|Born||January 22, 1951|
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. He plays several string instruments, notably the guitar, violin, and the mandolin, and is a music producer.
Life and career
Born to Polish Holocaust survivors, 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 and acted as a backup band for Chuck Berry.
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. Mink has performed on, along with co-writing and producing, several of her albums, which often combine voice with string arrangements. 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. Mink was interviewed about his songwriting collaboration with lang on the British television show South Bank Show in 1996.
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. 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.
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, Willie P. Bennett, Susan Aglukark, Methodman, Alison Krauss, Feist, Daniel Lanois, Sarah McLachlan, Roy Orbison, Elton John, and Heart.
He co-produced Red Velvet Car for Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson, released in the fall of 2010, and appeared onstage in the band's concert video Night at Sky Church. Mink was back at the helm as producer of Heart's 2012 album Fanatic, which included the single "Walkin' Good", featuring Sarah McLachlan.
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. He has also produced other klezmer musical acts in the past, such as Finjan, The Klezmatics, and Chava Alberstein.
Mink scored the 2007 biopic Confessions of an Innocent Man about British-Canadian engineer William Sampson, which garnered him a Gemini Award. He wrote the soundtrack to the film Fifty Dead Men Walking, 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 both also garnered Leo Awards. In 2011, the TV series Glee used the 1992 song "Constant Craving", written by Mink and k.d. lang, in the seventh episode of the third season, for its closing number (performed by Chris Colfer, Idina Menzel and Naya Rivera).
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. 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. 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. He has also contributed to the Library and Archives Canada.
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".
- 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.
- 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.
- "Ben Mink" - Canadian Encyclopedia.com
- Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Geddy Lee Tells His Family's Holocaust Story (Full Interview)". YouTube.
- Quill, Greg - "Led Zeppelin's Toronto memories" - Toronto Star
- "Chuck Berry - The Rock Pile -May 15, 1969" - NashTheSlash.com
- 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–.
- "Ben Mink - FM Fiddle Flash" - Frets Magazine - Jan 1982
- "Lunching with Bonzai - k.d. and Ben Mink - Food For Thought" Archived 2011-06-21 at the Wayback Machine - Mix Magazine - Jan 1996
- "Life Is a Highway: Canadian Pop Music in the '90s" - CBC Doc Zone
- The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon and Schuster; 2004. ISBN 978-0-7432-0169-8. p. 474–.
- "MTV Unplugged: k.d. lang Episode Summary" - TV.com
- "Tube and Twang" The Advocate. Here Publishing; 6 February 1996. ISSN 0001-8996. p. 56–.
- "Roland Interviews Ben Mink" - Reverb Roland Canada
- Sharken, Lisa - "Rush RX for my Favorite Headache" - VintageGuitar.com
- Martin Popoff. Rush - Updated Edition: The Unofficial Illustrated History. Voyageur Press; June 2016. ISBN 978-0-7603-4995-3. p. 81–.
- Bernie Finkelstein. True North: A Life Inside the Music Business. McClelland & Stewart; 2012. ISBN 978-0-7710-4793-0. p. 186–.
- Ragogna, Mike - "Red Velvet Car: A Conversation With Heart's Ann & Nancy Wilson, Plus Introducing Theo Shier" - Huffington Post
- "Legacy Recordings Releasing Heart's 'Night At Sky Church,' an Electrifying Full-Length Live Concert Film, Available Everywhere Tuesday, March 8, 2011" - PRNewswire.com
- "The Black Sea Station" Archived 2017-09-29 at the Wayback Machine - The Black Sea Station Website
- The Mix. Vol. 22, Issues 7-12. Mix Publications; 1998. p. 214.
- Boehm, Mike - "A New Tap on Yiddish Tradition" - Los Angeles Times
- "The Klezmatics & Chava Alberstein Biography" - LabelBleu.com
- Schaefer, Glen - "Ben Mink is movie music king" Archived November 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine - Victoria Times Colonist
- Brodsky, Katherine - "The go-to music people" - Variety.com
- 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–.
- "Ben Mink fonds" - Library and Archives Canada