by Esther Sanchez
On a quiet Palm Springs street dotted with restored, mid-century modern homes mixed in with newer ranch-houses, Coachella Valley native, Ben Crowson (who is also the drummer for CVMA nominated band ‘Right On, Right On!’) has been recording podcasts in his home for about a year now. If you enjoy comedic rants, colorful language, impressions of 1980s wrestlers, varying opinions on spontaneous topics, shenanigans and general nonsense, I highly recommend you check out Live from Uncle Ben’s.
Earlier this year, my band Fearless Moonshiners, performed at Schmidy’s Tavern with ‘Right On, Right On’ which is the first time I met Crowson and his podcasting partner/bandmate, Wesley Gainey. Within minutes of meeting these guys I was struck by their friendliness, wit, intelligence and openness. When Crowson mentioned his podcast and invited me to be a guest I quickly agreed. After some scheduling conflicts over passing weeks, I finally found myself sitting across from Crowson and Gainey in the belly of Uncle Ben’s studio where, to be perfectly honest…..I laughed until it hurt.
Live from Uncle Ben’s is the manifestation of Crowson’s long-time desire to broadcast, which stems from his fondness for opinionated, comedic radio shows and podcasters such as Opie and Anthony and Marc Maron.
Crowson: “The first incarnation of the podcast that I had conceived of in my mind was supposed to be sort of a ‘friends of Ben’ kind of thing. It was supposed to be my show, and every week I was going to bring on some of the characters in my life. Friends, band-members…….whoever. And each week the guests would change.”
Gainey interrupts with a sly grin: “But I kept showing up.”
Now a full-fledged side-kick, Gainey originally began helping Crowson with the technical aspects of podcasting and his role on the show evolved over time. Crowson: “The first one I ever recorded was just me all by myself and it was terrible. Having nobody to reflect off of was not working for me. I would tell a joke and there was silence. I had no idea whether of any of it actually sounded funny or like the ramblings of a psychotic person. That prompted me to invite Wes to join in on the conversation. Together we did six months of podcasts that we never posted online because they weren’t good enough to be posted. I remember thinking the second show we recorded was really good but, listening to it now…..we still had a way to go. We were kind of tame compared to how we are naturally and although the chemistry was there, we were still sort of feeling one another out and finding our flow.”
Gainey: “We had to figure out how to ignore the fact that we were being recorded and get comfortable. Sometimes we have guests on who are extremely aware they are being recorded and develop a weird, radio-character voice. We sort of did that in the beginning as well.”
Crowson: “It was somewhere around the third or fourth time we recorded together when I finally told Wes, ‘Man, I can’t do this without you.’”
Crowson and Gainey are both talented, multi-instrumental musicians who carry an innate sense of pride as part of the respected and ever-evolving music scene in the Coachella Valley. That said, it’s only natural that music is a regular topic of conversation on the show. “We really want to be able to make this show another platform for local musicians to be heard. Laramie Eve, the lovely and talented bassist from Blasting Echo was here with us recently which was great. We want to continue to bring on as many of the great people involved in the local music scene as we can.”
Personally, I had a really great time hanging out with these guys and if podcasts are your thing, there’s is really worth listening to.
Listen to ‘Live from Uncle Ben’s’ featuring yours truly, or any of their archived shows at: