Essay, Research Paper: Ben Folds Five


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Ben Folds Five is a band who started in 1994. Ben Folds Five is a trio not a
quintet, which it is often mistaken for. The band originated in Chapel Hill,
North Carolina. Ben Folds Five is known for it’s half punk and half
alternative sounds. The famous band Styx and the famous band Journey have given
Ben Folds Five music the title of “punk rock for sissies.” In the late
1980’s, Ben Folds played bass in a band called Maj=sha. The band was not very
successful. Maj=sha only cut one record not giving itself a big name. In the
early 1990’s, he played drums in a group called Pots and Pans. Folds then
moved to New York after Pots and Pans broke up. He did some theater work and
signed a publishing deal with Sony Music for his singing. This publishing deal
allowed him three weeks to return to Chapel Hill and form a new band. Ben Folds
Five then originated. The trio includes three band members with much experience
under their belts. The lead singer and pianist Ben Folds has been in many bands
mentioned earlier. The bassist Robert Sledge formerly played with a band called
The Toxic Popsicle. The drummer Darren Jesse was a former member of Limbo. Soon
after the trio got together, they released a single, ”Jackson Cannery,”
which lead to a deal with a New York based publishing company called Caroline.
Ben Folds states he feels more comfortable in littler towns like his own back
home. So for their first year or two, they only stayed in local towns and small
towns across America to perform. Getting the piano sound popular was not easy
for this band. The sound popular then was the grunge distorted-guitar sound. Ben
Folds knew it was going to be tough to become popular without that guitar sound.
But still persued his dreams. Folds states, “I won’t compromise-we just
don’t play if there’s no piano. If you compromise with people, you’re
screwed in this industry. It’s like walking into class on the first day, and
if you’re a geek, kicking someone’s butt so that no one will mess with
you.” This statement stuck with him his whole career. It was printed in
numerous magazines across America. Today Ben Folds Five travels across America
still doing live concerts and touring with other bands. Ben Folds Five really
hit the charts with their only number one song “Brick.” With this original
sound of only a piano, bass, and drums, I feel this band is bound for great
success. They have original music along with their own original sounds.
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