Ben Miller Band. Fan, I am.

by Dilly Brigs / 974 days ago / Comments

At the historic Slidebar Rock-N-Roll Kitchen in Downtown Fullerton, California, October 7, 2015, the BEN MILLER BAND was getting set to perform in a quaint back room. Peering in around the corner, I see just a few people busily moving about. Doug Dicharry, one of the three musicians who make up the band, was one of those people.

Introducing myself, I enter and inquire, “Hi... Just setting up?” I know.  Obvious question, but I had to say something. Doug was so kind.  He immediately invited me in and continued moving about. So I introduced myself and our amazing Center Stage Magazine, and we begin to chat.

Doug begins by giving me the background scoop on this trio. The three of them have been playing together for 12 years now and not only do they play a long list of instruments, they also fashion many of their own instruments themselves. Quickly he hops up on stage and retrieves his Electric Spoons to give me an idea of what a hand-made instrument looks like. Then he plays a little ditty with them by slapping them between his knees and his hands... Instantly, the talent of this artist becomes evident.

Doug continues by sharing, “We used to get our spoons at Cracker Barrel (Restaurant)", which makes me giggle, “but then a man in Germany showed me how to cork it better." He shows me how he has fastened a set together with a hollowed-out metal center plug cork set in-between the tightly wound spoons. Doug actually handed me his Electric Spoons to try them out myself. At the risk of sounding like a train wreck in front of their fans, I was allowed the opportunity to grasp this instrument in my very own hands! Ha, ha, ha. Fans, you say?  Oh yes!  These guys have impassioned fans!! In the moment, I could visualize a crazed crowd pushing me out of the way for such an opportunity. Fans travel for miles just to see the BEN MILLER BAND (BMB). No joke! So yeah, these guys are legit, and getting this chance was really cool.

A short while later, I leave Doug to his business to join the fans waiting back in the starlit patio room. Scanning like a hawk, I am anticipating seeing and hearing more from the fans. It didn't take long. Two gentlemen sitting next to me at the end of the bar were excitedly talking about The BMB and anxiously wondering aloud if the band would go onstage soon. I decided to chime in and tell them they should be starting soon, then I ask, “Have you seen them in concert before?” One of the gentlemen, Sean, says he has seen The BMB twice now and brought his friend this time because he was certain his comrade would love their sound. He says, “Ben sings with just so much soul!” A wonderful accolade, (and by the way, TOTALLY true). Then he says, “You should find the tall man in the cowboy hat. I heard he's come from Switzerland for this show.”

We heard the band warming up. With drinks in hand, ready to have a good time, myself included, we made our way near the stage. I picked out the tall gentleman Sean mentioned and approached him. I quickly learned that his name is Patrick. He became a fan having seen The BEN MILLER BAND twice before at festivals in Switzerland. He said he absolutely loved their music so much that when he heard they were playing at The Slidebar in Fullerton, he decided just had to go and see them there. 

Their music has an effect on folks whose ears have the distinct pleasure of hearing them play. If I were to doubt that, I would have certainly been turned into a believer at the sight of the two attractive young ladies (pictured), who cozied themselves into the only one-sided seat-table, their eager faces full of anticipation. Naturally, my curiosity was piqued, so I decided to mozy on over and get the scoop on them. They said they hadn’t seen the band before that night. The tall chestnut-haired gal, Nikki Wibbenmeyer, explained she is originally from St. Louis, Missouri, but now resides in Costa Mesa (a few miles from the venue). Her fair-headed friend, Carol Mae Pounds, had only been in California for a month. So these two lovely ladies were looking for some fun when they came across the announcement that The BEN MILLER BAND would be playing in Fullerton. They found a social app called Bandsintown, and that is how their paths crossed with The BMB. Being from Missouri, Nikki knew the music style and she figured Carol would love it.  Bluesy country music in SoCal?  Yes please! Their excitement for the show along with all the preceding fan-buzz had heightened my anticipation all the more.

The music started billowing from the speakers as Ben lead the Band and I am immediately blown away. The deep, soulful melodies flowing from this uber-talented was like a blanket of Bluegrass had comfortingly covered the entire audience. As their music hit my ears, I immediately felt at home, right down to my core. Doug Dicharry and Scott Leeper joined Ben and it was unreal to see the fans so moved to dance, but not with a sway... no, people were enthralled with the mood coming from these artist’s instruments, and I saw more than a few break out into full-blown dancing and twirling. It was a grand old sight to see. Ben's smooth, melodic tone took over the room and I was awed at his stage presence. He had such untold passion evident in his every note, lyric and sway, fans couldn’t help but get caught in the moment.

The electric, lit-up washboard that Doug handmade and played onstage was unbelievably cool! The various sounds he was able to make erupt from it was nothing short of awe-inspiring. The multi-colored lights rising from that instrument added a hyperbole of brilliance to their stage presence that you can only truly fathom by being present at a live performance. To put it in equivalent terms, The BEN MILLER BAND = WOW Factor, CATEGORICALLY!

To add an interesting twist, Doug later brought out a Trombone adding a jazzed up sound which totally made it their own unique sound. I was not the only fan saying, “Can I get a seat in the Horn section please?!” HOT DAMN! Doug’s musical abilities were astounding! The crowd that gathered around was stunned as he made that Trombone croon and roar. You can see what I mean for yourself by clicking the video link.

After the show, I was finally able to sit and speak with the whole band. With Scott sitting at the opposite end of the table, Ben and Doug nearby, they began revealing quick stories. Doug started in with a funny story about his girlfriend. Telling me how her gentleness, with such a sweet, soothing voice, has put them in a bind at home on account of dog behavior issues. You can listen in on this story in our audio interview. When I asked about their musical influence, at the top of the list were the likes of ZZ TOP and other amazing legends. They definitely give credit where credit is due. They also recently opened for Atlanta’s own Southern Rock natives, Blackberry Smoke.  Another group they recommended I check out is the British-born blues band, The Temperance Movement.  They definitely have a great ear for talent as evidenced with these gifted bands!

The amazing BEN MILLER BAND had this crowd eating out of their hands, begging for more.  But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. And though I have heard their music before, to see them live and so up close was truly a privilege.

Missy Wolf was scheduled to host this interview but was unable to make it.  Had she not encouraged me to take this opportunity, I may have missed this evening. Ben and Doug were so gracious during the interview and made me feel at ease, being that I was a bit nervous. I left feeling amazed, inspired, and undeniably could have stayed for more BEN MILLER BAND! Fan? You bet I am! If you get the chance, check them out.  No doubt you’ll become an instant fan as well.

Oh, and if you listen closely to the audio piece, about mid-interview, you hear a whimsical sound. Then you hear Ben Miller confess, “Don't worry about that. That was just a hot girl walking by.” HA! His musical talents are so unique, even his whistle mimics Jazz!

THE BEN MILLER BAND, a must-see and take-note trio.  These guys are heading straight to the top.

Now, go check out our On the Spot Talk!





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About Dilly Brigs

Dilly Brigs Journalist

I am a Funny Cali girl, who grew up being part of a band family of friends (VISITOR) since I was a teen, so I'm no stranger when it comes to the music scene. Though I've held many job titles from, certified florist to writing pitches for sales companies, my career goals changed when I became a mother to a child affected with Autism and Epilepsy. I have since turned my hobby of seeing, sanity saving entertainment and my love of writing into a career. I studied and earned my writing degree with the Institute Of Children's Literature in West Redding, CT.  and later I was recommended and offered the opportunity to continue my studies with their sister school, The Long Ridge Writers Group, also in West Redding, CT. learning to write in adult genre as well. I am proud to now be a writer for Center Stage Magazine and I look forward to bringing the best of the entertainment scene to you.... Our awesome readers, who make this all possible! Thanks for reading