Ben Darvill (myspace)
Son of Dave A.K.A. Ben Darvill grew up in Winnipeg where he cut his musical teeth busking and playing the clubs with his harmonica. He eventually joined pop stars the Crash Test Dummies and travelled the world with them.
When they parted ways, Ben moved to London, England and began to hone his musical skills into his persona Son of Dave. He's a one man band, blowing his harp, beat boxing, stomping his foot and shaking a rattle all at the same time.
Son of Dave appears Monday at the Winnipeg International Jazz Festival. SCENE was curious to know how Winnipeg is still a part of this ex-pat's life.
What did you take with you when you left Winnipeg?
I took all I needed to make out here in the wider world where Snow is not a constant. I learnt that a sense of community is necessary, even when living in a big city.
Winnipeg has very interesting people. Creative people in Winnipeg can afford to be creative without kissing up to big business to pay the rent, partly because the rent is cheap, and partly because there is a respectable amount of arts funding. The climate also makes people interesting. We learn to provide our own entertainment, and to strive to better ourselves while not being able to do a thing about the very awful weather.
What lesson, philosophy or ethic that you got from Winnipeg, do you share or pass on to other people?
I spread the good word like a religious fanatic on speed with a megaphone. Individualism. Conformity is for squares, Dad, and back home, we keep the squares in line.
What is one thing that Winnipeg has done for your career?
I'd have to say that it generally nurtured me in my younger times (not neutered). There was support, love, hometown pride and praise, as me and my young colleagues learned to survive as musicians. A lot of that came from older dudes. Me, I was brought up in the Blues bars.
What's the one thing that makes the Winnipeg music scene so special?
There is no One Thing that makes the music scene in Winnipeg unique. What makes it special are the Many honest working men and women who dedicate their whole lives to playing music just in Winnipeg to make it an interesting and... musical... place to live. I mean cats like Gilles Fournier who has played bass with literally hundreds of visiting artist like Tito Puente (and Son of Dave). Dave McLean, Gord Kidder, Brent Parkin, and countless others who entertain people every week, slugging it out for decades.
Generations of people have become drunkenly enlightened to their music. It's real top quality local stuff and should never be taken for granted. Just because I do shows in fancy places all over the place doesn't make me any better an entertainer than the people who taught me how to play in the corner bar back home.
Keep Winnipeg Weird and Wonderful. And you might want to plant some palm trees soon...