasting any shots!
If you’ve missed any updates from my website lately, here are a couple links which might be of interest..
Recently I was interviewed by Music Web Express 3000 about the reissue of my first album, Two False Idols. It’s an in-depth piece which gives away all sorts of dark and dirty secrets about the making of the album and how it evolved from a band project to a solo record.
Also, in its barely-edited glory, is my audio interview with DJ Rael from the Prog Rock show on Voice FM in Ballarat. We hit on such topics as dueling banjos, Star Wars, Barry Williams, cloth-eared nincompoops and English accents.
And of course (gratuitous plug alert) vinyl copies of Great & Terrible Potions featuring a glorious gatefold sleeve designed by Roger Dean are still available from my Bandcamp site.
Huge thanks to Rael for the long chat and for featuring so many songs from both my albums on the show.
Listen below as we hit on such topics as dueling banjos, Star Wars, Barry Williams, cloth-eared nincompoops and English accents (in that order).
I recently was interviewed by Robert Silverstein from mwe3.com about the reissue of my first album, Two False Idols. It’s a terrific in-depth piece which gives away all sorts of dark and dirty secrets about the making of the album and how it evolved from a band project to a solo record.
Read on, if you dare.