Ben Mink

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Benjamin Mink
Born (1951-01-22) January 22, 1951 (age 71)
Toronto, Canada
Occupation(s)
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • producer
InstrumentsMultiple instruments
Websitebenmink.com

Benjamin Mink (born January 22, 1951) is a Canadian songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer best known as a longtime collaborator of Canadian singer k.d. lang.[1] He plays several string instruments, notably the guitar, violin, and the mandolin, and is a music producer.

Life and career[edit]

Early work[edit]

Born to Polish Holocaust survivors,[2] Mink was raised in Toronto, Ontario. He got his start performing with the rock/country group Mary-Lou Horner, which became the house band at The Rockpile bar and nightclub[3] and acted as a backup band for Chuck Berry.[4]

He has been a member of the groups Stringband, Murray McLauchlan's Silver Tractors, and FM.[5][6]

k.d. lang[edit]

Mink is best known as a longtime collaborator of Canadian singer k.d. lang, whom he met at Expo '85 while doing a gig with CANO.[7][8] Mink has performed on, along with co-writing and producing, several of her albums, which often combine voice with string arrangements.[9] Mink subsequently performed as violinist, guitarist, and mandolinist with lang's band, the Reclines. A performance for the Grammy-nominated album Ingénue was recorded as part of the MTV Unplugged series at the Ed Sullivan Theater, New York City, on December 16, 1992.[10] Mink was interviewed about his songwriting collaboration with lang on the British television show South Bank Show in 1996.[11]

Rush[edit]

Mink was invited to play electric violin on the Rush song "Losing It" from their 1982 album Signals, and contributed strings to the song "Faithless" from the 2007 album Snakes & Arrows. He also co-wrote, produced, and played guitar on My Favourite Headache (2000), a solo project of Rush lead singer and bassist Geddy Lee.[12][13][14] On June 19, 2015, he performed "Losing It" with the trio at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, as part of their R40 Live Tour.

Other collaborations[edit]

Mink has also produced and/or performed on recordings by the Barenaked Ladies, Anne Murray, Dan Hill, Mendelson Joe, Prairie Oyster, Raffi, Jane Siberry, Ian and Sylvia Tyson, Valdy, Bruce Cockburn, Murray McLauchlan,[15] Willie P. Bennett, Susan Aglukark, Methodman, Alison Krauss, Feist, Daniel Lanois, Sarah McLachlan, Roy Orbison, Elton John, and Heart.[citation needed]

He co-produced Red Velvet Car for Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson, released in the fall of 2010,[16] and appeared onstage in the band's concert video Night at Sky Church.[17] Mink was back at the helm as producer of Heart's 2012 album Fanatic, which included the single "Walkin' Good", featuring Sarah McLachlan.

Mink co-produced and performed on Feist's Grammy-nominated hit single "1-2-3-4", playing strings and guitars.[15]

He is a member of the Black Sea Station, a North American klezmer supergroup. Their debut recording, Transylvania Avenue, is produced by Mink, and was released on Rounder Records in the Fall of 2010 as a digital download.[18] He has also produced other klezmer musical acts in the past, such as Finjan, The Klezmatics,[19] and Chava Alberstein.[20][21]

Soundtracks[edit]

Mink scored the 2007 biopic Confessions of an Innocent Man about British-Canadian engineer William Sampson, which garnered him a Gemini Award.[citation needed] He wrote the soundtrack to the film Fifty Dead Men Walking,[22] which has since received numerous awards and nominations, including a 2010 Genie Award nomination for Best Achievement in Music—Original Score, and a 2009 Leo Award for Best Musical Score for a Feature-Length Drama. The television soundtracks for Terminal City and Alice[23] both also garnered Leo Awards. In 2011, the TV series Glee used the 1992 song "Constant Craving", written by Mink and k.d. lang,[24] in the seventh episode of the third season, for its closing number (performed by Chris Colfer, Idina Menzel and Naya Rivera).[citation needed]

Other work[edit]

Mink has lectured on such topics as "The Music Business vs. the Creative Process" at the University of British Columbia, Western Washington University, and Simon Fraser University.[citation needed] He has also worked with students as an associate of UBC's Department of Mechanical Engineering (robotics) and is an associate member of the Institute for Computing, Information & Cognitive Systems.[citation needed] In 2006, he delivered the introductory speech to k.d. lang's Governor General's Performing Arts Award induction at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.[citation needed] He has also contributed to the Library and Archives Canada.[25]

Mink is one of few people to ever share a songwriting credit with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. In 1997, Mink and k.d. lang were co-credited as songwriters on the Rolling Stones single "Anybody Seen My Baby?" because Jagger-Richards felt the chorus was very similar to "Constant Craving".[citation needed]

Mink has one solo recording—the hard-to-find 1980 release Foreign Exchange, on Passport Records.[1]

Selected awards[edit]

  • Grammy Awards: In 1990, Mink was co-nominated with k.d. lang for a Best Country Song Grammy for "Luck in My Eyes". Subsequently, as a producer and writer, he has been nominated for a total of nine Grammies, winning twice for his work with lang.[1]
  • Juno Awards: He has received seven Juno nominations, winning three times between 1993 and 1994.
  • Genie/Gemini Awards: Genie Award – Best Original Score for 50 Dead Men Walking; Gemini Award – Best British Columbia Film for Confessions of an Innocent Man.
  • Leo Awards: Best Musical Score 2006, 2009, 2010.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Ben Mink" - Canadian Encyclopedia.com
  2. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Geddy Lee Tells His Family's Holocaust Story (Full Interview)". YouTube.
  3. ^ Quill, Greg - "Led Zeppelin's Toronto memories" - Toronto Star
  4. ^ "Chuck Berry - The Rock Pile -May 15, 1969" - NashTheSlash.com
  5. ^ David Weigel. The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock. W. W. Norton; 13 June 2017. ISBN 978-0-393-24226-3. p. 161–.
  6. ^ "Ben Mink - FM Fiddle Flash" - Frets Magazine - Jan 1982
  7. ^ "Lunching with Bonzai - k.d. and Ben Mink - Food For Thought" Archived 2011-06-21 at the Wayback Machine - Mix Magazine - Jan 1996
  8. ^ "Life Is a Highway: Canadian Pop Music in the '90s" - CBC Doc Zone
  9. ^ The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon and Schuster; 2004. ISBN 978-0-7432-0169-8. p. 474–.
  10. ^ "MTV Unplugged: k.d. lang Episode Summary" - TV.com
  11. ^ "Tube and Twang" The Advocate. Here Publishing; 6 February 1996. ISSN 0001-8996. p. 56–.
  12. ^ "Roland Interviews Ben Mink" - Reverb Roland Canada
  13. ^ Sharken, Lisa - "Rush RX for my Favorite Headache" - VintageGuitar.com
  14. ^ Martin Popoff. Rush - Updated Edition: The Unofficial Illustrated History. Voyageur Press; June 2016. ISBN 978-0-7603-4995-3. p. 81–.
  15. ^ a b Bernie Finkelstein. True North: A Life Inside the Music Business. McClelland & Stewart; 2012. ISBN 978-0-7710-4793-0. p. 186–.
  16. ^ Ragogna, Mike - "Red Velvet Car: A Conversation With Heart's Ann & Nancy Wilson, Plus Introducing Theo Shier" - Huffington Post
  17. ^ "Legacy Recordings Releasing Heart's 'Night At Sky Church,' an Electrifying Full-Length Live Concert Film, Available Everywhere Tuesday, March 8, 2011" - PRNewswire.com
  18. ^ "The Black Sea Station" Archived 2017-09-29 at the Wayback Machine - The Black Sea Station Website
  19. ^ The Mix. Vol. 22, Issues 7-12. Mix Publications; 1998. p. 214.
  20. ^ Boehm, Mike - "A New Tap on Yiddish Tradition" - Los Angeles Times
  21. ^ "The Klezmatics & Chava Alberstein Biography" - LabelBleu.com
  22. ^ Schaefer, Glen - "Ben Mink is movie music king" Archived November 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine - Victoria Times Colonist
  23. ^ Brodsky, Katherine - "The go-to music people" - Variety.com
  24. ^ Babette Babich. The Hallelujah Effect: Philosophical Reflections on Music, Performance Practice, and Technology. Routledge; 16 March 2016. ISBN 978-1-317-02955-7. p. 180–.
  25. ^ "Ben Mink fonds" - Library and Archives Canada

External links[edit]