BenHarper: Thank you everyone for coming on
sparkyguest_53a041174: Hey Ben how's it
BenHarper: Very good. Its good to be back in
Heffalump23: Mr. Harper, what your
inspiration behind "By My Side"?
BenHarper: Sometimes you can talk about
inspiration, but sometimes you cant. But this time its feelings
and its in a song.
JMRTCL: What was your previous occupation?
BenHarper: I was pretty much just
woodshedding and playing coffee houses and before that I was
working at my grandparents shop and before that I was boxing
oumaguest_18d41306: Ben Harper,
who are some of your musical influences? At what age did you
begin playing guitar?
BenHarper: Some of my strongest influences are dub blues
musicians such as Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Willie Johnson,
Mississippi Fred McDowl. It breaks down to separate age groups. I
got my first guitar at 8 and we started making bands in the
neighborhood. I started getting into drums at 12/13, but I was
just as likely to go out and ride around on my diamond back dirt
bike as I was to play music. First time I really started hearing
music when it hit me the hardest was in my late teens that’s
when I started practicing for hours a day.
BenFan1: What’s the thing with Kobe
BenHarper: That’s my man! He is on the
Lakers, #8. I am all about Kobe Bryant. His playing is so
Sweet_Angeline: I know you're a big Jeff
Buckley fan, how did you first hear of him?
BenHarper: I first heard Jeff and heard about
him at the same time. We ended up being on the same festival
around the time his first record and my second record came out,
and I got a chance to meet him, and got to hear him play live.
That’s when I first heard his music and was blown away.
CurseofThorn: How did you come to work with
skateboarders for your video "Ground On Down?"
BenHarper: Some of them I knew. Some of them
my friend JP knew. And they dug the music enough to be in the
oshkoshguest_7b942903: I heard a rumor you
will be headlining the Horde Tour this year with
Barenaked Ladies and Blues Traveler. Are these rumors true?
BenHarper: Yeah we will be on the HORDE
tour with those groups.
Sparky69_6969: HOW OLD ARE YOU?
BenHarper: I am 28.
YeYe17: ARE YOU MARRIED?
BenHarper: And I will cut it off there cause
I don't talk about family stuff.
Nico_corto: You speak a lot of your
connection with God. I was curious as to what religion you are?
BenHarper: Do I speak about it a lot? I think
I ask about it more than I speak about it, but my belief in GOD
isn’t segregated by any of man's religions. I believe in the
wisdom in many religions, but I just find GOD to be the strongest
feeling in my heart that I have ever know.
Briac_P: Do you plan to make another more
political album like Fight For Your Mind?
BenHarper: Well I don’t really know what
the word politics means.
Mr_Red_Dragon: Ben, why did you choose to
become Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals instead
of just Ben Harper?
BenHarper: There has been different
carnations of the Innocent Criminals, but I
though it was a correct thing to do. The band was coming together
so strong that I decided to do that.
RedM27: Ben do you have a favorite Hendrix
BenHarper: It varies from day to day, but
"The Wind Cries Mary" is at the top. "Axis Bold As
Love" or "1983."
Nico_corto: Of what ethnicity are you?
BenHarper: I am mixed up. I am all mixed up.
Mastamho: Ben, how do you find the European
audiences as compared to the ones in the States?
BenHarper: I find them to be quite similar
actually. In some places they are larger, in some places there
are things that make them culturally unique. Its a hard question
cause the US is so big I find as much as a cultural difference in
England and Japan as I do in NYC and Birmingham, AL but they are
similar again still.
Tom_Dolan: Hey Ben what do you think of the
Internet and your web site?
BenHarper: What’s up Tom! That’s my
man! It should be known that my man Tom and my man JP hook up all
the art work for the records. And I think Tom has done an amazing
job on that website. I hear about that web site everyday and I
will probably hear about it for the rest of my life. I am not the
only one who digs it!
Khanlin: Where did you pick up Juan?
BenHarper: I could never pick up Juan he
could pick up me.
SEXKINGNOW: What could you do to save the
BenHarper: I would start by just health
insurance in America for crying out loud.
AvaGardner: Have you ever received any
feedback from Maya Angelou about your amazing cover of "I
BenHarper: "I Rise?" No I
haven’t heard from Mya.
oshkoshguest_7b942903: How do you feel about
fans trading tapes of your shows?
BenHarper: I have mixed feelings about the
whole bootleg scene.
GaSpAr_: How do you feel about your child
facing the world as it is?
BenHarper: I feel responsibility to show them
what it can be.
Freddy_Kruegar: How do you keep your afro so
high? Are you down with Puffy?
BenHarper: Haaa! It takes a pretty big size
afro pick and some sculpting. I have never met him
Etrnl_Postive_Vib: Will you be playing
"Our Own 2 Hands" at the Seattle show?
BenHarper: I will try to work it in the set
sure. Thanks for the request
DJ_Jesse: How does it feel to be talked of as
a modern day Bob Marley?
BenHarper: Its an interesting question, cause
people make comparisons of grandeur quite often and of course
flattering how would you feel if you got compared to Bob Marley
and his music? Its an honor at the same time. You see groups
getting compared to the Beatles or whomever but sometimes the
music doesn’t stand up to the comparison. So if I can
represent, I have listened to Bob so much in my life. I have
listened to him everyday. If in the music I make I can bring a
small part of that feeling then I am extremely proud.
SonicNetHost: What new bands are you
listening to these days?
BenHarper: I have been listening to the new
Everclear album and Eryka Badu. Ummmmm I listen to so much music.
The new Bob Dylan record but he's not new. Robbie Roberston,
Khanlin: What inspired the song "Glory
BenHarper: Its just a feeling and idea that
motivated you. The inspiration is in the lyrics themselves.
Freddy_Kruegar: Was your favorite homestyle
oshkoshguest_7b942903: Where did you find the
backup singers on "I'll Rise?"
BenHarper: One of the singers is the drummer
on that record on Cruel World, and the other two
are friends of his.
Mr_Red_Dragon: Ben, what's your opinion on
the concept of "selling out" and do you resist the
BenHarper: The temptation is not even there.
What is a joke is seeing bands who have signed major label record
contracts and then complain about being famous. That is quite
ThaOlDirtyBastard: The heart and soul that
you put into your music is astounding, do you ever get tired
after writing a song?
BenHarper: That’s a good question.
Sometimes after writing them, I am totally wiped out and have to
sleep for a day.
Weezer96: How long does it take for you to
write a song?
BenHarper: It could be 10 minutes or it could
be 10 months.
Madbeef1: Are you planning to come to Mexico
BenHarper: I hope so. I would love to.
Phu7: Ben, which song do you like performing
BenHarper: I don’t have one particular
Erina_: Ben, are you going to make the East
Coast Blues Festival at Byron an annual event (Please
BenHarper: I would love to that is the most
amazing part of the world there.
J_hn: Did you think you would be doing this,
when you were a kid?
BenHarper: I have always like to make music
ever since I was a child and it has always been part of a
childhood dream to do so.
Mammamack: Ben, how long have you been
BenHarper: I have been singing since I was a
kid. My mom sings' and she just let us know that it was okay to
sing. She loves beautiful music. Emmylou Harris, The Caters. All
my brothers grew up singing.
Pacifix: Hey Ben! I'm a huge fan!! I'm from
Montreal, Canada, the city that adores you. I was wondering what
you think of our city.
BenHarper: Myself and the entire band always
has a great time playing and hanging out in Montreal.
Mr_Red_Dragon: What's your favorite city in
BenHarper: San Francisco is up there.
Phu7: Ben, is it true that you're going to be
on the Conan O' Brien show?
BenHarper: Yes that is true. April 10th.
I will need all your support so turn it on.
Freddy_Kruegar: Any relationship to Ron
Harper of the Chicago Bulls?
BenHarper: If he can get me season seats I
am. Hey Ron! What’s up man?
Regreta: Ben, is there any song out there you
identify with or appreciate so much that you wish you'd written
BenHarper: There are libraries of songs like
Freddy_Kruegar: What did you think about the
"Soy Bomb" guy from the Grammy's?
Would you have him dance for you on tour?
BenHarper: Its too late the Spice Girls hired
Manzu: Do you get the same feeling everytime
you play one of your songs, or is there a different meaning
BenHarper: Sometimes there are different
meanings, but its always the same feeling.
Frizzello: Do you like traveling on the road?
BenHarper: I do. I love to travel and I love
being out here. It gets hard and it gets tiring sometimes, but
that doesn’t make me like it less. It just lets me know that
I need to get some rest.
Pacifix: What is one thing that you miss the
most from when you were not yet a star?
BenHarper: Am I star now?
Cakehole__: What is your most important goal
oshkoshguest_7b942903: What is your favorite
cover song to do live?
BenHarper: Its got to be "Voodoo
Child/Sexual Healing" Jimi Hendrix and Marvin Gaye.
Khanlin: Why did Virgin make that promo
poster of you standing w/ an electric guitar when you hardly ever
BenHarper: It was out of the
"Faded" video and I was going to sit down but I stood
cause it looked better on the video then we though oh what the
Weezer96: What was your reason for starting a
band? Was it chicks? Or fame? Or what?
BenHarper: What do you think when you listen
to the music you really think its any of those.
Krycek3xx: Where do you see yourself in 10
BenHarper: I am working on 10 minutes.
Gliter_grrrl: Who do you admire most in the
BenHarper: My manager cause he is the shit.
Etrnl_Postive_Vib: Does your fame ever
BenHarper: Am I famous now?
Theryz: Ben, who would you like to tour with
most among your contemporaries?
BenHarper: We have toured with everyone from
the Fugees to PJ Harvey.
Nico_corto: Can you walk through LA or
another city without getting mobbed?
BenHarper: No I don’t think that there
have been any reports of Ben Harper mob scenes. What is really
cool about that people who recognize who I am always have
heartfelt words of appreciation about the music. And that is
always nice to hear.
AdriannaL: Were you referring to someone
special in the song "Gold?"
Nico_corto: How many Weissenborns do you own,
are they hard to come across?
BenHarper: They are getting harder to come
across. I have a few.
ThaOlDirtyBastard: What's your opinion on
some of the new rap acts that are using the acoustic like Wyclef
BenHarper: I think its great Wyclef is an
amazing guitar player.
Volgirl98: What are your "words to live
BenHarper: I don’t want to just put out
any words to live by cause they may change tomorrow.
Pacifix: Why is the third album so different
in style from your first two?
BenHarper: Well Welcome To The Cruel
World came out it seemed like people dug it. But them
the next record came out, Fight For Your Mind.
People felt that one was extremely different and then when Will
To Live came out people said "oh this is so
different" some people will only like Cruel World
some people will only like Fight For Your Mind
and some people will only like Will To Live. But
I am hoping that the majority of all of you guys will move with
me from record to record and growth to growth. And I mean I think
if you give each record the same amount of listening time you
hopefully will like them equally.
Lolly8015: Do you often watch TV ? Which kind
BenHarper: I don’t want to let you guys
down, but when I am on the road you gotta see what is going on
the music video channel. I am not a regular TV watcher, so its
always from hotel rooms. When I am home I like to watch 60
Minutes on Sundays at 7PM. Its good healthy American
reporting. Mike Wallace, Andy Rooney. I am down with those guys
and Rooney always has something funny to say. And I watch every
M_Stipe: Is music dead?
Phu7: Will Phish ever be opening up for you?
BenHarper: I don’t know about Phish,
they are huge. They are famous.
Deazel_22: Do you always finish a show with
BenHarper: We have a lot in the past. But
lately we have been ending sets with "Will To Live" or
"Fight For Your Mind."
Freddy_Kruegar: Do you appreciate gangsta
Freddy_Kruegar: What's your favorite gig you
BenHarper: It was in Oaska Japan it went off.
It was really good. The out door gig in Sydney. it was on the
beach at an out door arena.
Gliter_grrrl: Do you have an idol?
BenHarper: Yeah, the Dali Llama.
Gliter_grrrl: What did you think about the Tibetan
Freedom concert you played at in June?
BenHarper: I though it went really well. We
played super early, but I was excited to see as many people out
there at 11AM as there were.
Noisepatch: Ben, any chance of "Voodoo
Chile" being released?
BenHarper: Its going to be released in a
weeks time. Its an 11 ½ minute version and its going to come in
a separate CD that’s in with the Will To Live.
Deazel_22: Do you prefer playing for a big or
a small crowd?
BenHarper: I don’t have a preference. I
like being able to play for larger crowd but I enjoy playing for
ThaWailer: What was the best advice you've
BenHarper: I have gotten a lot of good
advice. Its too big a question. I have been lucky to get a lot of
good advice. It would be hard to say what the best was, there is
a lot out there.
Theryz: I don't know why but I find your
musical theory and drive much the same as Lenny Kravitz's.. have
you two ever hung out?
ThaOlDirtyBastard: Is it your belief that all
music is good music?
BenHarper: I have a respect for anyone who
attempts to get on the mic, but I wouldn’t say all music is
ThaOlDirtyBastard: What's your favorite book?
BenHarper: CS Lewis, The Lion The
Witch and the Wardrobe.
AdriannaL: What concerns you the most about
our planet today ?
BenHarper: The balance of our existence.
Deazel_22: Ben, do you use the Internet much?
BenHarper: I use it more and more. There is
one member of our crew who is on line' and travels with a
computer, so we are going to use it more and more.
Deazel_22: Hey Ben, this is Ken. I have
noticed that your crowds are ethnically diverse? Are you very
proud of the fact that you appeal to a wide audience?
BenHarper: Yes I am proud of that I think its
really good. Its something that I am proud to see. Thank you for
M_Stipe: What's your favorite movie?
BenHarper: Babe. It was so
Deazel_22: Hi Ben, this is Ken, what was the
last CD you bought?
BenHarper: It was The Jam compilation. 21 of
their greatest hits.
Nico_corto: How much input do the other guys
have when you're writing?
BenHarper: I write the song lyrics and music.
And then I have specific ideas for them to play, or the band will
just run with it. I have also co -written with the band and with
ThaWailer: What advice would you have for an
aspiring musical artist?
BenHarper: Write songs, write great songs.
Don’t finish a song cause you want to have a song
that’s done. Write a song that you have exhausted to all
ends to communicate.
DJ_Jesse: Do you ever respond to your mailing
BenHarper: I do and I try to respond by hand
to mail that I get. I don’t want to send out a cheesy flyer
. Do I send out a cheesy flyer?
Silk130: Would you tour with Spearhead?
BenHarper: I have before.
Cyde420: Ben, what do you think of the
smoking of cigarettes at your concert, does it bother you?
BenHarper: I have grown amune. I don’t
ThaOlDirtyBastard: Do you think that the
overall public's capability to listen to deep music is
BenHarper: Its just tough to comment on that
or speak for a majority of people.
Kanel34: What's your solution to save the
world and the poor lands?
BenHarper: That’s a heavy question.
Kanel34: What do you think about US
international relations, for example Golf war?
BenHarper: I cant answer that question in a
sentence its more a discussion.
Lolly8015: What do you prefer famous and
money but less honesty or the opposite ?
BenHarper: I will take fame money and honesty
all in one sort of one entity and attain it.
BenHarper: I want to thank everyone for
coming on line and I hope that we can do this again, and thank
you for making the Internet such a strong base for the music.
Also I know there has been a lot of discussion about bootlegs and
I want to take more time to think about where I stand on this
business. I think there are both good and bad sides to it but I
want to be fair in representing both and I will be going on line
soon to get further in to detail about it.