Live and more – Mailing list update

Hi everyone.

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.

Thanks for making it this far. Be sure to follow my Facebook or Twitter accounts if you’d like more frequent updates!

No Specific Rehearsal

Well, that’s not entirely true. This clip of No Specific Harm was filmed in rehearsal last Friday night, 30 March.

Somehow, in a power trio configuration, we’ve managed to whittle down the grand orchestras and sweeping desert landscapes to just the three of us. This is hopefully a musical taste of the live show we’re putting together. Featuring Chad Borchard on bass and Jason Green on drums. Filmed by Renae.

Now let me leave you with some footnotes.

1. Stage socks are the new black.

2. In the 21st century some of us still have box air conditioners.

3. Wiggling the tremolo arm madly in an attempt to coax some more sustain out of the guitar at the end of the song was a bad move. In a world’s first for me, the trem arm actually broke off later that night as I tried to remove it. Stay in school, kids.

4. This was the first time we’d got together in two weeks, poor old Chad having had eye surgery the week before. It never occurred to me what a powerful effect the bright studio lights would add to the mix. Performing sans sunglasses, sans eye-patch and sans blast-shield left Chad lying on the ground in urgent need of a combination of heavy painkillers and special medicine.

What price art!

What Happens In Vegas…

Ordinarily I go for Strats with maple necks.

While I was visiting Vegas recently, I stopped in at a “Center” that sells “Guitars”. I was on the lookout for something a bit different, perhaps a US-made Les Paul.

Imagine my surprise when instead I had an unexpected affair with a sonic blue blacktop Strat sporting a rosewood neck. From south of the border! I don’t know how it happened. It just did. And I walked out with it.

Blacktop Strat

Of course I’ll do my usual custom fiddling around with the hardware and electronics, but it really is a great-feeling neck and body combination. Unfortunately one or two of the harem will have to go to make way, but they knew the risks.

In the meantime, here’s some actual news.

– New reviews of Great & Terrible Potions have turned up at Progwereld (Holland), MLWZ (Poland), the Music Street Journal (USA), and JerryLucky.com (Canada).

– Keep your eyes out for the latest issue of Classic Rock Presents Prog (UK). Word on the street is there’s a positive review of Potions in it, but I’m yet to see it.

Potions has moved up to number 7 on the Progwereld World 10, and is currently charting at number 4 at the Just For Kicks webstore (Germany). That’s right, David Hasselhoff fans. I said Germany.

– I recently recorded an interview with Don Cassidy at Delicious Agony Progressive Rock Radio. To hear it, head over to the site and find the Interviews link on the left hand side. Then enjoy, in all its glory, my seldom-heard “6am Saturday” voice.

– I’m still editing the video from the Potions album launch. Almost at the half-way point, and clips of Diabolique and Nobody Dies Forever have made their way to YouTube.

Until next time!

RSPCA Gratitude Program

I was recently asked by Jasmin and Chris at Media Force Productions if I’d be interested in creating some music for a corporate video they were producing.

Damn straight, I told them. So I quickly wrote a song, to spec, in between recording sessions for the new album.

It’s completely different from anything you’ll hear on ‘Great & Terrible Potions‘. It’s not multi-layered, indulgent, pompous, or completely over the top.

But it still has some redeeming features!

Let me know what you think. You can hear it opening the clip. I should probably get in there and finish it.

Live at Ric’s Bar last Monday

First up, I’m pleased to report there were no train wrecks.

Secondly, here are some fantastic photos taken on the night by Michelle Aziz. I’m sure you’ll agree the execution more than makes up for the photogenic limitations of the subject matter.

And thirdly, if that wasn’t enough to knock all of us to the ground and leave us panting for more, here’s a bona-fide bootleg-quality video of the first live performance of Golden Band, well, ever.

My name is Ben Craven and I write songs for 10-piece prog rock bands. Then I massacre them by playing them solo.

Setlist:
Great Divide
Enough About You
If You Knew
Captain Caper
Over
Not Me It’s You
Look Away
Ready To Lose The War (new song!)
Golden Band

As Seen on TV

Recently some of my tracks from Two False Idols have been popping up on Extra on Channel 9 Brisbane.

See if you can spot them, in this piece presented by Jasmin Geisel..