Ben Sommer

Ben Sommer

 Rockland, Massachusetts, USA
BandRock

Ben Sommer is a composer and performer making edgy, political prog-rock

Biography

Full interactive bio is here: http://bensommer.com/bio

1984: acquired drum set for 10th birthday
1988: acquired guitar for my 13th birthday
1989: Grew hair long, learned to play every track on Iron Maiden's Live After Death
1990: Recorded first original rock tunes with my teenage basement band. Silly little things - now long forgotten - inspired by Rush, King Crimson & early Genesis
1992: Premiered my first legit composition - "Sommertime" - for the New Canaan, CT High School Jazz Band. A wretched, derivative work borrowing heavily from a China Crisis tune
1995: Won a concerto competition playing the "Stairway to Heaven" of the classical guitar repertoire: Concierto de Aranjuez. Also won a composition competition with an original piece for Piano Trio. A good piece, with just a few embarrassing moments.
1996: Gave up on a promising classical guitar career over tendinitis. Succeeded in a 2-year long quest to get cured.
1997: Learned to hate the state by working as a substitute teacher in various government schools. Cultivated a scowling, contrarian world view, suitable for my going-nowhere music career
1998: Full-on obsessed with minimalism (Reich) and neo-third stream hacks like Louis Andriessen. Composed many works in the style
1999: Half-hearted attempt to write post-modern literature. Self-published a book of short stories & poems, distributed to <10 friends and family
2000: Graduated from Graduate School as a "master of composition" - a pleasant 2-year distraction that's taken nearly a decade to recover from
2001: Became self-taught technologist. Bluffed my way into my first legit day job
2003: Produced first full-length art rock album - "Super Brain", immediately shelved as "too un-commercial"
2004: Wrote a follow up to "Super Brain" full of political & social rants - code-named "Right Wing Fiend". Recorded first track - "Speekie Engrish" - before being leveled by a tsunami...err...the birth of my first child
2005: Spent all free time between baby-this and baby-that either A) napping, or B) discovering radical, free-market economics
2006: Emerged from near-drowning (tsunami #1) just soon enough to record the rest of "Right Wing Fiend", then leveled by aftershock (child #2)
2008: Mortgage, day job, family. 34th birthday - early mid-life crisis. Gained then lost 50 pounds. Swung at - but missed - a half dozen get-rich-quick ideas. Began chewing on two Zoloft pills/day
2009: Kicked self in pants and got back to music. Completed tracking and recording of "Right Wing Fiend" - renamed "america'd". Learned the basics of music mixing & mastering from an online Berklee College course. Completed first mature mix - "Adult Children"
2010: Released "america'd" and set 5-year plot in motion to dominate the niche of edgy, political prog rock. Came out of the musical, social and political closet to all my friends & family

Lyrics

Adult Children

Written By: Ben Sommer

we live on styrofoam and plastic
and gasoline up to the gills
but when petroleum gets costly
we petition capitol hill
we join the union when we're eighteen
and sleep away half of the day
but with the Chinese exporting
we toss our hands up and complain
ichi-kichi-kichi-coo waa-waa
ichi-kichi-kichi-ca waa-waa
I wanna bottle and a diaper
don't wanna face up to the real world
boo-hoo
we're eating hamburgers and frosties
and jelly donuts, too
and if we get a little hefty
we're gonna lawyer up and sue
we get all sniffly and weepy
with post traumatic stress nerves
we call the therapist, pleading
to kiss the booboo where it hurts
ichi-kichi-kichi-coo waa-waa
ichi-kichi-kichi-ca waa-waa
I wanna pluggles and a lamby
singing the baby's blues boo-hoo
I'm going down, going down, going down, going down
into the repressed memories of my childhood
my daddy can't make me rake the leaves
I wanna play my nintendo!
I wanna juice box!
no no, daddy, no!
we are the latest generation
of happy indolent youth
we got a house, wife and children
but sucking binkies till we're blue
ichi-kichi-kichi-coo waa-waa
ichi-kichi-kichi-ca waa-waa
I wanna bottle and a blankie
don't wanna grow up like you
ichi-kichi-kichi-coo waa-waa
ichi-kichi-kichi-ca waa-waa
I wanna bottle and a diaper
don't wanna face up to the real world

Speekie Engrish

Written By: Ben Sommer

I went out to buy a tank of gasoline
Guy named mustafa, his service truly was obscene
Had bushy eyebrows and bushy beard and yet it seemed
That he could not speekie engrish
Hhe came over the border back in '93
The Clinton Wshitehouse was offering him amnesty
But then the shoe dropped and immigration policy said:
"Go home Pakistani"
Will you speak english, please?
Andrazii? speekie speekie engrish?
Hey little man, how you gonna hear this?
You're showin' up on everybody's shit list
How come you don't speekie any engrish?
In the hallowed halls of the academy
They're keeping busy re-writing history
All those dead white men ain't what they used to be
Cause they all spoke perfect english
The university director of diversity
Could not appreciate his circumstance of irony
He was sending out illiterates with PhDs
And they only spoke ebonics
Spizzle englizzle? Speekie speekie Engrish?
Hey little man, how you gonna hear this?
You're showin' up on everybody's shit list
How come you don't speekie any engrish?
They're drilling oil, we're standing in it waist-deep
In foreign lands they're slaving in the hot heat
To bring us gap and hilfiger and nike
You bet they wished they spoke a little english
There was the Irish, the Germans, then the Cantonese
Later they flourished in business with uncommon ease
The only difference was that they learned their ABCs
An bhfuil BĂ©arla agat?
Babbeln sie? sprechen sie englisch?
Nei sik msik gong ying man?
Maybe we'll just say it all in english
Hey ya, hey ya, speekie speekie engrish?
Hey little man, how you gonna hear this?
You're showin' up on everybody's shit list
How come you don't speekie any engrish?

Saint Martha

Written By: Ben Sommer

Saint Martha was heavy in every way
Cook a souffle
Some calls and some puts would round out her day
Saint Martha was bitter as vinaigrette
Powerful, yet
Without a love she still felt bereft
Then one day the desert it bloomed to sunday
He would shoot her a glance at her
thread count fetish
thread count fetish
thread count fetish
Rich Martha was smoother than Bob Goulet
Why did she stray?
Turning pastry tricks for an equity play
Dead set on her head on a platter flambe'
The inquisitors blamed her for
thread count fetish
thread count fetish
thread count fetish
Brave Martha would suffer to be alone
Took up her throne
Her chows by her side
thread count fetish
thread count fetish
thread count fetish

Discography

america'd