Ben Weasel

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Ben Weasel
Ben-weasel2.jpg
Chicago 2/26/2010
Background information
Born 1968
Genres Punk rock, pop punk
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass
Years active 1986–present
Associated acts Screeching Weasel
The Riverdales
The Vindictives

Ben Weasel (born Benjamin Foster) is a punk rock musician, best known as the lead singer and guitarist of bands Screeching Weasel and The Riverdales. He is also co-host of Weasel Radio, a weekly radio show formerly on ESPN 1070, which was relaunched as a podcast.[1][2]

Personal life[edit]

Foster was raised in Prospect Heights, Illinois. He attend River Trails Middle School in Mount Prospect, Illinois where he first met future Screeching Weasel co-founder John Pierson.[3] After middle school, Ben was expelled from John Hersey High School and St. Viator High School.[4] He was eventually sent to the Élan School in Poland, Maine for his behavior issues.[5] Today Ben lives in McFarland, Wisconsin with his wife, Sara, and twin daughters. He is a practicing Roman Catholic.[6]

For a number of years, Ben suffered from panic attacks and bouts of agoraphobia.[7] On November 30, 2010, he appeared on Last Call with Carson Daly to talk about these issues.[8]

Musical career[edit]

When Ben returned to Illinois from the Élan School, he got a job at a local movie theater, and formed the band Screeching Weasel with co-worker and former junior high classmate John Pierson, aka Jughead.[7]

After an initial break-up in 1989, Screeching Weasel reformed in 1991 and broke up for a second time in 1994. Following the second breakup, Foster formed a new band, the Riverdales, with Screeching Weasel members Dan Vapid, and Dan Panic.

In the early 1990s, Foster founded The Gore Gore Girls (unrelated to the later band of the same name) with SW guitarist Jughead, Glynis Johnson (also of Red Red Meat) and Russ Forester (founder of Underdog Records). The Gore Gore Girls lasted only three shows and made an appearance on a compilation EP, Mouthful of Monkey Bile (1992). He also played 2nd guitar in The Vindictives, to be replaced by Billy Blastoff. Foster appeared on the first 4 EPs released by the band. In 1996, Lookout! Records released a 7" EP by The Shotdowns which included Ben, Jughead, and rock critic Jim DeRogatis. Ben was credited as "Pappy Le Pew".

Foster reunited with Screeching Weasel again in 1996. The band lasted until 2001 before breaking up again. On March 27, 2009, Foster announced he was reforming Screeching Weasel. He and Danny Vapid were the only returning members.

Foster has also done work as a solo artist. In 2002, he released his first solo album, Fidatevi. His second album, These Ones Are Bitter, was released in June 2007. A live album (featuring all Screeching Weasel songs, including the majority of the album My Brain Hurts), titled "The Brain That Wouldn't Die", appeared in 2009 and featured Screeching Weasel member Danny Vapid.

Foster also ran his own Chicago-based record label, Panic Button Records, which he started in 1997 with Pierson. The label was later purchased by Lookout! Records.[9]

SXSW incident[edit]

On Friday, March 18, 2011 at Austin, TX's SXSW Festival, Foster was involved in an altercation with two women during a Screeching Weasel performance.[10][11][12] The first woman threw an ice cube at Foster, upon which Foster threatened to beat the woman up and referred to her as a "skanky whore." The woman then spat beer or water at Foster, who responded by punching her in the face. A club owner, also female, then came on stage and grabbed him from behind. Foster turned to face her, pushed her, and punched her in the back before being pulled to the other side of the stage by a bouncer, where Foster clapped his hands together over his head and gave the thumbs up; in reaction some of the crowd did applaud.[13]

On March 20, Foster posted an apology [14] on his website BenWeasel.com [15] stating

"I want to apologize to both the club owner and audience member involved for my actions during our show at SXSW on Friday night. While their actions were outside of my control, my regretful reaction is wholly my responsibility. Whatever my feelings are about fans crossing the line like that, I wish I could have that moment back and deal with it in the same spirit as I did the preceding 60 minutes. Since I can’t, an apology is all I’ve got and I sincerely hope those people will accept it. Up front, I wish to say that I am sorry to the fan and any others who were involved. As a husband, father, and a musician on the public stage, I understand that it is my duty to always take responsibility for my actions in a socially acceptable way, and most especially in the face of confrontation."

— Ben Foster.

On Twitter, wrestler CM Punk issued a challenge to Foster with the Tweet: "Ben Weasel, wanna fight?". No response was forthcoming until over three years later that saw Weasel attempting to rally any remaining female fans he may have to fight CM punk for him. Weasel issued a statement via his Facebook, challenging CM Punk to attend his upcoming Chicago performance on November 22, 2014, where he will attempt to rally his female fans in support.[16]

Following the incident, several bands who were slated to appear at Weasel Fest in Chicago dropped out, including Chinese Telephones, Chixdiggit, The Soviettes, Teenage Bottlerocket and Kepi Ghoulie.[17] On March 23, 2011 the other four members of Screeching Weasel all resigned from the band citing the SXSW incident as the reason.[18] On March 31 it was announced that the entire Weasel Fest had been cancelled.[19] In August, Weasel issued a full article on Screeching Weasel's website describing his whole point of view on the situation.[20]

Discography[edit]

With Screeching Weasel[edit]

With Riverdales[edit]

Solo[edit]

Writing[edit]

In the early 1990s, Foster published the fanzine Panic Button. He published two chapbooks through Oyster Publications, Brady Bunch Behemoth (1991) and Stab! Stab! Stab! (1992). Weasel also wrote for other various zines, including Razorcake, Non-Stop Banter, Jersey Beat, Hit List and 10 Things Jesus Wants You To Know. He also had a long-running column in MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL, one of the most prominent punk rock fanzines. He wrote a novel in 2001 called Like Hell and put out a collection of his columns and articles in 2002 entitled Punk is a Four Letter Word. Both books were published by Hope and Nonthings, a small publishing house based in Chicago run by former bandmate John Jughead.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Madison's ESPN Radio 1070". ESPN Radio 1070. August 20, 2008. Archived from the original on August 20, 2008. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  2. ^ Paul, Aubin (November 17, 2011). "Ben Weasel relaunches Weasel Radio as Podcast". Punknews.org. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  3. ^ http://johnjugheadpierson.blogspot.com/2013/04/wrestling-with-weasels.html
  4. ^ http://67.151.102.46/story/print/?id=325083
  5. ^ DeRogatis, Jim (March 2001). "SCREECHING HALT". Spin (magazine). Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  6. ^ McDonald, Jim (July 2007). "Ben Weasel Interview". 1340 Mag. Archived from the original on August 22, 2007. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Jim DeRogatis (15 October 2000). "Screech goes on for Ben Weasel". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 8 September 2012.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  8. ^ http://www.punknews.org/article/40202
  9. ^ Harvilla, Rob (September 14, 2005). "Kerplunk - The rise and fall of the Lookout Records empire.". East Bay Express. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  10. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOXuvbT0eUo
  11. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRmLoIsGq2A
  12. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqwWcOYqW6g
  13. ^ Martens, Todd (March 19, 2011). "SXSW 2011: Screeching Weasel reluctantly performs, show ends in a scuffle". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  14. ^ August, Justin (March 21, 2011). "Ben Weasel apologizes to fan, club owner and band for actions at SXSW". Punknews.org. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  15. ^ Foster, Ben (March 19, 2011). "Screeching Weasel At SXSW". benweasel.com. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  16. ^ http://www.nodq.com/wwe/418539842.shtml
  17. ^ Yancey, Byrne (March 21, 2011). "The Soviettes, Chinese Telephones, Teenage Bottlerocket drop from Weasel Fest". Punknews.org. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  18. ^ Paul, Aubin (March 23, 2011). "Screeching Weasel members resign". Punknews.org. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  19. ^ http://www.punknews.org/article/42095
  20. ^ http://www.brooklynvegan.com/chicago/2011/08/screeching_weas.html

External links[edit]