Ben Union
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Ben Union

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF
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Feb
27
Ben Union @ JazzBones

Tacoma, Washington, USA

Tacoma, Washington, USA

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Described By Back Beat Seattle as "one of the most eclectic rock bands currently calling Seattle home," the four-piece from Seattle cite influences such as 311, The Police, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Incubus, and U2.

Embracing such wide sound as synth, techno beats, Euro pop, coupled with pop-rock, folk, jam, and guitar rock, the quartet delivers a concoction that shares a lot of similarities with their influences, but also fits in with contemporaries like The Killers, Maroon 5, and Coldplay.

For all those that have seen the raucous live show that is Ben Union, they can attest to energy, excitement, and vibrancy of the band's live show. This Blessed Union, Vol II captures that. However, the album is no replacement for the live show, and the Doug Fir show on March 17th is not to be missed. - bePortland


Described By Back Beat Seattle as "one of the most eclectic rock bands currently calling Seattle home," the four-piece from Seattle cite influences such as 311, The Police, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Incubus, and U2.

Embracing such wide sound as synth, techno beats, Euro pop, coupled with pop-rock, folk, jam, and guitar rock, the quartet delivers a concoction that shares a lot of similarities with their influences, but also fits in with contemporaries like The Killers, Maroon 5, and Coldplay.

For all those that have seen the raucous live show that is Ben Union, they can attest to energy, excitement, and vibrancy of the band's live show. This Blessed Union, Vol II captures that. However, the album is no replacement for the live show, and the Doug Fir show on March 17th is not to be missed. - bePortland


The Ben Union Band takes elements from indie, funk and rock and mashes them together for a beautiful noise. The Tacoma-based trio of Union (on everything), Jared Mira (drums) and the singularly named “Doat” (bass) are possibly the most eclectic group of musicians I’ve heard in a long time — with influences ranging from the Police to Riverdance. Union, himself, is a multi-talented musician who has played with the likes of Scott Faircloff — writer for Lifehouse — and legendary local blues guitar wizard Steve Stefanowicz (who is on this bill at Jazzbones tonight as well). Paired with a smokin’ rhythm section, Union shines — and I don’t mean shoes. You can check the Ben Union Band out via MySpace. In his words: His music will melt your face and your heart and can make your nose bleed — and he ain’t shitting. - TONY ENGELHART - The Weekly Volcano


Ben Union was a bit of a guitar hog as a child. The guitar in question — his very first — was given as a gift from his father to the 9-year-old to share with his two brothers. The brothers didn’t have much of a chance.

“I kind of took it over,� Union said. “I always had that guitar. I played it for hours.�

Now Union, 22, is poised to play his second gig Saturday night at Jazzbones in Tacoma, guitar in hand. Veteran musician Steve Stefanowicz will open for the band.

Union considers this quite a twist, since he once looked up to Stefanowicz as a teenager at a local event.

“I saw him playing at a Gig Harbor art festival when I was 14,� Union said. “When he came down from the stage, I asked him for his autograph. Now it’s flip-flopped. He’s opening for us.�

Gabriel Mira, the band’s promoter/booking agent, said the show should be a treat for music lovers and musicians alike.

“This is good stuff that anybody can enjoy,� he said. “A lot of the music coming out nowadays is very poppy, very easy and uncomplicated. Ben’s music is not just noise. It encompasses all age groups. He is able to reach that older generation with the skill and thought and the way he puts his music together.�

Union’s band, dubbed the “Ben Union Band,� consists of Union on vocals and guitar, a second guitar player, a bassist and a drummer. The band sometimes plays covers, but it mostly plays original music.

Union describes his work as rock/funk/Indie. They are regulars at “The Hub,� but they aren’t afraid to crack open a few street gigs in Tacoma just for fun.

“We start playing on the street and just take it over,� Union said. “People walk by and they really like it.�

Union has gotten a taste of the London musicians in the tube stations and thinks nothing of his band playing on the street whenever they get a whim.

His father’s ministry offered him a taste of the world: He’s been to Australia, Germany and Holland. He joined some friends for a road trip around Southern Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day in 2007.

Union’s musical inspiration comes “when the creativity flows,� he said.

“I’m not a person that constantly writes. I’ll sometimes hear a guitar riff in my head or a song on the radio, and I’ll just start humming a melody. My song, ‘Take Her Away,’ was just a riff that came into my head. I keep a notebook handy and just roll with the creativity when it flows.�

Union said music and writing inspiration can come in times of pain or joy, during life struggles or family issues.

“That’s when it really flows, and that’s cool,� he said.

His song, “The Light,� is about “living outside yourself — helping people and not being so self-centered.�

The song “Her Vice� is about a woman’s vice — drinking.

“It’s about the secret little things that people are hiding,� Union said.

Like a lot of artists, Union said he’s gotten ahead of himself at times, writing songs with subject matters that, he feels he was too young as a teen, to know about.

“Here I was at 14 and 15 writing love songs,� he said. “At that age, I didn’t even have a girlfriend.�

The musician jams with his band members during practice, and the group helps one another smooth over rough spots in the song-writing process.

“I bounce things off them a lot,� Union said. “Sometimes I’ll say, ‘What do you think of this?’ and they’ll say, ‘Well, maybe we should do this,’ or ‘Maybe it would work better this way.’ �

Right now, the group is focused on its upcoming gig at Jazzbones, one Union is excited about.

“I want there to be a lot of energy,� he said. “This is the biggest show we’ve had so far.� - Susan Schell - Peninsula Gateway


Local singer and guitarist Ben Union is making a name for himself on the local music scene.

Union has lived in Gig Harbor since 1997. Because of his father’s work as a minister and missionary, he moved several times as a child, living in Houston, Australia and Southern California.

Union is a carpenter and since last summer he has been busy playing gigs around the local music scene.

He got his start in music playing and singing in church choirs and bands. A pivotal moment happened at age 7, while living in Australia. He saw a drummer named Michael Pittman who had a big impact on him. “He broke a stick every time he played,� Union recalled. “I thought it was awesome!�

At age 9 his father bought a guitar, which he was supposed to share with his brothers, but Union ended up doing most of the playing on it. He also took piano lessons.

At 14 he met Steve Stefanowicz, a well-known local singer and guitarist. Union got his autograph when Stefanowicz played a gig at a festival. Soon after Union went on stage with Stefanowicz at Engine House No. 9. “I was mesmerized by the guy,� he recalled.

Last year he enlisted three musicians to be his backing band – Jared on drums, Bryan on guitar and Doat on bass. They are all people he has known for many years.

Union played his first show last August at Origin 23, a coffee shop on Sixth Avenue. Since then he has played other Tacoma venues such as The Hub and Jazzbones.

Union plays a few cover tunes, but his emphasis is on his original material. He experiments with a variety of musical styles.

One song, “The Light,� has a definite reggae influence. “Frank� is an acoustic number. Some songs, like “Take Her Away,� are mid-tempo rockers, while “Too Many� is a subdued, slower rock song. Some of his material indicates a U2 influence.

Union writes all the music and lyrics, but he gets input on his songwriting from the members of his band. “They are helpful to bounce things off of,� he said. “We have come a long way.�

They have been recording material for a demo CD at Pacific Studios in Tacoma.

He generally waits for inspiration to strike for writing lyrics. “I have to take advantage of the creativity when it is flowing,� Union said. Sometimes he is inspired by hard times in his life or in the lives of others. Some songs stem from feelings of joy or love.

Union’s next show is at Jazzbones in Tacoma on Jan. 17. Stefanowicz has agreed to open the show and will take the stage at 9 p.m. “I am thrilled and honored to have him open for me,� Union said. “It is going to be a rad show. There will be a lot of energy in that place.� - John Larson - Tacoma Weekly


Ben Union was a bit of a guitar hog as a child. The guitar in question — his very first — was given as a gift from his father to the 9-year-old to share with his two brothers. The brothers didn’t have much of a chance.

“I kind of took it over,� Union said. “I always had that guitar. I played it for hours.�

Now Union, 22, is poised to play his second gig Saturday night at Jazzbones in Tacoma, guitar in hand. Veteran musician Steve Stefanowicz will open for the band.

Union considers this quite a twist, since he once looked up to Stefanowicz as a teenager at a local event.

“I saw him playing at a Gig Harbor art festival when I was 14,� Union said. “When he came down from the stage, I asked him for his autograph. Now it’s flip-flopped. He’s opening for us.�

Gabriel Mira, the band’s promoter/booking agent, said the show should be a treat for music lovers and musicians alike.

“This is good stuff that anybody can enjoy,� he said. “A lot of the music coming out nowadays is very poppy, very easy and uncomplicated. Ben’s music is not just noise. It encompasses all age groups. He is able to reach that older generation with the skill and thought and the way he puts his music together.�

Union’s band, dubbed the “Ben Union Band,� consists of Union on vocals and guitar, a second guitar player, a bassist and a drummer. The band sometimes plays covers, but it mostly plays original music.

Union describes his work as rock/funk/Indie. They are regulars at “The Hub,� but they aren’t afraid to crack open a few street gigs in Tacoma just for fun.

“We start playing on the street and just take it over,� Union said. “People walk by and they really like it.�

Union has gotten a taste of the London musicians in the tube stations and thinks nothing of his band playing on the street whenever they get a whim.

His father’s ministry offered him a taste of the world: He’s been to Australia, Germany and Holland. He joined some friends for a road trip around Southern Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day in 2007.

Union’s musical inspiration comes “when the creativity flows,� he said.

“I’m not a person that constantly writes. I’ll sometimes hear a guitar riff in my head or a song on the radio, and I’ll just start humming a melody. My song, ‘Take Her Away,’ was just a riff that came into my head. I keep a notebook handy and just roll with the creativity when it flows.�

Union said music and writing inspiration can come in times of pain or joy, during life struggles or family issues.

“That’s when it really flows, and that’s cool,� he said.

His song, “The Light,� is about “living outside yourself — helping people and not being so self-centered.�

The song “Her Vice� is about a woman’s vice — drinking.

“It’s about the secret little things that people are hiding,� Union said.

Like a lot of artists, Union said he’s gotten ahead of himself at times, writing songs with subject matters that, he feels he was too young as a teen, to know about.

“Here I was at 14 and 15 writing love songs,� he said. “At that age, I didn’t even have a girlfriend.�

The musician jams with his band members during practice, and the group helps one another smooth over rough spots in the song-writing process.

“I bounce things off them a lot,� Union said. “Sometimes I’ll say, ‘What do you think of this?’ and they’ll say, ‘Well, maybe we should do this,’ or ‘Maybe it would work better this way.’ �

Right now, the group is focused on its upcoming gig at Jazzbones, one Union is excited about.

“I want there to be a lot of energy,� he said. “This is the biggest show we’ve had so far.� - Susan Schell - Peninsula Gateway


Discography

2010 - The Sound We Saw - EP
2010 - The Light - LP
2012 - This Blessed Union, Vol I - EP
2013 - Shake That Ass - Single
2013 - This Blessed Union, Vol II - EP
2013 - Run This Town feat. Tess Henley - Single 2013 - I Got Mine feat. Shazam Watkins and Guy Keltner - Single
2013 - Proved Em Wrong - Single

All Tracks in Rotation Streaming
Select Tracks in Rotation on KROQ Los Angeles
Singles currently sit at #3 and #5 Tokyo Yatsura

Photos

Bio

A casual jam-session at Union Station on a friday has become 4 years of packing venues, jumping from balconies, swinging from lighting rigs, lighting band members on fire, and leaving audiences mesmerized to the point of drooling. The band has sparked what began as a grassroots campaign to become a regional takeover, with the Union gospel spreading like the fire of political revolution. Known for a live show that rivals IMAX and a militant following, this is a group to be reckoned with. JOIN THE UNION.