JANUARY 4, 2010
PARTY BEN NAMED #9 SUPERMODEL OF THE CENTURY BY THE READERS OF US WEEKLY!
Something like that. Just when the Party Ben brand seemed in danger of falling completely off the map, a notation in the local newspaper has, if not revived our brand's viability, at least served as a nostalgia-inducing reminder of a time when it was slightly more prominent. An article by music critic Aidin Vaziri lists ten "high notes" from Bay Area music over the past decade, including some local bands called Greeny Days and the Metallics--never heard of them!--and festivals like Outside Lands, which deserves an award if only for allowing me to be part of a fence-smashing riot just to get to the Beck stage and forcing me to endure sub-zero temperatures, power cuts and acres of swirl-dancing hippies to enjoy a still-transcendent Radiohead set. Ah, fun times. But lo and behold, down at #9 on the list, what's this thing:
9. Party Ben
He didn't start the mashup trend - mixing two or more together to create a Frankenstein-style club hit - but disc jockey Ben Gill, who goes by the name Party Ben, definitely kept it alive thanks to his most clever creations: "Boulevard of Broken Songs" (Green Day versus Oasis), "Somebody Rock Me" (the Killers versus the Clash) and "Rehab (Can't Help Myself)" (Amy Winehouse versus Four Tops).
I always wondered what my last name was! Perhaps the most amusing part of all this was the proximity on the list of Bay Area music sensation William Hung, who followed me at #10. Actually, the American Idol loser/winner's version of "She Bangs" ended up in a couple Sixx Mixxes from what I remember, so there's a certain, uh, symmetry to all this. Anyway, maybe he and I can arrange some sort of combo Oughties flashback tour?
In all seriousness, Mr. Vaziri has always been a vocal supporter of my stuff, and it's all the more heartening because he's an erudite and basically completely accurate reviewer (even his pro-Killers stance is more or less excusable). His take on American Edit was one of the few critical appraisals that seemed to at least capture our intentions, and seeing it written down so clearly meant a lot to both Team9 and myself.
While my own goofy work probably doesn't quite justify a #9 slot even on a list qualified by the words "Bay Area" and "highlight" (I might make an argument for hyphy, the heroic efforts of small local venues like Bottom of the Hill and Great American, or even, I dunno, Deerhoof), I'm going to interpret this not as an individual accolade but more as a recognition of the entire Bay Area bootleg scene, from A+D & Bootie to the currently-experience-Susan-Boyle-levels-of-popularity Earworm, and tons of other local DJs and producers too numerous to mention. They all had an undeniable influence on the local music scene over the last 10 years, and also made the Bay Area the bastard pop capital of the U.S. So, huzzah to all of us.
Additional funny thing from the article: commenter "Aquila" criticizes the list and me specifically, saying "as for the dial-twiddler mentioned in #9, I'm sorry -- throwing pieces of copyrighted music by other artists into an electronic sound-blender makes you a creator of background noise, not an artist or even a DJ in any real sense of the terms." You love copyright!
In other news, grab that mix I made for Pure FM's "Pure Trax Reloaded" show over on the Long Mixes page or just click one of the the links below. Merci Vincent! Hope the Belgians enjoyed it. The mix contains mostly new stuff including a Lady Gaga rework, another attempt to pump up the old Boulevard combo, and tracks I made for French-speaking locales this summer including vocals from Katerine, Cali, and Yelle.
DOWNLOAD - PURE FM MIX - 110MB 256kbps mp3 (mediafire)
DOWNLOAD - PURE FM MIX - 110MB 256kbps mp3 (depositfiles)