With a new album being released in June and several tour dates to coincide with it, singer-songwriter Ben Montague undergoes one of Pete Sargeant’s customised 20 questions…
- Name a piece of music you like to dance to (Track/Artist/Source Album)
I was just having a little boogie to Should Be Dancing by the Bee Gees off of Saturday Night Fever…but then again it was on the radio when I woke up!
- How important is social media and crowd-funding platforms e.g. Pledge Music Indigogo etc in today’s music industry?
VERY!! Artists are now in a position to build their own fan base and service them with music on a regular basis with out having to rely on record labels money. Meaning if fans want a new album , through things like pledge and crowd funding you can create them. It is a beautiful way for artists to continually connect with their fan base.
- Do you have any favoured stage guitars?
I sure do…I play a Froggy Bottom D14 (dreadnought) in Adirondack spruce and Indian Rosewood .. she is a beauty!
- Tell me about your new ‘Ben Montague – Live From the Road’ album
I have always wanted to release a live album. I found some recordings sound engineers had recorded of me on the road and so I put a collection together.
- What was the first gig you ever went to? Where was it?
At the school band competition when I saw 15 years old. I sung Oasis ‘Supersonic’ …. We lost! haha
- Who’s in your current touring line up?
Ben Montague and my little stomp box! Hahah .. I sometimes go out on stage with my drummer Jonty!
- Do you prefer intimate club shows, large venues e.g. arenas/stadiums or festivals and why?
I love them all. Small gigs are more intimate and enable you to really connect with a crowd but I love getting a big crowd going. Both are a lot of fun!
- You co-own an acclaimed custom guitar business, The North American Guitar in Fulham, London with your father Robert Montague CBE. What is that side of your life like and have you ever made a guitar from scratch? If so, was it for you or for someone else?
Oh god no…I am terrible at DIY. I cant even put up a picture! My dad and I started the company as we both love guitars. The business is very exciting and I am very lucky to be able to meet the incredible Luthiers (guitar builders) who make the guitars. They are the finest instruments in the world.
- What can people expect from your new studio album ‘Back To Paradise’?
A very real and emotional album! It is all about falling down and picking yourself up again. I went through some interesting times in 2013 and it definitely made me stronger and a lot wiser. It is an album I am incredible proud of.
- You will be going on an extensive UK tour in October. Are there any venues on the tour you’ve never played before?
Yes Sneaky Petes in Edinburgh and the Ruby Lounge in Manchester.
- John Mayer or John Renbourn? (Say something about both)
John Mayer is a huge inspiration to me. Room for Squares is one of my favourite albums. Absolutely love his lyrics and song writing. Don’t think there are enough hours in the day to become the guitar player he is…I will keep practicing!
John Renbourne what a hero! ‘I Know My Babe’ is such a great song! So very sad he passed recently. What phenomenal finger style guitar player and songwriter.
- Favourite John Lennon track and why do you choose this one?
Jealous Guy – one of the most honest and powerful love songs ever written. I love how he is basically admitting to being an insecure love sick fool. Who has obviously just said or done something wrong to Yoko and wishes he hadn’t said it. I can relate to that!
- Suggest a favourtite live album and what particular tracks you would recommend
Cream Live at Winterland! Cos ‘Crossroads’ is the best live recording of all time! That’s a big statement isn’t it! Haha!
- Five tips for a gigging guitar player (ours is take a spare guitar)
Hahah .. yes always take a spare guitar! Too many times I have had a string break or pick up fail on stage!
Always restring your guitar regularly!
Know your gear! As simple as it maybe .. know how to get the best out of it.
Have spare picks & leads! One might fail at any time.
BE NICE TO THE SOUND ENGINEER! That is rule number one! Make him your best friend and you will get a good sound!
- Do you play with or without a plectrum?
With! Sometimes with out but mainly with.
- What is the best piece of advice you’ve received since you’ve been in the music industry?
From Kelly Jones .. play every gig you can get! Their will always be at least one person who likes your music!
- What’s your favourite track on the new album?
My favourite track is ‘Another Chance’ and that is my new single.
- You’ve been fortunate enough to join people such as Shane Filan, Amy MacDonald, The Wanted, Boyzone and Wet Wet Wet to name a few on tour over the years. Do you have a memory type scrapbook at all which catalogues all of these key events in your career?
I do actually. I also keep all the AAA passes and have them hanging on a book case at my house! Thank god for Facebook as so many fans have but up wicked pictures from all those shows! Amazing memories, I am a very lucky guy!
- Name a piece of music that makes you laugh (intentionally or otherwise)
Lumberjack song! Best comedy song of all time! Laugh just thinking about it.
- Do you have a favourite book you would like to do the score to?
Kill Your Friends by John Niven. Dark Dark music industry book but very funny in places and a great read!
Ben Montague’s new album ‘Back Into Paradise’ is released on Monday 15th June 2015 on Absolute Label Services. In addition Ben will be extensively touring the UK this year on the following dates:
Thursday 11th June- Isle Of Wight Festival, Newport, Isle of Wight, United Kingdom www.isleofwightfestival.com/
Saturday 13th June- (Supporting Boyzone) Scarborough Open Air Theatre, Scarborough, United Kingdom www.scarboroughopenairtheatre.com/event/boyzone-2015/
Tuesday 16th June- (Supporting Suzanne Vega), Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, United Kingdom www.liverpoolphil.com/16183/events-contemporary-music/suzanne-vega.html
Wednesday 17th June- (Supporting Suzanne Vega), Colston Hall, Bristol, United Kingdom www.colstonhall.org/shows/suzanne-vega-2/
Thursday 18th June- (Supporting Suzanne Vega), Union Chapel, London, United Kingdom www.store.unionchapel.org.uk/events/18-jun-15-suzanne-vega-union-chapel/
Friday 19th June- (Supporting Suzanne Vega), Cadogan Hall, London, United Kingdom www.cadoganhall.com/event/suzanne-vega-150619/
Sunday 21st June- (Supporting Suzanne Vega), Anvil Arts, Basingstoke, United Kingdom www.anvilarts.org.uk/whats-on/suzanne-vega
Monday 22nd June- (Supporting Suzanne Vega), Birmingham Town Hall, Birmingham, United Kingdom www.thsh.co.uk/event/suzanne-vega/
Thursday 1st October- (Headline Show), St Pancras Old Church, London, United Kingdom www.ents24.com/london-events/st-pancras-old-church/ben-montague/4243115
Friday 2nd October- (Headline Show), Mr Kyps, Poole, United Kingdom www.mrkyps.net/events/event-341.html
Sunday 4th October- (Headline Show), The Brook, Southampton, United Kingdom www.the-brook.com/?p=8437
Thursday 8th October- (Headline Show), The Cluny 2, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom www.thecluny.com/listing/ben-montague-cluny-2-0
Friday 9th October- (Headline Show), Sneaky Petes, Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom www.sneakypetes.co.uk/
Saturday 1oth October- (Headline Show), King Tuts, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom www.kingtuts.co.uk/gig-info/?gig=6264
Sunday 11th October- (Headline Show), The Ruby Lounge, Manchester, United Kingdom www.therubylounge.com/index.php/shows/ben-montague
Thursday 15th October- (Headline Show), The Junction, Cambridge, United Kingdom www.junction.co.uk/ben-montague
Saturday 17th October- (Headline Show), Chequer Mead, East Grinstead, United Kingdom www.chequermead.org.uk/whats-on/theatre/event/?e=287722&cat=
Thursday 22nd October- (Headline Show), The Vic, Swindon, United Kingdom www.thevicswindon.com/get/events
Friday 23rd October- (Headline Show), Glee Club, Birmingham, United Kingdom www.glee.co.uk/live-music/#filters
Saturday 24th October- (Headline Show) The Louisiana, Bristol, United Kingdom www.thelouisiana.net/events/24-oct-15-ben-montague-the-louisiana/
Sunday 25th October- (Headline Show) The Musician, Leicester, United Kingdom www.themusicianpub.co.uk/listings.html
For more information and to buy Ben’s new album visit: www.benmontague.co.uk