Wednesday, October 01, 2008

William Benton interview

Lucky Pineapple recently released their fantastic new album, The Bubble Has Burst in Sky City, available at ear X-tacy or through
I recently asked William Benton, a guitarist and singer in the band, a few questions to help me understand more about what makes him feel so pineapple.

Where did you grow up? Is your family musical or artistic?
I grew up in rural Oklahoma. My brother and I were born in the panhandle area, moved around a lot, and we more-or-less settled down in south-central Oklahoma.
My immediate family was neither artistic or musical. However, my grandfather played guitar and, allegedly, had played with Bill Monroe.

What is your musical background / training?

None. I just started playing along to songs I like and eventually decided that I wanted to learn more. I am barely orientated on music rule. I have nothing against it but, to be honest, the more I learn about it the more I feel restricted. Neutered.
As Charlie Parker once said "Learn all the rules, then do your best to forget them."
A lot of people say versions of that.

Who are your musical favorites/inspirations?
John Coltrane, Devo, Minutemen, Captain Beefheart, Waylon Jennings, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Black Flag, Willie Nelson, Prince, Descendents/ALL, John Cassavetes, Angelo Badalamenti, Sun Ra, Fugazi, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Talking Heads, Kurt Weill, Hank Williams Sr., PJ Harvey, Brian Eno, Jim White, Kraftwerk, Nels Cline, Marc Ribot, Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac, Irving Berlin, Charles Bukowski, Butthole Surfers, Bad Brains, fIREHOSE, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Television, Ramones, Fela Kuti, Sonic Youth, Man... or Astroman?, Link Wray, Flaming Lips, Karen Dalton, KONK, Saccharine Trust, Meat Puppets, Buck Owens, John Lennon, George Harrison, Can, Alejandro Jodorowsky, David Lynch, Werner Herzog, The Dirty Three, Shipping News, Bernard Herrmann, Federico Fellini, Bela Tarr, Andy Kaufman, Peter Sellers, Moondog, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Monty Python, Lou Reed, George Jones, Daniel Johnston, Axel Cooper, Blixa Bargeld, Pink Floyd, Circle Jerks, Sergio Leone, Califone, Bob Dylan, The Monks, Jandek, John Fante, Leadbelly, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Nick Lowe, Duke Ellington, The Geraldine Fibbers, David Bowie, King Crimson, Earl Thomas Conley, Dinosaur Jr., Shellac, The Birthday Party, Pixies, Faust, Neu, Klaus Kinski, Wilco, Jim O'Rourke, The Monkees, Otomo Yoshihide, John Frusciante, Big Youth, Smoke, Melt Banana, Pavement, Leonard Cohen, Skip James, The Slits, The Monorchid, Johnny Dowd, The 13th Floor Elevators, The J.B's, Queen, The Pogues, Chet Baker, The Raincoats, Gaunt, Raymond Scott, New Age Steppers, Husker Du, Shannon Wright, Southern Culture on the Skids, Gavin Bryars, Tubeway Army, Cole Porter, Jimmy Smith, Scott Walker, Radar Bros., The Fall, Wire and many others.

What bands/projects are you currently involved with? How did you get involved with them?
Currently I am just playing with/in Lucky Pineapple and doing some stuff on my own that I hope to start another band around.
I was asked to join Lucky Pineapple after JC and Matt met Brian and they had a few songs together. My prior band, Tyrone, had just split up so I thought I'd give it a try. That was four years ago. Dang.

What do you hope to achieve with music?

Personal satisfaction, mostly. It's difficult and you find yourself wondering if it is possible but that's how it keeps going, I guess. I've written things that I am proud of but I always end up thinking that it is just a door opened along the way to really finding IT.
Musically, I have a pretty clear idea how and where I work. I want to get more proficient at every musical instrument and I would like to be a better singer... but I feel I have a clear look at where I need to be and I know it just requires hard work and devotion. I am surely the type that is always dangerously close to dropping every responsibility to concentrate on the creative process.
I really like getting older. I can't get far enough away from my youth. I think getting older is getting me closer to satisfaction with my songwriting. Thankfully.

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