|   |  2 min read


If the name Ben Ottewell doesn't ring any immediate bells then his gravelly and soulful voice certainly does. He is one of the cornerstone singers in the award-winning British band Gomez who have played exciting shows in New Zealand.

And now Ottewell returns (dates below) for a couple of shows as a solo artist.

He's already released two solo album (Shapes and Shadows, Rattlebag) and promises another soon, and played solo here in 2014.

A compelling performer with a collection of excellent and often intense songs, Ottewell is bringing with him the indie band Buddy out of LA as his opening act.

Ottewell and Gomez have been firm favourites at Elsewhere for many years so it's a pleasure to offer him one of our questionnaires . . .

The first song which really affected you was . . .

I'm sure there were many before but the first song that really got me that I can remember was Ramble On by Led Zeppelin. Its not a lyrical thing, the Mordor section borders on the ridiculous, it was more a sense of the dynamic, the light and shade and its weaving guitar arrangement. I think it made me aware of the possibilities of a band, of how a bass line or beat can be just as integral as the words and melody.

Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .

Michael Jackson and then a little later, but not much, Metallica.

The one songwriter you will always listen to, even if they disappointed you previously, is?

JJ Cale – an odd choice perhaps but I never tire of his simplicity, find it instructive and, again, its more a sense of the whole package, his voice and his playing and song arrangement.

As songwriters: Lennon-McCartney or Jagger-Richards; kd lang or Katy Perry; Madonna or Michael Jackson; Johnny Cash or Kris Kristofferson?

Lennon-McCartney, Katy Perry, Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash.

The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear because they are well crafted are . . .

Purely for the craft -

Graceland – Paul Simon, Sweet Adeline – Eliot Smith, Take me Out – Ryan Adams

101102_MB_LIFEMelody first? Words or phrase first? Simultaneous?


The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .

First half of the Keith Richards' book, Innocent When You Dream, Tom Waits

If you could co-write with anyone it would be . . . 

I'd write with Willie Dixon, record with Tom Waits

The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)

The Dorothy Project by Diagrams

One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you would be . . .

Yesterday -The Beatles

One line (or couplet) from a song -- yours or someone else's -- which you think is just a stone cold winner is . . .

I could drink a case of you and I'd still be on my feet – A Case of You by Joni Mitchell

Songwriting: what's the ratio of inspiration/perspiration?

33% Inspiration, 33% Perspiration, 33% Dumb luck

Ever had a song come to you fully-formed like it dropped into your lap?

The first song I wrote Free to Run

And finally, finish this couplet in any way you like: “Standing at the airport with an empty suitcase at my feet . . .” (You are NOT allowed to rhyme that with “meet” however)

Robbed blind, hands chained, thrown off the plane for insobriety.


with Buddy

San Fran - Wellington - Thursday 22nd June

The Great South Pacific Tuning Fork - Auckland - Friday 23rd June

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   The Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire articles index



We still get excited when New Zealand acts do well overseas – recently Gin and the current coverage of Lorde – but when the Datsuns out of Cambridge made the cover of the NME in late... > Read more

THE ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: APRA Silver Scroll nominee 2013 Cy Winstanley of Tattletale Saints

THE ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: APRA Silver Scroll nominee 2013 Cy Winstanley of Tattletale Saints

The annual APRA Silver Scroll award acknowledges excellence in songwriting, so at Elsewhere we modified our Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire and tailored it to be specifically about the craft of... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

NEU!: NEU! (1971) NEU!2 (1973) NEU! ‘75 (1975)

NEU!: NEU! (1971) NEU!2 (1973) NEU! ‘75 (1975)

Musical innovations can happen by accident or out of necessity: a stoned John Lennon allegedly spooling the tape of Rain into his player the wrong way and discovering the sound of backwards guitars... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Rumer; Seasons of my Soul (Atlantic)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Rumer; Seasons of my Soul (Atlantic)

Although this album was released in the UK in late 2010, it didn't get airspace in New Zealand until some months later -- and therefore qualified as a Best of Elsewhere 2011 album (see the full... > Read more