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Work In Progress

Work In Progress

Who: Ben Lee
Where: University - Bar on the Hill
Author: Jade Lazarevic
When: Thursday September 18, 2003

SINCE he began his musical career as a 14-year-old in Perth, BEN LEE has had a reputation for moving between projects.

In the past year, his collaborations have included work with JUANITA STEIN, from WAIKIKI, EVAN DANDO, BEN FOLDS and BEN KWELLER.

But that doesn't mean Lee has decided to throw away his solo career.

It simply means, he explains, that he loves to work with other people.

``It's collaboration, I love it,'' Lee said.

``I just love people and I love getting inside other people's processes and seeing how they work and what's important to them.

``That kind of stuff is really valuable to me.

'' As well as writing and recording with Dando, Folds and Kweller, Lee has focused a lot of his efforts on his musical partnership with Stein.

The pair have released their co-written singles HERE COMES SEPTEMBER and COMPLICATED with Waikiki, and Lee said they already have an album's worth of material waiting to be recorded.

The truth is that Lee loves collaboration so much that he put his own album on the backburner to tour with THE BENS in early 2003.

His latest album HEY YOU.

YES YOU was released in Australia in November 2002 and follows up the success of his 1998 album BREATHING TORNADOS.

But it has taken Lee almost a year to get the new album out on the road.

He will finally kick off his overdue Hey You.

Yes You tour in Australia next month.

But while many artists would be itching to tour with their album after its release, Lee was happy to continue working away with his side projects.

``I guess I probably would have toured sooner I hadn't worked with The Bens but for an artist like me who has been playing for 11 years, I don't feel like I have to follow a strict way of promoting a record.

``To me, everything I do promotes everything else.

``I do a lot of side projects and I think that it all feeds off each other, so to me it wasn't the kind of decision where I was doing something bad for the promotion of my album.

'' Although the album has been in the hands of fans for almost a year, it has been in Lee's hands for much longer.

The album was recorded and ready to go by the end of 2001.

But after a series of problems with Lee's producer, his plans were put on hold.

Another factor that drove the album's delay was Lee's acting commitments to his first feature film THE RAGE IN PLACID LAKE.

The choice to venture into film was just another one of the many decisions made by Lee in a bid to try something new.

``I'm interested in everything and I just got asked to do it and it felt right, so I did it.

``I had a blast making the film so there is no reason for me to say I wouldn't do it again.

``If someone wants me to do it and it feels good, I'll do it.

'' Unlike many amateur actors, Lee had an advantage.


But for now, Lee is focusing on his Australian tour which will kick off in Perth next week before arriving at the BAR ON THE HILL at NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY on September 18.

Tickets are available on campus from CONTACT or on 49-683-717.

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