Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cheeseboy interviews a real live celebrity!

- We interrupt my usual Cheeseboy shenanigans and blabbering to bring you the first ever Blog O' Cheese celebrity interview.  -

Have you ever been fortunate enough to get an email from one of your personal heroes?   I received an email from my musical hero last week and I am still floating on Cloud 9. (Clouds 1-8 were occupied by a fleet of renegade cloud riders.  Cloud 9 has better restroom facilities anyway.)

I emailed Ben Cooper, otherwise known as "Radical Face", on a whim - doubting that he would ever respond to some dude in Utah that teaches first grade.  His band, "Electric President" just released a new album entitled The Violet Blue in February.  In addition, he just barely released a  solo EP entitled Touch the Sky under the "Radical Face" name last month. Needless to say, he is a busy man.

When I received an actual reply from Ben, stating that he would be happy to answer a few questions, I rejoiced by cartoonishly whelping and dancing like a kooky moron. My wife, who for some reason likes country music, had no idea why I was so elated.  Had Mr. Cooper seen my reaction, I doubt he would have granted such a request. 

There is a pretty good chance that you may never have heard of Radical Face, Electric President or Ben Cooper, in which case, may I introduce you to the WORLD OF AWESOME?!  The man, only 24 years old, is a musical genius.  If you are a fan of The Postal Service, Freelance Whales or pretty much just good music in general, you will love anything and everything Ben Cooper.  If you do not like his music, there is either something wrong with your hearing or you are an idiot.  (I only call my readers "idiots" with the greatest amount of love and respect.)

Anyway, I asked Ben three questions.  This is how it went:

Q: As a first grade teacher, I fear that music education is not being taught to young kids.  How did you get into music as a kid and what where some of the musicians you listened to and had an influence on you?

A: The first group I got into as a kid was, of all things, The Doors. I heard it at a friend's house in the 2nd grade. We used to spend a lot of time just sitting in his room, drawing comic book characters and listening to The Doors "Greatest Hits" that he'd taped from his dad. And at the end of the tape was "Goodbye Blue Sky" from Pink Floyd, which I assumed for the next ten years or so was a Doors song until I picked up a copy of "The Wall". But that was the first band I really listened to. Later, in middle school, I was really smitten with Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, and The Beatles. This eventually led to The Pixies and Sonic Youth, which kind of opened the floodgates to all the independent bands out there. It was around then that I bought my first guitar, and I've been at it ever since.

Aside by Cheeseboy: So cool!  I was into all those bands as a kid too.  Especially Pink Floyd. 

Q: Much has been made of the shack behind your house in which you record your albums.  I have seen video and it is really just a shack.  So the question I have is why do you record there?  Is it because of convenience, necessity, or perhaps a more authentic sound?

A: I started recording there out of necessity. I didn't have anywhere else to work, and I wanted to learn to engineer my own music. So I just dealt with it. But in time I grew endeared to it, and now I love it, warts and all. I've recorded in proper studios a handful of times, but I always came back home and scrapped everything and went back to working in the shed. It's doesn't look like much, it's hot, the roof leaks, it doesn't sound too great, but I don't mind any of that. I think the important thing is to be somewhere you enjoy working, whatever shape it might come in. You can work around the rest.

Q: What advice would you give a young kid that is looking into music as a career? 

I'm not sure if I'm in a position to be giving anyone advice. I'm still just figuring it out as I go. But something I've always told my siblings, that works with music as well, is: "Most of the things around you -- your house, your furniture, the video games you play, the music you hear, the movies you see, the books you read, the food you eat -- is made by people. None of it is magic. You can make those things too, in your own style, if you decide to." I always used that thinking as a way to tackle big projects and not be intimidated by them, or think they were beyond me. I try to pass it on when I can.
--------------------------------------------

Still don't believe me that Ben is ultra-cool (on account of his answers and the fact he took the time to actually email me back) and a great musician?  Check out this terrific video of the guy and hang on until the end in which he shows you the shack behind his house where the magic happens.



In addition, check out the video for the single "Welcome Home."  I defy any of you to listen to this song more than once and NOT be addicted.  Amazing stuff:



Finally, I told Ben that I was thinking about teaching the first graders in my class one of his songs and I promised that I would send him the video.  He thought that was pretty cool. 

You can find all of Ben's stuff on the iTunes store under "Radical Face" or "Electric President". 

I can finally come down from Cloud 9 now.  "Leave it better than you found it" is what my Scoutmaster always said.  What did he know anyway?  (I mean besides knot tying, Indian folk lore, basket weaving and how to take care of horses?)

Tomorrow we shall return to our normally scheduled Cheeseboy nonsense, where I go back to only semi-successfully being funny.

46 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Only 24? Okay, I'm giving up guitar playing as of right now!

blueviolet said...

I've never heard of them, but it's incredibly cool that he took the time to be interviewed.

Donda said...

WOW You got the hookup! Can you get word to Letterman for me please?

Everyday Goddess said...

That's so great, I'm happy for you!

I like his sound, thanks for the introduction.

tammy said...

Very cool.

Sam Liu said...

How wonderful, Cheeseboy! Getting to interview one of your heroes must have been brilliant, and how kind of him to respond and with such charm. Thank you for introducing me to Ben Cooper and his music, I'll be sure to look him up some of his work :) And by the way, your questions were great - you'd make a great interviewer :D

MiMi said...

I've never heard of em, but I'll have to check em out now that I know how cool he is!

Missy said...

This is Too Cool for School!!! I am in love! Love the idea of the walls of houses holding stories! If my walls could talk. LOL

Shelly Belly's Boutique said...

cool that fame didn't go to his head, and is still down to earth to give you a response like that! That's awesome. I used to work downstairs from a record label and saw Nickleback one day, but didn't have the guts to go up to them. You never know how they will react.

Holly said...

So we have to know... Did you interview him AS "CHEESEBOY" or with your real name?? LOL!!

Cool that you got the "IN"! ;D

The Bipolar Diva said...

That was so cool. You are now the "awesomized" one to me!

Garden of Egan said...

I'm kinda impressed. Who knew that silly Cheeseboy would be all famous and stuff. We'll call you the next Leslie Stahl.
Remember the little people when you're famous.

The Church Lady said...

I have never heard of Ben Cooper or Radical Face. I did watch the You Tube videos. He reminds me a little of Dave Matthews.

That is too cool that you were able to interview him. Who will be your next famous interview???

Writing Without Periods! said...

Cool interview.
I'd never heard of them but that's not surprising. I'm still trying to find out who Nickel Back is.
Mary

T said...

I'm saving the viewing for my 15 year old son who believes that living and breathing music is the way to go... hurry up kid!!!

In the meantime - why did you marry anyone who listens to country music anyway? she must have a lot of other amazing qualities.

T said...

okay - son (and I) liked his stuff... son did say "If I had money I'd buy that guy a drum set" though... :) ahh... to be 15 and perfect again!

jennifer said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the interview with the included videos. Gainesville Florida has produced a lot of talent and Ben Cooper is among the numbers.

Congrats to you for scoring a celebrity interview. Very cool!

Joann Mannix said...

If you ever want to ring the battle cry for more funding for the arts, particularly music in schools, I will stand at your side with my written word. Seriously.

I am ashamed to say, I don't know him, but I was enthralled within the first few chords. I'm off to Itunes. Yay for you Cheeseboy. To be on Cloud 9 is a glorious thing. Relish it.

I'm going to listen to new music now. Nothing gives me more of a thrill.

Joann Mannix said...

I also want to see the rest of your playlist. Who else am I missing? Talk to me, man.

Teachinfourth said...

Pass off some, being able to meet one of your personal heroes… well, at least to be able to communicate through e-mail. I think that I would be on cloud nine as well!

Okay, I'm off to check his links now; I'm ready to have a new favorite musician.

ModernMom said...

How cool that you got to interview a celeb! Well done:)

Bossy Betty said...

Very cool!!!

Corrina Terry said...

Never heard of him or his band, but am willing to listen. That is very cool that you were able to interview him!!!

(I like country music too. Tell your wife she's not alone!) ;o)

Lolidots said...

a.) How have I never heard of this cat? I'm totally diggin' this music!

2.) How cool are you to get the interview?!

c.) You know what's next, right? Rolling Stone magazine, here you come!

sinika said...

I'm so amazed at musician's minds! My hubby is one too- and thinks about music probably 85% of the time. (I'm not even kidding.)

Thanks for the intro to Ben Cooper...

ScoMan said...

I'm pretty sure you've interviewed a celebrity before. Didn't you once interview that guy from Twilight?

Plus there was the time you were in that other guys truck.

Anyway, it's super cool another celebrity took the time to get back to you.

Leeuna said...

Great interview. I loved the videos and Ben sounds like an all around nice guy. Awesome song. Congratulations on scoring the interview. I'd be on cloud 9 too. Thanks for sharing with us.

Powdered Toast Man said...

I really liked how he used the stomping of the wood in that song, I caught myself tapping my foot to it.

THE OLD GEEZER said...

Ben sounds like a interesting person.
I'm glad you got your interview with him.

~Ron

SparkleFarkle said...

Cool!

(Sears just emailed about an upcoming sale. Your Ben Cooper deal definitely tops that.)

Pedaling said...

You Have Arrived!

Martha said...

Thanks for the intro to this great band and talent. Love the fact he records in a shed.
I am a longtime fan of The Doors and Pink Floyd too.
Thanks, Cheese Wiz, nice interview.

Connie said...

I hadn't heard of him but I realized it's because I'm old, so I asked my 24 year old daughter if she knew him, but she's not very cool either! We listened to his song and love it! No wonder you were so excited that he answered your email! I think you can stay on Cloud 9 a little longer if you want.

Debbie said...

What a great guy to respond to your email and let you interview him. And yes, I was also that accomplished at 24. Or at least I could do my own laundry.

SueLovesCherries said...

Hey CB! I haven't commented for a long time, but I've been reading for sure!

Interesting post - I featured the red chair on his porch on Rednesday this week!

Don't kick yourself - I thought your Richard Dawson post was good. (But, then again, I eat pickles out of the jar . . .)

Shrinky said...

Aww, what a lovely guy, and his music is great, too! My baby sis' is a high school music teacher, married to a saxophonist, and my eldest son has played one form or other of guitar (well anything with strings to it) since he was seven (he's eighteen now), and fancies himself as a singer/songwriter. Guess you can say this post hits all the right buttons with me (grin).

I love, love your enthusiasm, it's contagious - what a great post!

Unknown Mami said...

It was nice to see the Fanboy side of Cheseboy. Cool beans.

Kelley said...

That is awesome! I can't listen to his music right now but definitely plan to soon. If Cheeseboy likes this guy, why wouldn't I?? On another note, I am playing "Captcha Balderdash" over on my site again today and would be so honored (alright, I'd light fireworks!!) if you made up a funny definition to your Captcha word!

M-Cat said...

Okay so I read the post, got a first impression and then came back to listen to the music. My impression is the same.

1. He's def an artiste! I am not, so I have no way of identifying with him.
2. Dug his music. SERIOUSLY liked it. But I hate watching professionals peform music. I somehow feel very embarrassed for them and all their emoting and dramatizing etc. I closed my eyes instead and just loved the music.
3. How is cloud 9? Never been there, could you do an indepth post of what it's like and how one can aspire to get there?

Emmy said...

That is so awesome. Sounds like a great guy

Claire said...

Cheeseboy, That is awesome! I am excited for you!! That's pretty awesome that he wrote you back. I mean, I didn't do anything cool with my interview,someone randomly asked random people & I jumped but you actually wanted an interview with someone, set out to get it & made it happen & that is the coolest.
I am excited for you & those were great questions.
I'll check out his tunes later on!

imbeingheldhostage said...

You're like really famous now, aren't you! I like this and am heading to itunes, thank you :-)

DEZMOND said...

now this is a celebrity I've never heard of :)

Baby Sister said...

Well look at you Mr. Popularity. Congratulations. :)

Mary said...

It's always great when someone we admire takes the time to recognize it!

I've always felt I did my duty in music education to the masses since my mom (who is turning 60 this year) knows & sings songs by Hole, Nirvana, Metallica, Guns & Roses, etc, simply b/c I would sing them all the time.

su-tang 3000 said...

Holy crap it takes a long time to scroll to the bottom of your comments. Nice work on the interview. I was very impressed with your skillz.