Ben Franklin - 12.16.09

Interviewed by
Ben Franklin - 12.16.09The following is a mini interview of generic questions that we posed to all bands that wanted to answer:

BEN FRANKLIN - (Billy Gray)


Eddie Garza - Bass, Vocals
Billy Gray - Guitar, Vocals
Sarah Tomek - Drums, Vocals

1. How did you get your band name?
Well, we needed a name quick! My previous band had come to an end but there were still a couple of shows on the calendar, so the old singer Adam and I asked our friends Eddie and Joe from the Imperialists to fill in as our rhythm section. We needed to come up with some name to play under and so we started emailing long lists of names back and forth, and they were mostly all really bad (that's mostly my fault), and then in frustration at the end of a long list I wrote, "Ben Franklin was a Whoremonger and God Bless Him," and we all thought it was pretty funny. And it stuck! Although it got trimmed a bit. We thought his name was quite appropriate to our way of approaching things.

2. How did this band get started?
Well, after that first couple of shows done for the old band, Eddie and I took things forward on our own, writing new material and sticking with the name. Adam and Joe stuck with us for a little bit, but they needed to move on, so we had to strike out on our own. We had our first show booked when our first drummer Andrew decided he wasn't into it, so I asked Sarah to play drums as a favor. She's a pretty well-known thunderbolt and session drummer in the Asbury Park area. We've known each other since our first band in high school, and she's an incredibly talented musician, so I knew it would only take a couple of rehearsals.

From there we played another show or two and decided to record a full-length with Sarah (again, I think we had five full rehearsals for OPTIMIST with Sarah, although Eddie and I practiced practiced practiced), and then we got serious about playing shows together and really making a go at it. Which I suppose is a bit out of the usual order, but we've been having a lot of fun.

3. What bands are you influenced by?
We all listen to a ton of really varying music, so I'm pulling straws from a hat here. Eddie loves Guided by Voices, Get Set Go, Weezer. Sarah has always been crazy about Aerosmith, Fugazi, and The Rolling Stones (sorry Sarah, that was lame on my part). I'm a huge Fugazi fan, Dismemberment Plan, Tom Waits, Spoon.

4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would it be and why?
The Press, who are friends of ours and are really one of the best bands we know. They're also total maniacs, so it would be a lot of fun. I guess in the realm of people we don't know, touring with The Stones would be amazing. Or Jay-Z. Man knows how to put on a show.

5. If you were a furry, what animal would you be? Why that animal?
ALF! When he does that number with the pickle? Amazing.

6. Why should people listen to your band?
Because we kick ass AND we make girls cry (this did happen once). Not easy to do.

7. If you were chosen to be in Guitar Hero/Rock Band, what song would you want in the game? How hard do you think it would be to five-star on expert?
"Drink to Forget." It would not be that hard at all, but it's a damn lot of fun to play live.

8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?

9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?

10. Memorable tour experience?
"Wanna come back to our place and do bong rips?" That didn't end well.

11. What does AP.net mean to you?
AP.net was the first site to review my first legit record ever, so I've been checking back in and seeing what's around ever since. There's an excellent community here, as evidenced by the recent threads where bands are sharing tour contacts!

12. What is your favorite song to play?
"Team Work," I think. Need to get a recording of that. I suppose that's for the next record.

13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
Eddie's been to Mexico a lot, and recently Australia. Sarah's been a fan of California lately, and I really ought to pick a nice place to visit. Japan was amazing. I'd like to go surfing some where warm where there's not a lot of people. Consistently awesome waves not even required. Toronto is an awesome place to chill out in the Summer. So's the south-western US desert, in the cooler months. The Gunks outside New Paltz in upstate NY is a wonderful place to hang for a day or two, do some rock-climbing.

14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
The Temptations.

15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
Instant brain-to-brain communication. On demand of course, we don't want any spam now.

16. Do you feel that your band has "made it"?
Well, I dunno... how many underage women did Steven Tyler have to sleep with before he "made it"?

17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
Sarah has a rad '66 Ford Mustang.

18. What's your favorite holiday?

19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
I usually listen to Alan Watts or rant about social justice on Facebook.

20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
I can cook a mean burrito. Sarah has a great singing voice, and Eddie can fall asleep anywhere under any circumstances.
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