Ben Miller Band

Ben Miller Band

Biography

Ben Miller Band is a one-of-a kind trio that combines the frenetic energy of bluegrass, the soul of the delta blues and the haunted spirit of Appalachian mountain music into a unique stew they dub "Ozark Stomp." The threesome, hailing from Joplin, Missouri, caught the attention of the label with their rowdy and ragged live show which sees the band armed with their arsenal of lo- tech, largely self-built instruments: singer-songwriter Ben Miller's thrift-shop guitars and banjos, bassist Scott Leeper's one-string washtub bass, and multi-instrumentalist/ drummer Doug Dicharry's various musical ammo, which includes trombone, trumpet, mandolin, electric washboard and electric spoons.

 

Since forming in 2004, the hard-working unit has been turning heads and amassing a growing fan base through old-fashioned ingenuity and an unstinting work ethic of playing live as much as possible. They have generated a national buzz that has resulted in glowing press and high- profile touring with ZZ Top, thanks to the enthusiastic patronage of avowed fan Billy Gibbons. The legendary musician enlisted the band as main support on their 2013 North American tour, which resulted in Radio.com exclaiming: "When they finished their 40-minute set, they got the most rare rewards for unknown opening bands: a full-on standing ovation from an audience who were mostly unfamiliar with them." They also supported ZZ Top across Europe where they wowed unfamiliar crowds on stages in large halls and arenas, including a triumphant set at the fabled Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. 

 

Poet and songwriter since childhood, Ben Miller started playing guitar at age 16. He soon left his home in Curlew, Washington and began his musical career on the streets of Northern Europe, playing his distinctive delta-blues slide guitar and honing his one-man-band performance style which now includes guitar, banjo, harmonica, and foot percussion. Armed with a plethora of earthy songs about prostitutes, meth, scriptures, and the meaning of life, he met Scott and Doug in Joplin, Missouri and formed the Ben Miller Band in 2004.

 

Washtub bass player, Scott Leeper started playing drums at age 7 and by age 10 he was wowing audiences in his family’s band, The Leeper’s. Throughout his career Scott has played in a duo with his brother, performed as a one-man country act, and played drums for various blues artists. Finally, in 2004, Scott began playing the one-stringed washtub bass and singing backup vocals with pitch-perfect harmony for The Ben Miller Band. Comprised of a weed eater string attached to a wooden pole, this is not your ordinary bass. "Playing that thing may sound simple but it is deceptively difficult," says Ben of his musical comrade. “You have to adjust the tension to change the note. It is incredible to watch him do it. We always have a few bass players right up on him in complete disbelief.”

 

Drummer and percussionist Doug Dicharry started playing trombone in the 6th grade and continued to study music throughout his college years. As an Air Force brat growing up, Doug moved across the globe every two years. During this time he assimilated an array of musical styles, from punk to ska, to progressive noise and school marching bands. In high school, he began playing trombone in various bands while teaching himself to play the drums. In 2004 he picked up the washboard, and with a bit of homemade ingenuity, made it electric. During that time, he met Ben at an open mic night in Joplin, Missouri and “followed him until he had to hire him.” Now Doug plays drums, trombone, trumpet, mandolin, percussion, electric washboard, and electric spoons for the Ben Miller Band. "I basically have musical A.D.D," says Dicharry. "Playing all these instruments isn’t hard, it’s just loading them in and out that’s hard. I feel sorry for whoever becomes my tech."

 

Despite the eccentric and out-of-the-box appearance of The Ben Miller Band, "we're not some kind of gimmick band," says Ben Miller. "Just because we use junk to make music doesn't mean we aren't serious about it. We are legitimately making real music, and when you hear us play I think you get that."