To Ben Franklin: A Farewell but Never a Goodbye
Apologies if this comes out strange, it’s the first time I’ve had to write one of these. Today I got some pretty heartbreaking news, and I’d be doing an injustice to both the band and the reader if I didn’t react in some manner to it. As Rocker Tycoon, I’ve long walked a line with bands as a trusted friend and a trusted ear not to mention a journalist. I wonder if my next step is the right one often, I’m hoping that, in this, I err on the side of friend over journalist.
Today Ben Franklin officially broke up. Typing that last sentence was possibly one of the harder things I’ve done since I started this blog over two years ago. One of the bands that really helped put my faith in this scene, they’ve all also been excellent friends and many times confidants to me. I guess I should start by telling you about how I came across these kids.
It was at Boro 6 Fest at Teirney’s Tavern when I first met Billy Gray. Totally enthusiastic, and had apparently been reading about what I do for some time, I gotta say I was still dealing with my new found rock blogger status and wasn’t quite sure what to make of him.
A month or two later he came and personally put his new LP in my hand. I listened to it later that night and pretty much didn’t stop listening to it for a solid month.
Billy invited me to come see the Press and Ben Franklin at Public Assembly. Barely acquaintances at this time I was just happy to get out and see some bands, and hang out with folks in a new social circle. The fellas in the Press and I had several run ins and things were set up for a great night. There wasn’t a hugh crowd (it was a Monday) but I can tell you I was screaming my heart out to this (at the time) threesome from Brooklyn.
In coming months Billy and Eddie invited me out to shows. I met Billy’s girlfriend, now wife, Gonul. And I continued to rock out at shows. Many times inviting a date along too. They met a lot of dates, and helped me put into perspective my love life when things took a wild turn or just didn’t work out.
I’d chat with Sarah and Eddie at shows about the scene and how we were all working on something so much bigger than we are. Eddie would tell me about the scene on the west coast he was involved in and I would talk about New Brunswick during my time there. They’d turn me on to new bands, and some old bands. And helped me with ideas for the blog just by chatting with me about it. Sometimes they were just a sounding board for whatever bullshit I was going through at the bar I was working at and how I was thinking about moving on and getting more involved with writing.
When Adam joined the band we became fast friends, his astounding love of geekery, an obvious compliment to mine. Another action/emotion guy added to the band and my growing list of close friends by now in this scene.
When Eric Moeller of SPILLPEAK Media invited me to a show in New Brunswick to see them at McCormick’s I couldn’t turn it down, and I met several new friends in the Tiny Giant Artist collective. Ben Franklin played their only show they didn’t end with Fren Banklin that night.
The list of intimate moments between myself and the band could go on for weeks. I’ve written about every show I’ve been to of their’s. That’s a sort of amazing blessing that I have the ability to look back and see this band grow over the last two years with me.
With the disillusion of the band we have Sarah going on tour to return one day on a white horse like Gandolf at the end of Two Towers. Adam is in Black Water, a highly awesome band that is every bit as great as Ben Franklin. That leaves my buds Billy and Eddie. If this break sticks (and a lot of us are praying it doesn’t) I can’t for a second imagine that these two very talented, very dynamic fellows won’t continue making music. I look forward to either option and they both know I’ll make their first shows come hell or high water.
So, here I am at the end of this and I’ll admit, I’m fighting back the tears. In fact, I’m not really doing a very good job of that. Adam, Sarah, Eddie and Billy I know I’ll see you all soon, together or separately. I love you guys, I appreciate the hell out of all your support and everything you’ve done to inspire the rest of us in the scene. I’m gonna miss those glances and nods you guys give me from the stage as I’m standing in the front singing along. I guess I’ll leave you with a final note, keep in your hearts and minds how important your music was/is to a lot of us out there, not to mention each other. When you look back at Ben Franklin, look back with pride, smile and see if you can still see me singing my voice out in the front.
I wish you all the best of Luck. I don’t really know what else I can say….
Zac Clark, Rocker Tycoon