Ben Kweller was born in San Francisco, CA on June 16th, 1981. Shortly after his birth, his family relocated to Emory, Texas, and eventually settled down in Greenville, TX. Kweller was exposed to music at a very early age. By the time he was nine he had a dozen original compositions under his belt and hasn't stopped since.
In 1993, Kweller met drummer John Kent and formed the band Radish with bassist Ryan Green. The trio played locally in and around Greenville and recorded two independent releases, Hello (EP) and Dizzy (LP). Both releases are listed in MUSIC. Around the time of the release of Dizzy, Green left Radish to focus his attention on school. Lorin Hamilton replaced Green for a few months until Bryan Bradford, AKA Bryan Blur, AKA Brain, joined on for most of the band's career. Radish sent a copy of Dizzy to guitarist Nils Lofgren who grew up with Kweller's father in Maryland. Lofgren was impressed with the band and recommended them to producer Roger Greenawalt. Greenawalt took Radish into the studio to record a demo tape which was subsequently sent to record labels nationwide. After an unexpected bidding war, Radish signed to Mercury Records in 1996 to release three singles and the band's first and only full-length, major label release - Restraining Bolt. Radish made appearances on The Weird Al Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Late Show with David Letterman, but despite the much-hyped signing, the band failed to strike major success. Radish earned a cult following around the world and earned a top-40 hit in the United Kindom with the song "Little Pink Stars". The band went on multiple American and European tours, including Lallapalooza '96, Reading Festival '97 and opening slots for Faith No More, Seven Dust, and Failure. In 1998, Radish became a quartet, featuring Joe Butcher (Polyphonic Spree, UFOFU) on lead guitar and Debbie Williams on bass. The group traveled to Alabama with producer Bryce Goggin (Pavement, The Lemonheads) to record the follow-up to Restraining Bolt, entitled Discount Fireworks, at the legendary Muscle Shoals Studios. While mixing Discount Fireworks in NYC Kweller and Kent met bassist Josh Lattanzi who would become Radish's fifth and final bass player. As a result of Polygram's merger with Universal Music Group, the 18-song album - Discount Fireworks - was never released. When he was 18, Kweller moved to New York with his girlfriend Liz Smith, and began his solo career. He played acoustic shows and self-released two EPs (Bromeo, Melange) and one full-length album entitled, Freak Out It's Ben Kweller. "Freak Out" caught the attention of Evan Dando of The Lemonheads who invited Kweller to tour with him around the world. Jeff Tweedy, Juliana Hatfield and Guster also noticed the budding artist around this time and took him on tour with them. In 2001 Ben Kweller became ATO Records' first worldwide signing and released the 5-track EP entitled EP Phone Home. In March 2002, Sha Sha, Kweller's first solo studio LP, was released. Sha Sha included the college anthem, "Wasted & Ready", which reached #29 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and sold over 200,000 records worldwide. The album featured John Kent (Radish, The Dumb Angels) on drums and Josh Lattanzi (The Candles, The Lemonheads) on bass, and showcased a wide variety of sound from quirky pop, to folk, to punk rock. To support the release of the album and EP, Kweller put together a live band, initially comprising Lattanzi on bass, Fred Eltringham (Wallflowers, Dixie Chicks) on drums, and Mike Stroud (Ratatat) on guitar and keyboards. The four-piece did multiple headlining tours around the world, sharing the stage with up and comers (at the time) Kings Of Leon and My Morning Jacket as well as multiple dates opening for The Strokes. Kweller and co made multiple late-night TV appearances including PBS's acclaimed, Austin City Limits. In 2003, Kweller formed The Bens with Ben Folds and Ben Lee. The trio toured Australia and released an eponymous four-song EP. Late in 2003, Kweller co-wrote and provided lead vocals for the song "I Hope Tomorrow is Like Today" which is featured on Guster's album Keep It Together and in the movie Wedding Crashers. On My Way, Kweller's second LP, took a new direction. The album, produced by Ethan Johns, was recorded live in the studio with limited overdubs and no use of headphones. After the release of On My Way, Kweller embarked on more touring, including a US tour co-headlining with Death Cab for Cutie. By this point, the lineup of his live band had changed to include John Kent on drums and Jason Roberts (Hymns, The Candles) on guitar and keyboards. In 2006 Kweller recorded his third LP, Ben Kweller, with producer Gil Norton. Unlike the previous studio albums, Kweller played all the instruments on this one himself. Kweller continued to tour to support his self-titled album, and expanded his band into a five piece, which grew to include Dan Horne (On The Speakers) on bass, Mark Stepro (Madison Square Gardeners) on drums, Jay Barclay on guitar and organ, and Jason Roberts on lead guitar. Kweller continued to play guitar and piano on this tour, but it also gave him the opportunity to just sing on certain songs. His album tie-in, 'Trio on the Train Track Tour', included a new live band comprising Chris Morrissey (Taurus, Mason Jennings) on bass & vocals and Mark Stepro on drums. Ben Kweller's fourth studio, Changing Horses, was released in the states on February 2nd, 2009 and on February 3rd in Europe. The album features the rhythm section of Morrissey and Stepro and debuts the talents of Kitt Kitterman, who played pedal steel and dobro.
In 2010, Kweller left his long-time label ATO Records to pursue his own label The Noise Company. He is currently in the studio with Morrissey and Stepro, recording the anticipated album, Go Fly A Kite.
High Noon Saloon (View)
701 E. Washington Ave
Madison, WI 53703
|Minimum Age: 18|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|