Question: What do Radish & Ben Kweller have in common?
Answer: Radish is not the red-skinned root that Ben Kweller's mom used to make him eat on salads, but rather the 1990s grunge band Kweller headed at 13.
Radish was no ordinary backyard-playing teen trio, and Ben Kweller is no ordinary twenty-something musical success story. After stints with bands Green Eggs & Ham, Mirage, and Foxglove, Kweller's grunge group Radish was signed to Mercury Records where they recorded their first official release album, Restraining Bolt (1997), and toured the world--all before Kweller's 16th birthday.
Following the commercial success of Restraining Bolt, Radish recorded a second album which was ultimately passed up by Mercury. The group parted cordially shortly after, leaving Kweller to launch out on his own to Brooklyn, New York.
Kweller's relocation brought not only a change of setting but also a change in his own musical style'”from grunge to anti-folk. His rebirth onto the music scene found him armed with acoustic guitar and back behind the piano (a talent he had picked up and mastered by age 7), opening for well-known acts Evan Dando, Juliana Hatfield, and Dashboard Confessional.
2000 found Kweller debuting a self-issued 'Freak Out, It's Ben Kweller' album that sold well at his shows along the East coast. New and old Kweller fans liked what they heard and 'Freak Out' caught the attention of Dave Matthew's label ATO, who decided to snatch up Kweller and promote his five-track demo 'EP Phone Home' (2001).
The story begins to sound familiar for the new wave of Ben Kweller fans in 2002. 'Sha Sha,' Kweller's first full-length ATO release, burst onto the scene sporting a goofy looking Kweller demonstrating his dental hygiene. But the wacky album cover revealed little of the quirky musical gem inside. Joined by bassist Josh Lattanzi and drummer John Kent, Kweller's 'Sha Sha' is a harrowing tight rope walk suspended between 'piano pop' and 'slacker rock.' Full of the catchy tunes that are the reason the repeat button on our walkmans were created, 'Sha Sha' put Kweller back into the hearts and heads of folks around the U.S. and abroad. His follow up studio album 'On My Way' (2004) will no doubt keep Kweller in the spotlight.
But studio work is not the only reason we adore this Greenville, Texas native. Ben Kweller is well-known for his spunky and entertaining live performance. In fact, his talent has been showcased alongside acts like the Eels, Evan Dando, Jeff Tweedy, Juliana Hatfield, Creeper Lagoon, Kristen Hersh, Guster, Dashboard Confessional, and Death Cab for Cutie. So get off your couches and get to a Kweller show. At the rate this kid is going these early live performances will some day be 'classics.'
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