Hustlenomics

My Song Stories: Ben Blackwell of Jack White’s Third Man Records [INTERVIEW]

AJM5933 Digest-Hard-Cover(5)Music shapes our identities and changes our lives. It brings back our memories and stirs up our emotions. My Song Stories asks music professionals and indie artists questions about the songs in their libraries. Today, Ben Blackwell, an indie musician and co-founder of Third Man Records, shares the artists and songs that have impacted his life and career.

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By Kyle Bylin, author of Song StoriesBen Blackwell

Who are you and what do you do?

I am Ben Blackwell of Third Man Records. I mess around with vinyl records. I play tricks. I hate belt-driven turntables.

What song have you most recently played non-stop or on repeat?

Ranch Ghost – “Sugar and Milk” 

What song most compels you to sing along when it plays?

Slick Rick – “La Di Da Di”

What song do you play when you need to feel motivated or inspired?

Black Sabbath – “War Pigs”

What song are you most embarrassed to admit that you enjoy?

I’m embarrassed by nothing.

What song in your library has developed a personal or deeper meaning?

“Destroyers and Drones” by Kelley Stoltz has an immeasurable ability to make me break down into tears. I sing it to my daughter at bed time. She sang it back to me a few weeks ago … and I broke into a whole new set of tears.

What artists most influenced you when you were a teenager?

1) Nirvana – “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter”
2) The White Stripes – “I’m Finding It Harder to Be a Gentleman”
3) The Gories – “Baby Say Unh!”
4) The Stooges – “1970”

What year did you graduate from high school?

2000

What were your favorite activities or hobbies in high school?

I was committed to the music.

What five artists best represent your favorite music today?

1) The Keggs – “To Find Out”
2) Ted Lucas – “Plain and Sane and Simple Melody”
3) Death – “Politicians in My Eyes”
4) Innerzone Orchestra – “Bug in the Bass Bin”
5) Nick and the Jaguars – “Ich-i-Bon #1” 

What is your most prized music possession or memorabilia?

The registration to the Hentchmen’s tour van.

How would you describe music’s role or importance in your life?

There is no substitute.

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Kyle Bylin is the author of Song Stories: Music That Shaped Our Identities and Changed Our Lives, a collection of essays about songs that impacted people’s lives. Read an excerpt here.