Interviewed by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
ORANGE GOBLIN | Sun 27th Jan @ Limelight Belfast! Interview
Original Interview Transcript
Myglobalmind: Your official website lists many personal interests outside music.Reading,Darts,Horror movies,Football,Serial Killers,History,Travel.Mythology and Sharks!!
As a fellow Liverpool fan I’m going to start with a few football questions..
What was the first game that you attended?
Ben: “I think my first Liverpool game, was away to Leicester in 1985. We won 1-0 and Ronnie Whelan scored the winner. I waited outside the ground for about two hours to get all the Liverpool players autographs. They came out and pushed me out of the way, I distinctly remember John Wark push me out of the way. I thought”you bastard”I don’t know why i carried on supporting them.”
Myglobalmind: Personal highs and lows of being a Liverpool supporter?
Ben: “There has been plenty of highs obviously Istanbul in 2005.The European cup win in 1984 in Rome,beating Roma in their own back yard..Being at Wembley in 1986 to see them complete the double against Everton was good.Lows probably Wembley again in 1996 when we lost 1-0 to United.That wasn’t a very nice day out.Probably also being at Wembley in May,taking my son for his first cup final,and lost to Chelsea.That was horrible particularly because my son was so upset,cried his eyes out at the end of the final whistle.I said that he would have plenty of chances to watch us win trophies”
Myglobalmind: Final football questions; “What are your views on Brendan Rodgers management so far?
Ben: “I think the team is a work in progress. The essential thing is that we have got to give him time,we have shown signs of being able to play good football.I think that we are a couple of players short,of what we need. I’m also very skeptical about the signing of Sturridge,and the amount of money we paid for him,but you cant argue with 3 goals in three games.That’s all you can do.”
Myglobalmind: Moving on to a couple of general questions. What were you like at school?
Ben: “I was quite good at school. Went to a grammar school, and wasn’t too bad academically. I got a lot of GCSE,s”
Myglobalmind: Was there an interest in music back then?
Ben: “I was interested in music. It was only later on that I became interested in Heavy Metal. When I was at school I was more into the sort of music my dad brought me up on.The Beatles,The Kinks…,and that sort of stuff”
Myglobalmind: What was the most difficult decision that you have had to face since the band started?
Ben: “I think we have just made it!. To actually do this as a profession, for us all to leave our jobs obviously is a big step. There are no financial guarantees. After having a very secure office job for so long, it was tough to make that leap and do this full-time.”
Myglobalmind: What is the one piece of advice that you would give to a young Ben Ward just starting out in the music business. Any life lessons learned?
Ben: “I don’t know, I am one of these people that doesn’t like to look back and have any regrets. Everything happens for a reason. Enjoy yourself, look after yourself a bit better that I did(laughs). Don’t look back,and don’t regret anything. That sort of relates to the question that you asked before, regarding most difficult decision. It was one of those things that we all said, if we don’t do this now we never will and we will never know.Lets enjoy it!
Myglobalmind: What about career high and low points so far ?
Ben: “With the band? To be fair the low points have been very few and far between. I think when Pete left the band, it was a case of wondering if we would continue or whether we would replace him. It is a case that with all of us that Orange Goblin is in us and we needed to do it. It wasn’t so much of a low point. High points have been everything really ,as you go through the stages. The first album appearing in the shops. Then touring Europe.meeting a lot of heroes, and having them say kind words about the band-that is very rewarding”
Myglobalmind: There was for the band an uncharacteristic long break between the releases of”Healing through fire”and last years “Eulogy”release(5 years). Obviously there was a reason for that I’m sure that you are keen to avoid that occurring again? Bearing that in mind are you already working on new material? Or still focusing on the promotion of “Eulogy”?
Ben: “There are new ideas, Joe writes constantly, as does Chris. We have already started working on the next one. We don’t want a similar 5 year gap. That came about basically,as life got in the way for all of us. Chris and Joe became dads again,and wanted to spend time at home. We toured constantly and did as much as we could. We just didn’t want to rush into anything. Whereas this time it will be in our own interests(now we are doing this as a job) to follow up all the success of Eulogy. Strike while the iron is hot.hopefully.”
Myglobalmind: As a fan I tend to view “Time Travelling Blues” as a band unsure of their musical direction. Do you agree with that analysis of that release?
Ben: “No “Time Travelling Blues” was just a natural progression, it was the first full album that we wrote with Chris in the band. He had written a few songs on the first album don’t have any regrets about that album. I think the one album that sort of sticks out like that is probably” Coup De Grace”which was the album where we kind of made that move away from the stoner rock thing. We wanted to avoid getting pigeon-holed and we wanted to explore different influences, things like that. I wouldn’t say that I regret any of them.”
Myglobalmind: How do you define the Orange Goblin sound today as it has evolved from that debut release of “Frequencies from Planet Ten”?
Ben: “Don’t know, as I’ve said its just a natural progression. We just try to make music that we all enjoy. We are not afraid to put anything in, if we think that the fans may not like that or what they are used to. Its our band and we want to make music, first and foremost what we want to hear”
Myglobalmind: Orange Goblin are widely regarded and have built up a strong reputation as a live band. You have shared stages with many heavyweights of the rock industry. How do you explain and indeed maintain that status? In addition both as performers and fans what are your feelings about playing with some of your musical heroes?
Ben: “I think that you have just got to treat every show with the same respect really. Whether you are playing to two people or 20,000. You go out there and you try to put on the best show that you possibly can. Especially at the stage where we are at now, headlining tours and things like that. You have a responsibility to the crowd to perform every night. We have always maintained that throughout our career. I think you can count the bad shows on one hand really. Its not really for us to say, we just go out to do the best that we can If people enjoy it then that is a bonus, and that’s why we keep doing it and try to build on that reputation.”
Myglobalmind: Any particular highlights with meeting some of your musical heroes?
Ben: “Getting to hang out with Lemmy..and people like that. I have met Ozzy last year when we did Sonisphere in Spain we got to meet Metallica, spoke to Slayer. You are kind of just in awe even now at 38 years old. I don’t think that I would be like that around footballers, but musical icons are a different thing. Dio actually is one of the nicest guys I have ever met. He really took care of us on that tour that we did with him and Alice Cooper. He really took us under his wing, gave us beers off his rider for example. He knew that we were a young band just starting out. He actually offered us advice, he was one of those that steered us on the right path.”
Myglobalmind: What motivates you to still do what you do?
Ben: ” I think that anybody that does this sort of thing will tell you, its just in you and you have to get it out. Any form of art,whether its music,painters or writing. Anybody that does something creative you need to get it out. I don’t know what I would do with out the band.”
Myglobalmind: Is it not difficult to combine that with parenthood though?
Ben: “That is the toughest thing about the job really. Missing your son, but in this day and age with phones and Skype for example its not too hard to call home and see him on a regular basis”
Myglobalmind: Are you generally somebody that embraces technology?
Ben: ” I think yes that you have to really.With the band side of things , social networking is an important part of marketing ”
Myglobalmind: It helps to break down barriers between fans and bands.
Ben: ” Yes we are now much more accessible to the fans.You can talk to them on a daily basis, fans like that they can feel that they can talk to the band.”
Myglobalmind: Final question. What are Orange Goblin,s plans for this year?
Ben: ” This is the second date of the UK -Ireland tour until February 15th. Then 5 days off before we head down to Australia, we do the Soundwave festival. That is going to be amazing,as we have never been there before. We are looking forward to that,5 festival shows then 2 sideshows with Kyuss lives and Red Fang. That will be fun.From Australia we go straight to America and do several weeks around the US and Canada supporting Clutch. That will be our first time playing in Canada. That is important now,if we do want to make a living at it. We have got to tap into other markets, I’m hoping that we can get to South America maybe later in the year. A return trip to Japan,and there is a growing scene in South East Asia and India.”
Myglobalmind: Thanks for chatting to me this evening.