|Birth name||Benjamin Jesse Blackwell|
June 12, 1982 |
Detroit, Michigan, United States
|Genres||Garage rock, rock and roll|
|Occupation(s)||drummer, writer, archivist|
|Labels||Cass Records, Third Man Records|
|Associated acts||the Dirtbombs, The White Stripes|
Ben Blackwell (Born Benjamin Jesse Blackwell on June 12, 1982) is the creator and director of Cass Records, one of two drummers in the Detroit-based rock band the Dirtbombs, an music writer, and a vinyl record collector. He's an employee at Third Man Records and the official archivist of the White Stripes.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Recording career
- 3 Writing
- 4 Work with The White Stripes
- 5 Discography
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Ben Blackwell was born in Detroit, Michigan on June 12, 1982 to Maureen Gillis. He is Jack White's nephew. He attended Wayne State University for three years, with a concentration in journalism, before withdrawing.
Blackwell debuted live with the Dirtbombs on December 18, 1999 when he was only 17 years old. According to Blackwell, Mick (from the Dirtbombs) called Jack White and let him know they were looking for a drummer; White put his nephew on the phone. Blackwell has since become one of the longest-serving members of the band, having played on four studio albums and having toured extensively all over the world.
Beginning in 2003 with money given to him by his mother, Blackwell has put out over 50 releases on his Cass Records imprint. Instead of signing artists, he makes one-time deals to release their songs as singles. His label received some fame with the release of the song "2004" from the country-rock band Blanche. Through his label he has also released records from such artists as The Mooney Suzuki, The Waxwings, The Trachtenburg Family Slide Show Players, The Sights, The Muldoons, Kelley Stoltz, Dan Sartain, Turbo Fruits, Cheap Time, The Go, the Black Lips and many others.
In 2007, Blackwell was selected by Crain's Detroit Business magazine as one of their "Twenty in Their 20s", a yearly designation given to twenty emerging entrepreneurs in southeastern Michigan. Blackwell was selected because of his work with his Cass Records label and was recognized for his commitment to the 7-inch vinyl format.
In November 2010, Blackwell self-released his debut solo album "I Remember When All This Was Trees" on his Cass Records imprint. Blackwell wrote, recorded and performed all the music on the album.
In March 2011 Blackwell participated in Esquire magazine's annual songwriting challenge along with Dierks Bentley, Dhani Harrison, Raphael Saadiq and Brendan Benson. Each performer was asked to write a song using the lyric "Last night in Detroit" and Blackwell's song "Bury My Body at Elmwood" is based around Elmwood Cemetery on the east side of Detroit.
Blackwell has also contributed work to the following books:
- The White Stripes and the Sound of Mutant Blues by Everett True
- The Art of the Band T-Shirt by Amber Easby
- The Stooges: The Authorized and Illustrated Story by Robert Matheu
In November 2006 Blackwell started his own blog titled Tremble Under Boom Lights named after an EP by the band Jonathan Fire*Eater.
Blackwell's poem The World's Most Important Swimmers was selected by members of the Guerilla Poetics Project to be printed as a letterpressed broadside for the November 2008 installment of their program.
Since 2007 Blackwell has been a frequent contributor to Bagazine, a Mail Art "magazine in a bag" that focuses on "assemblage, handwork and print making, photography, painting, chapbooks, graphic design, typography, letterpress, Visual Poetry and the unusual."
In March 2010 an anonymous guerilla stickering campaign was started in Detroit asking "Where is Ben Blackwell?" Bumper stickers with this message can still be found in the Midtown neighborhood.
On March 1, 2014, Blackwell gave a lecture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston titled "A Contemporary Record of Rock 'n' Roll" covering topics ranging from vinyl records, archiving, musical archeology and his personal experiences relating to them.
Work with The White Stripes
From the beginning of the Stripes' existence, Blackwell worked as the band's roadie and wrote much of the group's website content. Although he is not an accredited professional archivist, he is the "White Stripes' official archivist". He wrote the liner notes to Under Blackpool Lights. He also appears in The White Stripes' feature-length documentary Under Great White Northern Lights, conducting the interview that is interlaced throughout the film.
Currently, Blackwell oversees vinyl record production at Jack White's Third Man Records in Nashville, Tennessee where his official job title "Pinball Wizard and Director of Operations." He is involved in the program School Choirs & Bands at Third Man: A Vinyl Recording Experience, and initiative which, according to the website, offers "students behind-the-scenes access to Jack White’s Third Man Records in Nashville, TN, as well as the chance to record their own " 45rpm vinyl records."
With the Dirtbombs
|2001||Ultraglide in Black||In The Red Records|
|2003||Dangerous Magical Noise||In The Red Records|
|2008||We Have You Surrounded||In The Red Records|
|2011||Party Store||In The Red Records|
|2005||If You Don't Already Have a Look||In The Red Records|
|2013||Consistency is the Enemy||Cass Records|
- Headlights on 7" (Solid Sex Lovie Doll Records, 2000)
- Brucia I Cavi 7" (Hate Records, 2000)
- Ode to a Black Man 7" (Sweet Nothing, 2001)
- Australian Sing A Long with the Dirtbomb Singers 7" (Zerox Records, 2002)
- Pray For Pills 7" (Corduroy Records, 2002)
- Motor City Baby 7" (Sweet Nothing, 2003)
- Earthquake Heart 7" (Velvet Tiger, 2004)
- Merit 7" (Kapow Records, 2004)
- Crashdown Day 7" (Corduroy Records, 2004)
- Tanzen Gehn' 7" (Soundflat Records, 2005)
- Brand New Game 7" (Munster Records, 2005)
- Oh Katrina 7" (Noiseless/Live From Detroit, 2007)
- Rocket USA 7" (Infirmary Phonographic, 2008)
- Need You Tonight 7" (Stained Circles, 2008)
- The Dirtbombs... Play Sparks 7" (In The Red Records, 2008)
- Race to the Bottom 12" (Cass Records, 2009)
- Kick Me 7" (Cass Records, 2010)
Dirtbombs split recordings with other artists
- "King's Led Hat", with The Gories (Fortune Teller Records, 2004)
- "Lost Love", with ADULT. (Cass Records/Ersatz Audio, 2004)
- "Billiards at Nine-Thirty", with King Khan and the Shrines (Sounds of Subterrania, 2004)
- "No Expectations", with The Love Supremes (Norton Records, 2005)
- "Missionary Man", with The Black Lips (Cass Records, 2006)
- "Kung Fu", with the Voltaire Brothers and Pitch Black City (Mahogani Music, 2007)
- "Politicians in My Eyes", with Kelley Stoltz (Cass Records, 2008)
- "Politicians in My Eyes", with The Terrible Twos and Dan Sartain (Cass Records, 2008)
- "Secret Code", with Davila 666 (Scion Audio Visual, 2010)
- "If Can Can Can't We?", with Fucked Up (Bruise Cruise Records/453 Music, 2012)
|2010||I Remember When All This Was Trees (album)||Cass Records||all vocals and instrumentation|
|2011||"Bury My Body at Elmwood"||Cass Records||all vocals and instrumentation|
|Mike Quatro||1995||"The Ocean Song"||Quatrophonic Music USA||uncredited group vocal|
|Clone Defects||1999||"Bottled Woman"||Tom Perkins Records||uncredited reverb crash|
|Lost Kids||2001||"Explode" & "Whirling Dervish"||Gold Standard Laboratories||drums|
|The Mistreaters||2003||"Ol' Sugarfoot"||Estrus||guitar feedback|
|Detroit City Council||2003||"Mary's Lil Lamb"||Acid Jazz||drums|
|The Come-Ons||2005||"Promise Me"||Unrecording Records||guitar solo|
|Dan Sartain||2008||"Voodoo"||Cass Records||drums|
|Jack White||2011||"Love is Blindness"||Third Man Records||drums|
|2013||"Alone in My Home" & "Entitlement"||Third Man Records||drums|
- Dirtbombs Family Tree, MetroTimes.com. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
- Miller, 2013, Act III
- E. True, The White Stripes and the Sound of Mutant Blues (Omnibus Press, 2004), preface
- A. Easby "The Art of the Band T-Shirt" (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2007) p.227,
- R. Matheu "The Stooges: The Authorized and Illustrated Story" (Abrams, 2009) p.55
- (November 11, 2004). Rolling Stone
- Michaels, Sean. "Jack White secretly donated funds for Detroit baseball pitch". The Guardian. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- School Choirs and Bands, ThirdManRecords.com. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
- Knight, Blake (February 8, 2011). Owen Podcast Series: Ben Blackwell, Third Man Records, OwenBloggers.com. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
- Miller, Steve (2013). Detroit Rock City: The Uncensored History of Rock 'n' Roll in America's Loudest City. Boston, Massachusetts. Da Capo Press