Benjamin Goldwasser

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Benjamin Goldwasser
Ben Goldwasser on stage with bandmate Andrew VanWyngarden in 2008
Goldwasser performing at Red Rocks in 2010.
Background information
Birth nameBenjamin Nicholas Hunter Goldwasser
Born (1982-12-17) December 17, 1982 (age 37)
Mishawaka, Indiana, U.S.
OriginWestport, New York, U.S.
GenresNeo-psychedelia, new wave, synthpop, art rock, alternative rock
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, keyboard, synthesizer, guitar, drums, percussion, omnichord, organ, computer
Years active2002–present
LabelsColumbia Records, Red Ink Records (an imprint of Columbia Records), Cantora Records
Associated actsMGMT

Benjamin Nicholas Hunter Goldwasser[1] (born December 17, 1982) is an American songwriter and musician in the psychedelic rock band MGMT, for which he primarily plays keyboards and sings. In 2009, his song "Electric Feel" (co-written with bandmate Andrew VanWyngarden), remixed by Justice, won a Grammy Award in the Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical category.[2] In 2010, his band was nominated for a Grammy as Best New Artist and Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.[3]

Life and career[edit]

Goldwasser was born in Mishawaka, Indiana,[4] the son of Rachel Hunter and David Goldwasser.[5][6] He was raised in Westport, New York.[2][7] Goldwasser is Jewish on his father's side.[8] When he was eleven years old, he saw Adrian Belew live in concert, and met guitarist Rob Fetters backstage.[7] He began piano lessons with his grandmother and mother, played in his high school's jazz band, and attended a "rock and roll camp" in Montpelier, Vermont.[7] One of his musical influences in high school was the electronic protopunk band Suicide.[9]

Goldwasser (Left) in 2008 with bandmate Andrew VanWyngarden

MGMT: 2004–present[edit]

Goldwasser met Andrew VanWyngarden, the other half of MGMT, in his freshman year at Wesleyan University.[10] Goldwasser was studying Music at the time.[11] While in college, he was a member of the Eclectic Society, a college society.[12] He helped run the society's music venue (a room in the house).[12] Goldwasser, already a keyboardist, took experimental music classes from composer Ron Kuivila with VanWyngarden which exposed them to progressive musical ideas.[13] They made their debut as MGMT at a party in a college dormitory (playing the theme to the motion picture Ghostbusters over and over for hours).[14] The duo would email one another and sign the emails "The MGMT" as a way of satirizing corporate culture.[10][15] They chose this email signature line as the name of their new band.[15]

After graduating from college in 2005,[4] Goldwasser and VanWyngarden moved to New York City, experimenting with music and building a band.[13] They immediately went on tour, opening for Of Montreal.[4] But no record deal came, and the band was on hiatus by 2006.[16] Goldwasser began working on a farm and was intending to move to California when the duo was signed by Columbia Records.[15] The band's 2008 release for the label, Oracular Spectacular, was a major success.[17] However, the band's sudden success, Goldwasser says, put a serious strain on his friendship with VanWyngarden for a time.[18] The band released its second album, Congratulations, in April 2010 to generally positive reviews.[19] Additionally, in 2013, they released their third studio album, self-titled MGMT. In 2014, Ben, along with psychedelic band Foxygen was featured on The Flaming Lips cover album, With A Little Help From My Fwends, on track 12.


  1. ^ "Songs by Writer". SESAC. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "What's News." Burlington Free Press. February 10, 2009.
  3. ^ Sisario, Ben. "Grammys' Weight Is Now Measured In Face Time." New York Times. January 29, 2010; Peerless, Beth. "Neo-Psychedelic/Alternative Pop Band MGMT Plays Santa Cruz on May 29." Monterey County Herald. April 22, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c Couch, Rachel. "MGMT Brings the Quirks on 'Oracular'." Daily Cavalier. January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ Yannelis, Eleni (May 26, 2009). "Paternal spectacular: MGMT's Uni connection". Online Gargoyle. Archived from the original on February 27, 2013. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  6. ^ Reiner, Alvin (January 6, 2008). "Local musician to appear on Letterman". Press-Republican. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Pollak, Sally. "A Spectacular Show." Burlington Free Press. April 12, 2008.
  8. ^ Lester, Paul (March 20, 2008). "The hippies whp are hip". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  9. ^ Davis, Hays. "On Time With MGMT." Richmond Times Dispatch. July 26, 2008.
  10. ^ a b Perry, Jonathan. "Year of the Brats." Boston Globe. February 8, 2008.
  11. ^ Powell, Austin. "MGMT, Yeasayer." Houston Press. January 17, 2008.
  12. ^ a b Black, Cristina. "The Wesleyan Mafia: MGMT, Boy Crisis, Amazing Baby." Village Voice. August 4, 2009.
  13. ^ a b Lanham, Tom. "MGMT Gets Down to Business at Bottom of the Hill." Inside Bay Area. January 25, 2008.
  14. ^ Danton, Eric R. "Ambitious, Ambiguous Duo." Hartford Courant. January 3, 2008.
  15. ^ a b c Donahue, Michael. "Messin' With People's Heads." The Commercial Appeal. January 11, 2008.
  16. ^ Gottlieb, Jed. "MGMT Training." Boston Herald. February 7, 2008.
  17. ^ Caballero, Martin. "MGMT's Free Online Offer Worthy of 'Congratulations'." Boston Herald. March 25, 2010.
  18. ^ Evan Haga (August 12, 2010). "MGMT summons the '60s". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved March 24, 2011.
  19. ^ "Congratulations Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 16, 2014.

External links[edit]