The spring season begins with a roar – Benjamin Scheuer’s roar to be exact. In The Lion, Scheuer bears his soul on the stage of the Lynn Redgrave Theater. His supporting characters are six guitars, each one giving a distinct color to his original songs and providing incredible nuance to Scheuer’s inspiring journey. A master musician, honest lyricist, and brilliant storyteller, he has touched audiences around the world, garnering a loyal and enthusiastic fan base both in England and in the United States. We are very excited to have Benjamin Scheuer back in New York and honored to have him On the Couch this week! Don’t miss The Lion playing at the Lynn Redgrave Theater at Culture Project beginning February 3rd.
What was your proudest moment?
I played a solo set at the Royal Albert Hall in London when I was touring with American folk artist Mary Chapin Carpenter this past fall. My mother is from London, and when I was a teenager I lived in London. I always fantasized about playing at the Royal Albert Hall. So to sit on that stage and play a solo set? That was a real dream come true.
What is your favorite drink and favorite food?
A bowl of pasta and a bottle of Brunello wine at an outdoor restaurant in Italy. Dem’s my favorite food and drink and place.
What is your favorite condiment?
Van Halen. (They’re a condiment, right?)
What is your current obsession?
Men’s tailoring is long-standing interest of mine. I love beautiful suits; I admire the workmanship involved. Suit-making is very much like songwriting – getting the shape right, the structure right (fabric, cut), and then working out the little details (buttons, thread for the button holes). The suits I wear to perform are cut asymmetrically because they’re cut for me to play guitar. Here’s what I mean: orchestra conductors wave their arms around and their jackets fit perfectly the whole time. That takes a good tailor. It began with military tailoring; tailors had to figure out how freedom of movement could be kept while firing a gun. Getting suits made is an endless vice; there’s always another gorgeous fabric. A heavy gold winter tweed, a brash party purple. The suits I wear in The Lion are made by Kirk Miller at Miller's Oath in NYC.
What is the one professional accomplishment you long for most?
I hope to continue to work with people who are more experienced than I am, better than I am, and smarter than I am. It’s really the best way to learn, and the best way to have fun. These are people who’ve already screwed up lots of stuff – thus they have lots of wisdom. I admire Rufus Wainwright's songwriting, and I'd love to have an opportunity to work with him. It would be great to work with Eminem, my favorite lyricist and a super funny dude. I'd be glad to work with Trent Reznor who is extraordinarily accomplished as a composer, rock and roller, sound designer, studio creator, and maker-of-live-entertainment.
What do you consider to be the single greatest threat to your health?
Well, cancer. Which I had. And beat. That was a pretty serious threat to my health. I wasn’t so keen on cancer.
What is the single best trait you inherited or learned from your parents?
My father taught me how to play the guitar. I’m glad for that one. My mother is a painter and has an extraordinary eye and memory for color. I’ve learned a lot about visual art from her.
What in the world most thrills you?
Buy me a drink and maybe I’ll tell you.
What current trend in popular culture most irritates you?
I think hashtags are pretty hilarious. Geoff Kraly, my record producer, with whom I’m working on the album “Songs from The Lion”, likes to hashtag things that have nothing to do with anything at all. #Bream
What was the single most embarrassing moment you’ve ever experienced on the job?
It’s more of an after-the-fact should-be-embarrassed-but-really-I’m-not. In college I sang in a funk band called FINK FANK FUNK with a five piece horn section, bass, drums, keys, guitar. I had my belly button pierced and my hair was long and blond. For most performances I’d wear women’s clothes and make-up. When I’d head to class the next morning I’d very often not bother to wash off my makeup, or change my clothes. Oh, and I’d carry around my stuffed animal puppy, Gibson.
What is the most importance trait you seek in a romantic partner?
Do you prefer the company of dogs or cats?
I like big dogs and big cats. St. Bernards, Labradors. And lions, of course. I’ve never been on a safari, and I’d really love to go one day to see some real lions in the wild. Maybe Tanzania? My pal Mimi is from Tanzania. MIMI! IF YOU’RE READING THIS, GIVE ME SOME SAFARI TIPS!
What would have to happen to make today the best day of your life?
I’m a pretty happy guy. Today’s been wonderful already. I had lunch with my grandmother (I’m in London as I type the answers to these questions). Then I bought a tie for Sean Daniels, the director of The Lion. We buy each other ties to celebrate things. This new tie is to celebrate The Lion opening back up in NYC this February. At a theatre on Bleecker Street, no less! I used to play at the famous Bleecker Street rock club CBGB. This was back before the NYC smoking ban, and back when I had blue hair. My father’s father, then around 92 years old, came to a gig I played there and sat with the punks. After the show, he told me that he decided to come after he read in the newspaper that the show was “All Ages.”