Ben Ely has been playing in bands for the past 25-plus years.
From Pangaea, Brokenhead, to the much loved Regurgitator… along with his varied, solo initiated projects. Now he has ventured into a genuine, wood-grained solo album, 'Goodbye Machine'.
On the road currently with Dan Kelly, Ben will promote his new album with a string of launch shows in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth.
To get you along, Ben has penned the following open letter.
I used to lie in bed late at night, while my family slept. Listening to my Walkman with my head under the pillow to block out the sound so my Mum couldn't hear it. I had made compilation tapes of hours of music I had collected off the radio on those long nothing to do, bored-teenage Sunday afternoons.
My brother though really turned on the light in my mind for me with his purchased, Midnight Oil cassettes, spending many nights jumping on his bed with tennis rackets in hand letting the music work us into an adrenalised fury.
We both felt we had found a message and a spirit in the chaos.
An energised medium that spoke to us... The sound gave us hope in a world that was threatened to be taken away from us by a nuclear bomb in the blink of an eye. This was the '80s.
Then at 17, a little drunk and on the back of a speeding motorcycle we raced through the rainy night to the Boondall Entertainment Centre to watch the legendary Oils play. Our first live concert.
The volume and God-like energy these mortals mustered elevated our teenage senses far above this material realm and spirited me towards my new religion… rock & roll.
Years later after experimenting and not succeeding in various rock ensembles I found my co-conspirator. It was at a full-moon party in the hinterland behind the Sunshine Coast in the forest on an amazing hippy commune. High on something with a huge bonfire raging I picked up a bass guitar and started jamming with this attractive Vietnamese fella who was playing drums at the time. We connected instantly via smiles and cheeky riffs.
Later… staggering into the forest to take a pee this guy named Quan began licking the leaves on the trees and rubbing them on his face. Why are you doing this I asked? "They are so smooth" he stated. After this I knew I had to start a group with this interesting chap. Quan and I have kept a career going in Australia making music in a rock band for over 20 years. Crazy...
Everyday I wake up and feel lucky and grateful for our fans who make it possible for us to be able to make music, pay the bills and put food on our table.
Over the last few years, I've found a strange kind of peace making songs alone with a guitar in a room. Without the clanging drums and screaming guitars, I still believe music is my religion in a similar kind of way I felt back as a teenager watching Midnight Oil play. The difference is, with this style of music it is more of a meditation rather than an exorcism that you share with friends.
Saying that... I still love to take part in the occasional exorcism.
Ben Ely's Solo Album Launch Shows
Thu 5 Nov - Django Bar (Sydney)Sun 8 Nov - Junk Bar (Brisbane)Sat 14 Nov - Clifton Hill (Melbourne)Sat 19 Dec - Four5Nine Bar (Perth)