Musician, Archivist, Psychedelic Stooge
Ben Blackwell is a drummer for the Detroit band The Dirtbombs and owner & operator of Cass Records, releasing titles from The Mooney Suzuki, Whirlwind Heat, Kelley Stoltz, The Go, Black Lips and more. He is also the "Psychedelic Stooge" of Third Man Records, overseeing the label's operations and record production. Additionally, Ben oversees Third Man's initiative School Choirs & Bands at Third Man: A Vinyl Recording Experience which the label describes as "a one-of-a-kind program offering students behind-the-scenes access to Jack White's Third Man Records in Nashville, TN, as well as the chance to record their own 45 rpm vinyl records." Ben is also credited as the official archivist for The White Stripes and runs a blog named after his Fidelity High: Jonathan Fire Eater // Tremble Under Boom Lights // Medicine Label // 1996. Ben says, “Tremble Under Boom Lights by Jonathan Fire Eater was the first record I’d ever heard that tickled the feeling of 'Wait…why isn’t everyone talking about how good this is?' I was probably 19-years-old, five years after it’d been released, turned on by dear friend Eddie Baranek (of the Sights) and took the opportunity to wrap myself in everything I could about Jonathan Fire Eater and this album specifically. Stewart Lupton’s lyrics hit me as so vivid, so cinematic, so colorful. Pink rubber swimming caps and silver curls is the basis of a painting I imagine often but will never create. Matt Barrick is undoubtedly the most underrated drummer I’ve ever had the privilege of hearing/seeing, truly thinking and playing on a different level from everyone else out there. Paul Maroon’s guitar is so simply sparse yet room-filling. A song like 'The Search for Cherry Red' is burned into my DNA, memorized backwards and forwards, shouted at moments when I’ve been able to grab the mic in Dirtbombs mayhem and I’d be lying if I could begin to even explain what it’s about. The ability to interpret…that’s what makes me love this record. I could write about these guys for thousands more words, but I’ll just end by saying that it’s high time more folks are aware of how devastating Tremble Under Boom Lights still is twenty years later."