Ben Lee: Friend or Faux?

You remember Ben Lee?  That ugly Australian kid who was like 15 or something and played acoustic guitar and kind of sounded like Jonathan Richman?  The dude who was fucking Claire Danes back when we cared enough about her that that meant something?

Well, orangehairboy and me (thanks dude for letting me write on your shit) actually kind of liked Ben Lee back in the day.  We liked him and yet we didn’t–it didn’t seem that his schtick was that special, yet there was an undeniable charm to his music.  It was kind of moving in its simplicity, with songs about wanting to stay a kid forever, and loving his guitar.  And he did a cover of “Skulls” by the Misfits that didn’t seem schlocky nor retro nor stupid nor degrading–no mean feat for just one man and his acoustic guitar.  And he was one of the few fuckers around whose stuff with his early band wasn’t that hip, yet his solo stuff immediately afterwards was fairly awesome.  Who else can we say that about, that he was better solo than with his original band?  I can’t think of one damn person.

Anyhoo, I looked that fucker up recently, and he’s doing the same maybe-I’m-cool-maybe-I-ain’t shit that always confused me years ago.  Like, he dumped Claire Danes for Ione Skye.  Not even sure whether that’s cool or not.  And he was caught recently on his site talking out his ass about how Laurel Canyon used to be this fucking amazing place in the early seventies for sensitive artists (Urg!  Kill me now!  Manson, take me away!).  Yet he then busted out a version of Graham Nash’s “Our House” that was kind of beautiful.  So there ya go.  Quandry.

You know what it was that tipped the scales in the favor of “Ben Lee is a douchebag?”  It wasn’t how crappy he sounds with a full band (Paul F. Tomkins, you should be ashamed!).  And it wasn’t how he was kinda good but generally lame in that Office Space/I Heart Huckabees/American Beauty knockoff The Rage in Placid Lake a couple years back.  It was that he consulted his fucking guru before he proposed to Ione Skye a couple days ago:

For those of you who are regular readers of this blog, you will understand the intensity of my relationship to Narayani Amma, and can imagine how vital His blessing was to me making this decision. He is more than a spiritual teacher to me, but a reflection of my inner self, a guiding light that has continually led me to deeper self-revelation and peace. In my eyes, it is my devotion to Amma that has brought me the many blessings and my ability to have gratitude for them. The night I asked Amma’s guidance about my relationship was in some ways one of the biggest nights of my life. I knew the answer I hoped to hear, but was prepared for anything. After all, the path of surrender isn’t guaranteed to be easy. They say you get what you need, but that isn’t always what you want. After blabbering through my question, stating my fears of neglecting my career and spiritual path, running through the pros and cons, Amma told me: “The purpose of marriage in human life is to build a family…Marriage will be good for Ben. In the past, Ben has wavered on his path as he didn’t have support. Ione understands his job and profession and can support him. She is spiritually connected to the Divine. There should not be any problem with Ben and Ione… Ben can ask Ione. Amma will bless everything.”

I mean, I guess I should be thankful he’s not a fucking Scientologist, but damn!  John Cusack didn’t need no guru to tell him to date her in Say Anything.  Ben Lee needs to grow musically, and just grow up.


Guided by Voices? Built to Spill? Crappy as Shit!

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