Here at 605 Magazine, we love our contributors, and welcoming a new regular writer is a rare and exciting thing for us. We are pleased to introduce you to Bobby Benedict!
Bobby is a Brookings-based musician who recently started his own blog. Look for a new column featuring interviews, reviews, and more from Bobby each month at 605magazine.com. But first, we decided to turn the tables and find out a bit about him.
What are three words you’d use to describe yourself?
Bobby Benedict: Large, boisterous, anxious.
Aside from music, what is your favorite hobby?
BB: I really like comedy, both in performance and in attendance.
What are your three favorite bands and why?
BB: My all-time favorite is going to have to be Blink-182. They get a lot of flack from people at either side of their career, but that magical era between ’99 and ’03 helped form me, musically.
Amanda Palmer is magical to me. Some of her songs tend to ramble a bit, but so do I and I’m so glad I am not the only one who wants to sing to heal. I could listen to her and Neil Gaiman just trade stage time all day long.
My newest favorite is The Menzingers, they are a perfect mix of straight up punk rock and heartland rock and they really know how to use their sound.
What are your three of your favorite local bands and why?
BB: Aside from my own? (Shoutout to The New FM).
Fluid Karma has always been great to me, they aren’t rocketing around the scene trying to get exposure, but they pop up and never disappoint. I could just stand there bobbing my head to their sweet jams all day.
Stay Lucky are my homeboys, you dig? I don’t think there is any other local band currently still functioning that I know more lyrics for. Brian Hoffman knows how to capture what might be going on with him and put it into a melody.
Donnybrook Brawlers are the nicest people on the planet and they play the strangest mix of dark ska punk tinged with funk. They bring energy to a show. And, fun fact: I broke my foot skanking to their music.
Name your three favorite albums and why:
BB: 2014 was a hard year for me, but the album that could soundtrack any hardship I was having and lift me out of a mood was The Hotelier’s Home Like No Place Is There. That album is perfect to me.
Another album that sticks with me is Forgettable by Far From Finished. This is a Boston punk band that never really found a warm and accepting audience going from a fast and loud street punk band into a melodic and introspective rock. This album sounds and feels like going over old scars and picking at scabs but in a cathartic way.
Transgender Dysphoria Blues by Against Me! is a roller coaster full of gut punches. Every Against Me! purest I know has qualms with the way the band went after they released New Wave, but this brought everyone back around with the emotional tension, the cast of musicians behind it, and the brilliant writing that spilled out of Laura Jane Grace after she had almost everything in her life go wrong.
What is your guilty pleasure favorite band or artist?
BB: Most people would usually put some conventional artist here that totally goes against their hipster cred, but I’m going to do the opposite, I’m diving in the weird hole with my guilty pleasure. I love a band of robots named Steam Powered Giraffe. It’s three people that dress up like robots. They created a whole backstory to their robot world and they write and perform music. Their music ranges wildly in genre, but they fold in some great Vaudevillian comedy into the act and seeing them live is a strange treat.
What got you interested in music?
BB: In a listener capacity, I remember taking the turn from N’Sync’s No Strings Attached and whatever Celine Dion CD my mom had around into who I am today when I found Blink-182’s Enema of the State in my sister’s stack of music. From then on it was Blink, Green Day, Foo Fighters, into the 2000s radio emo bands, and now, it’s all history.
In a performance capacity, I’ve got another amusing anecdote. I never wanted to be a performer until I happened upon the singing comedian Stephen Lynch. His songs found 11-year-old me at just the right time and I immediately dug my grandma’s old guitar out from under my sister’s bed and started learning how to play.
What was your first show?
BB: I believe the first show I ever went to was a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert back when I lived in Hawaii. Mind you this was back when By The Way had come out and “The Zephyr Song” was my jam. I was cool, still am.
What was the best show you’ve ever seen?
BB: GWAR!!! I got to see them at Riot Fest back in 2012, that whole festival was a blast, but had I known that would be the last time I would see Oderus Urungus fronting that I would have thrashed in the pit the whole damn set.
Tell us about your own musical endeavors.
BB: I have been a fairly active member of the Sioux Falls music scene with my band The New FM since 2011. We try to keep active still, but everyone except me is all into higher education and science so I have to work with them on that.
When I can’t get the band around, I work as a singer-songwriter under the moniker Sad Giants. If it wasn’t for Wooden Legs Pub up in Brookings keeping their open mic night active I don’t think I’d ever have had the confidence to try to be on my own but now I’ve toured a few times as Sad Giants and it has been exhilarating.
What is interesting or special about the South Dakota music scene?
BB: The South Dakota music scene is so insulated and supportive. If it wasn’t for everyone always giving each other a hand once in a while with gear, recording, extra band members, what have you, then I don’t think it would be as strong. That being said, I do think we need to start pushing some birds out of the nest and get our best bands touring and recording more. So many awesome bands break up after I eat up all their songs and then I just have all these lyrics clanging around my head that I wish I could still geek out over.
What are your other hopes for the local music scene?
BB: I want Sioux Falls to be on the radar of bands I like, you know? I think that’s everybody’s dream, but I mean, as an avid music consumer I just want people to think about it. If people consciously don’t want to come here, I wouldn’t blame them, you know? We’re sort of out of the way from other major cities and surrounded by soybeans and corn. I’ve heard so many bands say they were surprised that there was a city out here that had record stores and people and things. I think we just need our all-ages scene to grow for a few more years – and thanks to places like Total Drag, we have that opportunity for now.
What band would you like to see come (or come back) to South Dakota?
BB: The Wonder Years, let’s inject some easycore in these hardcore veins.
What is one defunct band you’d like to see reunite?
BB: WHY CAN’T TOM DELONGE JUST BE WHO I’VE ALWAYS WANTED HIM TO BE.
One local band I want back is Typical Hunks, I don’t know how long they were around for, but I really liked their songs they put out before they disbanded.
Anything else we should know about you?
BB: I’ve always had a hard time answering people’s simple questions about me, especially in South Dakota. People around here are very polite and want to make small talk and be friendly and I am almost the opposite. I want to go all or nothing with my conversations. There’s a reason coming, I swear.
So, people always ask things like, ‘Where are you from?’ or, ‘What do you like to do?’ I have no idea how to answer any of those in less than a million words. I’ve covered the latter question in so many words above, but the former question becomes an agonizing romp through my nomadic childhood from being born in Illinois, to Alaska, to Hawaii, and then back to Alaska, and then to Brookings, and then try to get through all that before someone asks if I’m any of the Native cultures from any of those places and then I’m clarifying that I’m actually Asian, Laotian to be exact, but then I’m also 6’6″ so that gets some reaction, and man I have written way too much in this section.
Anyway, I love strong coffee and weird stuff.
Want Bobby to review your album or interview your band? Here’s how to get in touch:
Blog: I Don’t Wanna Be Scene