Ben Averch (born Benjamin J. Averch; 1975) is an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, known as the "one-man symphony of prog rock". Averch plays electric and acoustic guitars as well as drums, bass, keyboards and vocals. The bulk of Averch's work in music has been as a solo artist and producer, although in the mid 1990s, Averch was the singer-guitarist for the band Bison from Boston, MA.
Body of work
As a solo artist, Averch has created three albums: "Washington State" (2006), "Start at the Beginning" (2008) and "Fortune Cookie" (2010). Averch's compositions have been described as a combination of 1980s style Modern Rock with 1990s style Alternative Rock. Averch's songs usually combine electric and acoustic guitars with introspective lyrics and heavy use of layering and vocal harmonies. Instrumentally, Averch is regarded as a guitarist whose strengths include a variety of clean and distorted tones and effects, arpeggiated lines, and emotionally expressive guitar solos.
Upon release in May 2006, "Washington State" received positive reviews. "Washington State" contained ten tracks with generally uplifting lyrics that find "spiritual renewal in the beauty of nature." Whisperin and Hollerin gave the record 8 out of 10 stars, comparing the sound to Blue Öyster Cult, U2, Soundgarden and Rush. Many reviews emphasized that Averch's music sounded like a full rock band but he had created every sound himself. Reviewer Kyrby Raine stated that Averch "[utilized] Rush, King's X and Queensryche as reference points to launch his own vision of thinking man's metal." Steve Pavlina inspired one of the songs in the album, "No Division", which was based on a blog post of Steve's "favorite meditation".
Start at the Beginning
Released in April 2008, "Start at the Beginning" represented a musical departure, featuring much more personal and angst-ridden lyrics, electronic drum loops, and a stronger emphasis on acoustic guitars. Moving away from the classic progressive rock sound, "Start at the Beginning" contained more Pop Rock and Punk Rock influences, creating a sound that was compared to Cheap Trick and the Dead Kennedys. Averch would later comment that the record represented his greatest challenge as a musician: "[Start at the Beginning] was all about trying to make something that was much rawer, more internal and more direct emotionally. While the process of creating “Start” was very difficult, I’m pleased with the results in terms of the intensity and the quality of the songwriting."
Released in April 2010, "Fortune Cookie" continues in the hybrid acoustic/electric guitar format Averch established on "Start at the Beginning", achieving a bigger, arena rock sound. "Fortune Cookie" was compared to the solo work of pop-punk pioneer Bob Mould, Mould's band Sugar, the Foo Fighters, and U2. Averch would acknowledge the Bob Mould influence to Ben Sommer of BandsLikeRush.com, stating: "The first song on ‘Fortune Cookie’, which is called ‘Love Me Anyway’ has this sort of Bob Mould-Sugar style vocal harmony and I just love doing that. It always sounded so cool and it reminds me of when I was a little bit younger, I guess."
Averch stated that the electronic loop-based "The Hook" was his favorite song on "Fortune Cookie": "It seems to have its own little world unto itself and texturally it feels really different and new for me. And I think that there’s a glimmer of hopefulness inside this otherwise-sad song that has a real resonance and impact for me. Also, it has probably my favorite guitar solo that I’ve ever recorded."
Bison and Street Busking
In the 1990s, Averch fronted the Boston band Bison, who recorded the EPs "Destination Amsterdam" (1994) and "Low Speed Chase" (1995), and the full length album "Space Evader" (1996). During this period, Averch performed as a street musician in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. In 1994, Averch received a $50 tip from Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder. Averch has subsequently credited his street busking experiences with being "really pivotal in [his] growth as a musician".
During the recording of "Fortune Cookie", Averch announced an endorsement deal with San Francisco Bay Area boutique guitar amplifier manufacturer Tonic Amps. In the announcement, Averch stated that: "My music requires a full spectrum of guitar sounds, from bone-crushing power crunch to straightforward vintage rhythm to lilting, rain-like clean tones. I'll be using my new Tonic extensively during the recording of my third solo album."
- Destination Amsterdam (1994)
- Low Speed Chase (1995)
- Space Evader (1996)
- Official Website
- Ben Averch Music Blog
- Ben Averch on Facebook
- The Music Blog Interview with Ben Averch
- Bands Like Rush Interview with Ben Averch
- "No Division". http://www.stevepavlina.com. Retrieved 2012-06-23.
- "No Division, from Washington State by Ben Averch". http://averch.bandcamp.com. Retrieved 2012-06-23.