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Ben Jackson (Ben Jackson Group)

Interview with Ben Jackson from Ben Jackson Group
by Grigoris Chronis at 28 April 2005, 9:27 AM

Even if  lots of rumors come and go about what Crimson Glory are (or aren't) up to these days, the Ben Jackson Group attacked us with its second album, All Over You, offering great pieces of melodic Hard & Heavy work, the way even die-hard C.G. fans will find remarkable. With this brilliant album in my hands, I think it's better to concentrate on what Ben himself had to say, leaving aside the rumors and focusing on the real thing. Ben…

Ben, hello from Metal-Temple.com magazine. Congrats on your new release, All Over You!

Hello Greg and everyone at Metal Temple. Thank you for the congrats, we are really pumped up about our new release.

I didn’t have the chance to hear your previous effort, Here I Come (2002), so I was curious to see the specific style you’ve settled during the last years. I must confess that this more Hard Rock-ish approach was brilliant! You know, somehow different from the classic Crimson Glory style.

Thanks for calling it brilliant! I can’t argue with that, ha ha. I think the Hard Rock approach is more my style or more up my alley, so to speak. That’s where my roots lie.

To someone already familiar with the Here I Come previous album, how would you describe any similarities or differences?

Here I Come was a bit lighter with more acoustic guitar laid tracks and a bit more commercial (hate that term). It still rocked pretty hard on some songs but this one just really kicks your ass from start to end. I grew better as a vocalist and writer on the new record as well.

Are we talkin’ about the same lineup into these two releases? Are the other musicians as experienced as you are? Anyway, I feel there’s great chemistry in the band, judging from the All Over You album’s vibe.

I used the same drummer on the two records \[Rich Tabor], who has been playing with my band for quite a while. Also on the new one is guitarist Mark Borgmeyer who is exellent, bassist Dano Binz and backing vocalist Rose Sexton. We did feel quite a chemistry in the making of  All Over You. I have some very strong talent in my group!

Are you the mere composer/lyrics-man in the band, since the band is your brainchild?

I do tend to write all the titles and lyrics while the rest of the band gets involved with the music and arrangements.

It was nice to see that Midnight contributed backing vocals to the album. Apart from the bond you two have had for many years now, what was his opinion about All Over You? I’m asking because - I guess - you’ll pay attention to his judgment.

He seemed to really dig it! It was great to get him involved a bit with the project, we had fun working together again.

I always thought I knew many record companies’ names; still I was unaware of your label, Screaming Ferret Wreckords. Are they newbies in the music business? How did you come in touch with them?

They are pretty new but they seem to be doing a very good job so far. They are becoming more well known and making pretty big waves of promotion. They actually contacted me with interest in the music.

I know it’s only been a few days since All Over You came out, still I’d like to ask what your expectations are. You’ve already achieved so many things in your career, what’s the feeling you have for this release, in the year 2005?

I think people are going to eat this one up! I feel it is best to be positive at all times so I must give it all my hope and dedication.

I read a weird story on the News section of your original website (www.benjacksongroup.com). You know, the one about bassist Fabrizio Fulco and how he got the position in the band. Is it really true?

It’s true that we made him cross the seas just to audition and I guess it was worth while for him because he got the gig.

Well, for which band/artist would you do the same???

For a chance to play with Paul Rodgers of Free/Bad Company.

Wow! Really, apart from being a great musician for 20+ years now, which are your all-time-fav bands as a fan?

Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Joe Walsh, Aerosmith, Pat Travers Band, Judas Priest, Kings X, The Scorpions. It goes on and on.

And – to focus a little more – as a guitarist? You know, considering - of course - technical skills but also factors such as e.g. the uniqueness of sound, the efficiency in songwriting etc.

Outside of just having favorite bands like the ones I mentioned, some of my favorite guitarists are Michael Schenker, Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai. These guys are all great technical marvels but I like a lot of guitar players who are more basic or bluesy too, like Gary Moore or Mick Ralphs.

Back to All Over You: were you on the works all these years? I mean, are there tunes dating back to e.g. 2003?

Yes, I do tend to take some time to write songs and compile a great record. I don’t think two or three years is a long time to make a true statement with your music.

I admit I was a little bit afraid of what I’d hear from singer Ben Jackson’s throat \[Laughs]! You did it great, man! I guess you didn’t want to find a vocalist for the band?

Nah, I wanted to take charge of the vocal duties myself on this, do or die \[Laughs]!

Do you feel that Crimson Glory fans (many of them being 30 or 35 years old now) will like the new album? I think they’ll do!

Yes, I think they’ll like it. It has the elements of great heavy, melodic music. Not just like Crimson Glory but not too far off either.

You know, I sometimes feel that American Hard Rock/Heavy Metal bands are a little bit unlucky. I mean, living in a country where music fashions come and go does not leave much room to promote your art, your music point of view. I feel that Europe still supports all these bands/artists more with our favorite Rock/Metal sound, away from the Nu-Metal/Alternative/Industrial trends. You already know that, I think, you saw how much appreciated Crimson Glory’s style was in Europe. Would you agree?


I totally agree, over here in America people change on an instant and roll with trends all the time. No one gets behind anything like classic melodic Metal as much as Europe.

What do you think the Ben Jackson Group can do, on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean? Not to leave Japan outside, too…

I can only wait and see. I would love to get over to Europe and do some touring to promote the new record and see everyone’s reaction again. Japan as well. Of course we will do some dates in America too.

Ben, how hungry do you feel to hit the road again?

Hungry enough to chew the leg off a seventeen year old bavarian girl! Just kidding. We really want to get out and kick some ass around if you know what I mean. We’re making some plans.

Being curious again: how did Crimson Glory, or bands like e.g. Savatage, decide to interfere with the more traditional part of Heavy Metal music, in a state like Florida, full of classic Death Metal bands? Really, were you friends with these bands, even if you were into different styles?

I was friends with the guys in Atheist even though we played different styles. We were friends with Savatage once we met them around Morrisound recording. There was a lot of great bands popping up from the Tampa area making a versatile scene for a while there. Crimson Glory and Savatage and the Florida Metal scene influenced people in other bands from other countries and still do now.

I tried to leave Crimson Glory out of our interview, trying to focus on your current activities with the Ben Jackson Group. Still, since – you know that – many fans are wondering what’s up with the maskmen, I’ll leave the question blank, just asking for an update.

Thanks for leaving that alone. Really I’m not sure of what will become of C.G. or any reunion plans. Never say never!

Ben, it was really an honor doing this interview with you! Hope we’ll have the chance to talk again soon, or – even better – see the Ben Jackson Group live!

Alright! I enjoyed doing your interview! I hope we meet someday. Cheers!



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