It’s a good time of year to check out new local bands, so this week the Colorado Daily talked to Denver’s New Ben Franklins.
The up-and-coming local band adds just the right amounts of twang and rock to its formula, and the group shows off its tunes at the hi-dive on Friday.
Dave DeVoe is the band’s vocalist/guitarist and he’s excited about the New Ben Franklins “loud Americana” sounds.
Who: The Mighty 18 Wheeler, with New Ben Franklins
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: hi-dive, 7 S. Broadway, Denver
Q: How did the New Ben Franklins start out and what musical elements are included in the mix?
A: The band formed in 1992 as a three-piece with a drum machine, and it played songs more in the vein of Joy Division or the Lorries. We added a real drummer and then I took over the singing duties.
I grew up in a ranching family, and grew up around the old-time country music. I really got into post-punk and the shoegaze stuff in the early ’90s. I really wanted to bring that all together into one sound.
Q: Why is the band heading into a country direction?
A: I grew up listening to Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings, and I think it’s only natural that a little of that works its way in to my songs. It seems to be gaining a stronger foothold as I get older. Also, having Tom Oberheide playing pedal steel and banjo helps get things back to a more Americana feel.
I love a lot of the newer alt-country bands, but the fact that it’s becoming more commercially viable doesn’t sway my writing or playing.
Q: Your band recently got back as a working band. How hard is that to do in this economy?
A: The band was very active, and then I took a break and moved to Alaska for a while. After I got back, I got together with a couple buddies and got things rolling again.
It amazes me how bands can get such a buzz going merely with things like the Internet these days. We use Facebook and MySpace to try to let people know when we’re playing, as well as our e-mail list.
For me, meeting people face to face and talking to them about shows is still a much better thing, but there’s no denying the power of the web.
Q: What’s the new EP like?
A: The EP we released this past January was meant to be a broad sampling of what we do.
I think it does a fairly good job, with the exception of not having anything really loud or raucous going on. We’ve got a little bit of the gothic country thing happening, we covered a Waylon song and a couple of darker pop songs.
Q: What can people expect at the hi-dive?
A: Anyone who has seen us play live knows that we have a really good time. The whole band is having fun and conveying something with the music.
Our last shows have been really well attended — and we’ve had people up on the floor dancing!