BEN HAS RECENTLY given the world two albums, that he was kind enough to send to us, and we could not help but air them on the radio: ‘Vaughn Sings Vaughn Vol. 1’ and ‘Vaughn Sings Vaughn Vol. 2’. These recordings are the first in a series that will offer the complete cataloguing of all songs Vaughn, many from the past, some new, the entire batch recorded with his backing band, the Ben Vaughn Desert Classic.
I have a studio here in L.A., and the rent keeps going up, so I decided to record every idea I could think of, before closing it down. Most of my records are out of print, and fans keep asking for recordings of the old tunes, so I decided to revisit my songbook with my band, the Ben Vaughn Desert Classic. I started writing new songs, once we started recording, so that’s why it’s a mix of old and new.
Upon entering the studio to record the new versions of your old songs, did you remember the lyrics and the music or you needed to play your old albums back on your stereo?
I have a really good memory when it comes to music. I’m hit and miss when it comes to remembering other things in life.
Were the players familiar to the songs? Or did you have to teach the songs to them?
We already play these songs on stage out here in L.A. I’ve had the same band for over five years.
When inspiration visits you and you make up a new tune, what is it that makes this tune develop into a song (with lyrics) or an instrumental composition?
I write everything in my head when I’m driving or walking. It comes to me all at once very quickly.
I need you to explain that to me! Music travels in the strangest ways.
Do you work on PC or on Mac?
In today’s music biz, where exactly do you think you fit in?
I’ve never known where I fit in in the music business. When I started out, I was “alternative”, then I was “roots rock”, then I was “indie rock” and now I think I'm “Americana”, but I’m not sure.
Ben Vaughn with no beer near him
Beer and um... beer.
What was the longest sound check you ever did?
I have blocked all past sound checks out of my mind. I prefer to dwell on positive experiences.
How many electric guitars do you own?
I own four electric guitars.
Ben with one of his four guitars (2006)
I haven’t bought a guitar in a long time. I’m not a real guitar fanatic. In fact, I know very little about guitars. I bought a Telecaster, when I was a teenager, plugged it into a Fender Deluxe, and never looked any further. I’m a songwriter / composer first. Guitar player second.
How many records per month do you purchase? How many albums per month do you listen to?
I listen to music all the time. I buy a lot of old vinyl out here in L.A. I have thousands of records. I love it.
How many credit cards are there in your wallet?
Two credit cards.
Who’s more sorry? You or Brenda Lee?
Nobody is truly sorry in that song. Nothing is learned. Which is probably why people like it.
Are you too sensitive for this world?
‘Too Sensitive’ was written after my best friend died. I was going through a rough time, and wasn’t sure if I would make it through. That was long time ago, but I still think about him every day. He was a great guy.