Ben's WWW Pages

My Music


Smoking Ivory

I am a keyboard player who learned to how to play by watching guitarists. Unfortunately I picked up a lot of bad habits, as you'd expect. Probably the worst is breaking strings, especially as my local music shop doesn't sell replacement piano strings. Luckily I was introduced to Deep Purple before things got too late and found that you could actually play keyboards in their own right and still easily out-play guitarists on rocking lead, rhythm and backing and over the top solos.

The styles of music I play are quite varied from hard rock and heavy metal through to soft Elton John style ballads that pianists should really play. I've settled on a favourite style which is blues-influenced hard rock, with long instrumental sections and plenty of solos and improvisation.

Official Ben Bell Endorsements

Ben plays Yamaha pianos and digital pianos (PF85's are nice until I can afford my P-300), Yamaha SY55 and Korg X5D synths, modified to make horrible screaming distorted sounds and nice Hammond organ sounds reminicent of Jon Lord (Deep Purple's God of Keyboards), and makes his noise through Peavey amplification. When he decides to tread on other peoples' territory, he plays Tanglewood guitars though he'd prefer to be using a nice Fender Stratocaster through a Marshall amp. He breaks Ernie Ball Super Slinkies and Vic Firth drums sticks. In percussion he prefers Sabian Crash cymbals, Zildjian ride cymbals, Paiste china and effect cymbals, and Sonor drums. What he usually ends up playing is Premier drums and broken unbranded cymbals.

For recording, a Yamaha MT4 multitrack does nicely, though a few more tracks would come in handy. Vocals are loud and undistorted through a Shure microphone. And Bostik Superglue is great for those post-gig repairs to keys.

He tends to favour a line up consisiting of Cozy Powell on drums, Glenn Hughes on bass and backing vocals, Jon Lord on keyboards when he is too busy screaming, and Marcus Taylor on guitar, co-vocals, co-writing, kebab eating and drinking.



Unfortunately I have no bands running at the moment. Last year I was involved with seven but they've all split up now due to people moving away. Warning: Keyboard player/vocalist on the prowl looking for new bands to join...

Seventh Hour

Seventh Hour were a five piece Rock/Blues band that I got roped into at the start of October 1996. I joined half-heartedy as the drummer, but when the old pianist left I sneaked in on keyborads. Since then I have been really glad I was in because these guys are so good - this is were I learned how to improvise and play solos. If you like the sort of performance where even the band get taken by surprise by a staggering improvised guitar solo or whataver else happens in these gigs, check out The Seventh Hour Web Pages for more info.

Crazy Dogs

Marcus Taylor's farewell gig band. An all star cast put together for a one-off gig full of improvised solos. I was lucky to be asked to play keyboards for this and when we got a recording of the event, I decided to chuck up a quick Crazy Dogs Web Page with sound clips.