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Ben Kweller

Ben Kweller

Who: Ben Kweller, Ben Lee, Ben Folds
Where: Civic Theatre
When: Sunday March 16, 2003

"It's funny because I'm only 21 years old but I feel like I have so much experience, it's the funniest thing," Kweller said.

"I've been performing on stage since I was 12, writing since I was seven and I got my first guitar when I was 10, so I feel like a bit of a veteran."

Kweller formed his first band at age 12, a three-piece punk act called RADISH.

Radish was one of several adolescent bands Kweller formed, with others including GREEN EGGS AND HAM and MIRAGE.

"My main band was called Radish and we were together for six years but I had about three or four other bands around town with all these different names.

"They were just your standard local band names, you wanted your band name to sound real tough."

Now an accomplished solo artist, Kweller has released his debut solo album SHA SHA to critical acclaim.

Inspired by a blend of folky, pop-rock in the same style as BECK, Kweller is now touring with BEN LEE and BEN FOLDS.

Touring Australia under the banner "The Bens", the trio was the result of ongoing pleas from fans to form what has become somewhat of an alternative music supergroup.

"Me and Ben Lee are the same age and we've known each other for a while and he introduced me to Ben Folds and I've always admired him.

"But basically how this all came together was that our fans were on our websites telling us that we should all play together, so one day me and Folds were doing a show in New York and he said `Man, we should really get together and do this'.

"So me and Ben Lee flew down to Nashville and wrote and recorded the songs together and we did four songs in three days."

The resulting EP by THE BENS will be released to coincide with their March tour of Australia.

And how does the trio manage to avoid confusion with their matching namesakes?

"I call Ben Folds `Foldsy' and call Ben Lee `BL'.

"They call me `BK', or whatever, `Kwell', `Kweller', `Kwellmeister' ... it's pretty much on a last name basis because our first names are pretty similar."

The Bens will perform at CIVIC THEATRE NEWCASTLE on March 16. Tickets are available from Ticketek on 4921 2121.

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