New Interview With Rael



I was recently interviewed by Rael for the Prog Rock show on Voice FM in Ballarat.

We talked about all sorts of things, including my latest video and audio release, Dissected.

Courtesy of Rael, here’s the full interview!

Part 1 (Introduction)

Part 2 (Dissected, the 3-piece, Yes, Great & Terrible Potions, Two False Idols, new song arrangements, Chris Squire)

Part 3 (the studio, Dissected video, playing live, The Forbidden Show Of Mystery, CDs vs digital downloads)

Part 4 (Roger Dean, Captain Caper, No Specific Harm, Golden Band)

Part 5 (day jobs, new album, instrumentals vs vocals)

Live podcast available for download

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!


Crippled Minds

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.

Absolutely genuine photo of Shagpile, circa-1999.

Absolutely genuine photo of Shagpile, circa-1999.

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 the song was mixed down using 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 and the production unrealised. So that was that.

Cue 2013.

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 way ahead of our years, and spot on.

So here is the 2013 remix of Crippled Minds. No re-recording, no new overdubs, and no prizes in the songwriting competition.

An Interview with Rael

Here now, in its barely-edited glory, is my recent interview with Rael from the Prog Rock show on Voice FM in Ballarat, Australia.

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).

Part 1:
Part 2: 
Part 3: 
Part 4: 
Part 5: 
Part 6: 

Things To Come

Last Saturday the three-piece got together in the studio for an all-day session to capture our current live arrangements. This, we hope, will address our current habit of forgetting them. There were also a number of cameras present, so now there’s a double-whammy of audio and video waiting to be mixed and edited together. It captured a great moment in time and I’m hoping it will see an official release down the track.

Here is a sneak-peek of the opener, Diabolique. Just pretend your eyes are closed. Featuring Chad “The American” Borchard on bass, and Jason “Bloke Falling Down A Long Set Of Stairs With Drum Kit In Hand” Green.

I’m Dreaming Of A White…

In the spirit of the season, I’d like to offer up this raw nugget from the vaults, from the heady days of my old cover band, Rabble. It’s a version of that Cream classic, (I’m Dreaming Of A) White Room, recorded live in the rehearsal room back in March 2004.

Featuring Brad Douglas on verse vocals and drums, Renae Craven on keys and Jason Curtis on bass.


Craven on Cravens

Time to spill the beans on a new project I’ve started working on, codenamed Band of Bruces.

In the late 1800s there was an Oklahoma outlaw named Ben Cravens. No kidding. By all accounts he was a pretty nasty sort of bloke – horse theft, holdups, murder, jailbreaks, fake IDs, downloading music, etc.

Now, ordinarily his life would be pretty good fodder for a concept album (“oh dear, did he just say concept album?”) if you’re a musician with country tendencies. But if you happen to share almost the same name as him, well the deal is done and dusted.

So here is the first track off the production line, Itchy Finger. Not the first track in the album order by any means (it’s actually towards the end somewhere). But it should give you a flavour of some things to come.


You Get Me Started

Something a little different.

Recently I was asked to work on a new track to contribute to the soundtrack of a short film.

Only trouble was, it was a last-minute replacement for a song which had already been seamlessly integrated into the film’s final cut.

In other words, here was a legitimate excuse to write a short pop song!

Featuring Jason Curtis on bass, and Chad Borchard helping out on vocals, here’s “You Get Me Started”.

(Hey it could make a mighty fine car ad too..)