||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2010)|
|Birth name||Robert Sledge|
|Born||March 9, 1968 (age 45)|
|Genres||Rock, alternative rock|
|Instruments||Vocals, bass, Moog synthesizer|
|Associated acts||Ben Folds Five|
Robert Sledge began playing bass guitar at the age of eleven. His brother was playing guitar at his house so he also learned how to play the guitar at the same time. Robert Sledge got his start in the music scene when he was discovered in his basement by Jon Royce of The Beam, a regionally known band. They were from Murfreesboro, NC, but played many shows to sold-out crowds in the 1980s and early 90's in Atlantic Beach and they were also well known in Greenville, NC and all along the East Coast. The Beam played shows in Savannah, Georgia as well, and played with Johnny Winter and opened for The Black Crowes. Sledge's bandmates in The Beam included Steven Dean Davis (Stomp, Pandemonium), Jon Royce(Zakk's Coffeehouse), and Brad Dilday.  Before playing with Ben Folds Five he was bassist for the bands Toxic Popsicle and Lexx Luthor (with Godsmack's Sully Erna).
Ben Folds Five
Robert was a founding member of the piano-rock trio Ben Folds Five. Robert was the bass player for the group as well as taking up backup vocal duties on almost every song at the time. During the Reinhold Messner tour Robert began to use synths on stage as well as playing bass until the band's break up in 2000.
Robert is known for his use of a Big Muff distortion pedal and rockstar flair. Sledge played a Hamer Blitz Bass throughout the early years of Ben Folds Five. It was used on their eponymous debut album. He later switched to a Fender Jazz Bass to record Whatever and Ever Amen, while playing his Gibson and Epiphone Les Paul basses in live shows from that time to the present. Sledge had a sponsorship from Epiphone for his use of the Les Paul Bass, which can be seen in the Ben Folds Five performance on Sessions at West 54th. He also plays an upright double bass for several songs, including Brick.
Ben Folds made reference to Sledge in the lyrics of his song "Not the Same" on his 2001 solo album Rockin' the Suburbs: "You took a trip and climbed a tree/At Robert Sledge's party". Though Folds used Sledge's name, he claims the events in the song actually happened at drummer Darren Jessee's party.
In 2012 Ben Folds Five reunited for gigs and released a new album, The Sound of the Life of the Mind.
Post-Ben Folds Five
After Ben Folds Five broke up, Robert Sledge performed for one summer with the short lived rock group Brother Seeker, a band composed of Robert and former Squirrel Nut Zippers members Tom Maxwell and Ken Mosher. According to John D. Luerssen's Rivers' Edge: The Weezer Story Sledge was heavily considered to replace Mikey Welsh as the new Weezer bassist in 2001 but instead Scott Shriner took the job.
- "Today in History". The Associated Press. March 9, 2012.
- "Live Daily Interview". Livedaily.com. 2000-11-03. Retrieved 2011-08-16.
- "The Ben Folds Interview". Fufkin.com. Retrieved 2011-08-16.
- "Django Haskin's Announcement". Djangohaskins.com. 2005-02-26. Retrieved 2011-08-16.
- "Daily Tarheel Interview". Dailytarheel.com. 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-08-16.
- The Virginia Sun - February 17, 1987 "Beam shines music on Virginia" - Frank Roberts