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Music rock singer and songwriter Ben Kweller picture(s)/pic(s), wallpaper and photo gallery, albums covers pictures.
Birth name: Benjamin Lev Kweller.
Born: June 16, 1981 San Francisco, California, USA.
Ben Kweller was raised in Greenville, Texas, and was exposed to music at a very young age by his father, Howie. He began playing drums at age seven, and then took up guitar and piano. At age nine, he entered a songwriting contest sponsored by Billboard magazine and won honorable mention. In 1993 Kweller became friends with another young local musician, drummer John Kent, and the two formed a band, which they named Radish. Radish played locally in and around Greenville and recorded two independent releases, Dizzy and Hello.
Guitarist Nils Lofgren, an old friend of Howie Kweller's, was impressed with Radish and recommended them to Roger Greenawalt, who had produced Lofgren's most recent album at the time, Damaged Goods. Greenawalt, who had also suggested the addition of bassist Bryan Blur to the lineup, took Radish into a studio where they recorded a demo tape which was subsequently shopped around to record labels nationwide, who were looking for "the next Nirvana". After an unexpected bidding war, Ben Kweller, at the age of 15, and Radish were signed to Mercury Records. Regardless of a much-hyped beginning, which included appearances on The Weird Al Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Late Show with David Letterman, Radish failed to strike big success with its first major-label record Restraining Bolt. In 1998 Radish went to Muscle Shoals Studio in Alabama to record the follow-up to Restraining Bolt, provisionally titled Discount Fireworks and then retitled Sha Sha after the song of the same name. Recorded with producer Bryce Goggin, the album was never released, and Mercury dropped Radish from its roster.
At age 19, Ben Kweller moved to New York with his girlfriend Liz Smith, where he began his solo career. He played acoustic shows and self-released four EPs, comprising some of the unreleased Radish recordings and other songs recorded in his apartment on a laptop computer. It was one of these EPs, Freak Out, It's Ben Kweller, that caught the attention of Evan Dando of The Lemonheads, and Dando invited Kweller out on tour with him, playing across America and Europe.
In 2001 Ben Kweller signed to ATO Records, and released a 5-track EP entitled EP Phone Home. In March of 2002, Sha Sha, Kweller's first solo studio LP was released. Sha Sha included the very radio-friendly and popular single "Wasted & Ready". The title track "How It Should Be (Sha Sha)" reconciles his past career efforts with Radish and the difficulty of finding an identity as a 20-year-old artist beginning a musical career for the second time. The record kept many of the familiar sounds of Nirvana, but also worked in other pop music influences such as Weezer and Ben Folds. The album grew in popularity with a grassroots effort based on his website and a promotion group called TeamBK, which promoted via word-of-mouth advertising. To support the release of the album and EP, he put together a live band, initially comprising Josh Lattanzi on bass, Fred Eltringham on drums, and Mike Stroud on guitar and keyboards.
In 2003, Kweller toured Australia with Ben Folds and Ben Lee as The Bens. The trio produced an eponymous EP. In an interview on October 14, 2006 Ben hinted that The Bens may do another album.
On My Way (2004), Kweller's sophomore LP, went in a new direction. The album was recorded 'live' - there were limited overdubs and no use of headphones. After the release of On My Way, Kweller embarked on more touring, playing to his largest audiences ever, 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 on guitar and keyboards, after Mike Stroud left to concentrate on his own band Ratatat and Fred Eltringham left to play drums in The Wallflowers.
In 2006 he recorded his third LP, Ben Kweller with producer Gil Norton. Unlike the previous studio albums, Ben played all the instruments on this record himself. His tie-in "Trio on the Train Track Tour" included a new live band comprising Chris Morrissey on bass, vocals & keyboard and Mark Stepro on drums, vocals, glockenspiel, percussion & "whatever else he feels like" during appearances in the United States. During the Australian leg of the tour, the band was comprised of Jay Barclay on guitar, keyboard & vocals, Dan Horne on bass & vocals, and Mark Stepro continuing his previous roles.