Ben Folds Five Reunion Tour Coming to Western New York
Ben Folds Five called it a day at the height of their career, shortly after releasing the smash hit “Brick” and a great alternative album called Whatever and Ever Amen, the band decided to go their seperate ways in one of the friendlier splits in music history. Twelve years later, just like the Blues Brother, they’re putting the band back together and the reunion show is coming to Western New York at Kleinhans on October 5.Ben Folds Five never cared that they lacked guitars, calling their music “punk-rock for sissies”, carrying Ben’s baby grand piano from gig to gig. Fitting that the band is back on the road where they gained a loyal legion of followers which eventually led to their success in the 90’s. And this isn’t one of those tours where they are just getting back together for the money. Even after breaking up in 2000 they have remained friends, which made this reunion tour easy. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 am at the Kleinhans Box Office or tickets.bpo.org.
Within weeks of Ben Folds Five forming, they had toured the Southeast and the New York City area,
cut an indie 7” single and drew the attention of major and indie labels. By 1995, Ben Folds Five had
turned down the majors, signed with independent Caroline Records, released their eponymously titled
debut album and continued to extensively tour the States, building a rabid and dedicated fan base. By
the end of 1995, Ben Folds Five found explosive success in Japan where they were even the subject
matter of a major daytime soap opera! Success followed quickly in Europe, blowing away audiences at
the UK’s Reading Festival, and in Australia where their first hit “Underground” was the #3 song of the
year on Australia’s national radio station Triple J.
On the strength of their worldwide touring and the success of their debut album, a major label bidding
war erupted that landed Ben Folds Five on Sony’s boutique 550/Epic Records label. With this came
follow up album “Whatever and Ever Amen,” continued touring, hit videos and radio favorites “Battle
of Who Could Care Less,” “One Angry Dwarf and Two Hundred Solemn Faces” and Top 40 hit “Brick.”
Ben Folds Five brought a unique difference to radio and a clear departure from a world of angst-ridden
guitar bands by bringing quirky, witty piano-based music that got critical and commercial acclaim.
Ben Folds Five were visible everywhere … in films, on soundtracks and released an album of rarities,
B-sides and outtakes called “Naked Baby Photos.” 1999 brought their last album “The Unauthorized
Biography of Reinhold Messner,” which boasts the perennial favorite “Army.”
Since the band’s amicable breakup in September 2000, Ben continues with a very successful solo
career, Robert Sledge formed a band called International Orange and maintains a high profile as a
producer and artist in his native North Carolina, and Darren Jessee has recorded three albums and
tours nationally with his band Hotel Lights.
Ben, Robert and Darren have stayed friends since the Ben Folds Five days, did a one-off reunion in 2008
in home town Chapel Hill, performing “The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner” in its entirety
for the debut of the MySpace “Front To Back” Series, and recently recorded three new songs for last
year’s 3-CD Ben Folds Retrospective release. And now Ben, Robert and Darren are ready to do it again!