Dicing up onions and peppers in the kitchen of his shared apartment, Ben Childs is what you might call a ‘domestic’ rock star. Tonight he’s throwing a leaving party, Mexican’s on the menu, and the whole band is coming round to say goodbye.
Ben is the ex guitarist of ska punk band Sonic Boom Six (SB6). He quit the band in late 2009, and is heading off to the U.S this month. He talks to Jack Dobson about going solo, groupies and his musical experiences.
“I just wanted more control over my life,” he says as he starts cooking. “Even though it can be a lot of fun, I wasn’t enjoying the way I was living. It felt like I was out of control, at the time it was making me really unhappy, that’s why I went solo.”
Having finished the Boom or Bust tour with SB6 and with the marriage to his wife Christie, Ben found himself easing into a solo career. “It was a natural progression really, I’ve been wanting to do more folky stuff, working with other people, and to have more choice in what I do and when.
“Being solo seems to be going quite well, songs are coming to me easily, and I haven’t had a problem getting gigs, but I’m not rushing into anything yet.”
Ben played in Sonic Boom Six for four years, in that time they had performed at festivals to tens of thousands of people, joined forces with the Love Music, Hate Racism campaign and performed with the likes of Reel Big Fish.
He says as well as the “camaraderie” of being in a band, he misses the big gigs and the touring to other countries. “I remember playing Reading and Leeds, that was really good, it made us feel like rock stars. We had a dressing room next to the Deftones, it really felt like we were amongst the ranks of ‘real’ bands.
“I also really enjoyed eastern Europe. The vibe out there is amazing, you really feel like you’re on an adventure the further away you get from home. We did that five or six times.”
When the band were told he was to leave, they accepted it in good stead. “We’re still really good friends, and they took it in a typically English, good humoured way. They were really supportive.”
“I once had sex with a police officer,” he says while laughing. “That was quite good. Though I didn’t know she was a police officer at the time – the uniform and handcuffs gave it away.”
Taking a moment to think, he suddenly jumps up with excitement, “Oh god there was this crazy Chezch girl who came in the van with us, the tour manager at the time was banging her. She just kept getting weirder, she’d sit down with all of us and eat all of our food, so there would be none left for us. But we eventually got rid of her.”
Ben has big plans for the year. He’s coming back for two weeks in the summer to tour the UK with Mike Scott, an acoustic punk rocker, and will make his first release as a solo artist with him on a split album.
He expects to have released his first full album by late 2010, “I’m not sure if that’ll be with Rebel Alliance, but I’d like to think so – I’m also going to work on getting released in America, and keep on touring, but on my own schedule, how I want it.”
The pans start to hiss and Ben quickly pulls it off the hob. “I can’t multitask – I’m a typical bloke.” He invites us to stay for chilli and to meet the band, which we very reluctantly decline. “Next time you’re around, come hang out, or come see me if I’m playing a gig near you.”
Ben Childs can be found hereTweet