On the radar: Benjamin Booker


Benjamin Brooker



Maybe it was the warm summer air, the second coffee, or the happy delirium brought about by lengthy sleep deprivation, but after firing off a fresh batch of email questions to garage rock hot-fuss Benjamin Booker, MusicRadar felt positive. His answers, we knew, wouldn't disappoint. And they did not.


When and how do you think you first found your own voice as a songwriter/musician?

"There was a herd wild alley cats outside my house as a kid. They taught me everything I know. RIP Cletus the Cat."

Alas, this is not the sort of thing that we can mould into 500 words of smooth, jazzy narrative. Instead, we've opted to present our sparse, awkward and joyous Q&A in the form most reflective of the 22 year-old New Orleans resident's sparse, awkward and joyous music. Which, we'd wager, is exactly what he wanted, the sneaky devil...


New Orleans, Louisiana


Benjamin Booker (guitar, vocals), Max Norton (drums)

How did you come to pick up the guitar and when was the first time that you realised that it was the instrument for you?

"When I was 14, I traded a homeless man three bottles of Manischewitz for a parlor-size guitar that had a picture of Hulk Hogan taped to the back. I still don't know if its for me."

Who are your guitar influences? And is there a common thread that links them?

"The Gibb Brothers, The Blues Brothers and The Everly Brothers. They're all brothers."

Why did you opt to move to New Orleans from Florida? What's the city given you?

"Lets just say I'm not legally allowed to talk about the circumstances leading up to my move. NOLA gives me a lot of heartburn."

If you had to put on your own show, featuring any three bands, who would you have and why?

"Cannibal Corpse, Korn and Jermaine Jackson. Why? Why not?"

What guitars, amps and pedals do you use? What do you like about them?

"I use a Fender Blues Deluxe, a Big Muff and a Boss Trendline pedal. I hate them. I got them on Craigslist at a house that turned out to be a brothel that caters exclusively to little people."

We really enjoyed the tones on your album (S/T, out 18 August). Are you a purist when it comes to equipment?

"No, I'm not a purist. The next album will be recorded entirely on my bass player's voicemail."

Are you pleased with the record?

"Eh, I'd give it an 8.2. Should have had more beat drops."

Why did you pick Andrija Tokic to produce?

"He was the most expensive producer we could find."

You're over touring the UK next month. What should people expect from you, live, and what do you expect from them?

"Nose bleeds and brown notes."

You're playing the 100 Club on the London date. How do you feel about playing there?

"Never heard of it. Sucks that it only holds 100 people."

Which bands should we check out?

"Ex-Cult. They'll make you tear out your own hair. Amazing Snakeheads. Dale really knows how to cut a rug in the club."

Finally, what makes you still pick the guitar up?

"Middle-aged women. Oh, and the call of the shred."

Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.