“I was looking for a job in Nashville. I wanted to be close to music, you know? I just wanted to be around it.” When Ben Trimble first moved to Tennessee, he found himself at work in an environment that physically placed him in the center of a literal canon of music. Finding work at the office of a Memphis born music supervisor, Trimble had access to upwards of 60,000 records ranging from the well known to the obscure.
“A lot of the stuff that would be in there that I’d be discovering for the first time, a lot of people had heard. And then also keeping it all on some kind of hard drive…but it was pretty awesome having that many records and being able to flip through them. And in alphabetical order, nonetheless.”
“Growing up I had a Buddy Holly record, it was just a greatest hits. That was one growing up, that had, like,“Tell me love is truuueee” (sings “Words of Love”)…it had those classic pop songs.” Though for Trimble, this early affinity for one of rock’s first composers fueled a student-like discipline towards the medium.
“I used to go to the library and go through records all the time. One I just stumbled upon that I’ve never been able to stop listening to either was the very first B-52s, the self-titled one with “Rock Lobster,” “Dance This Mess Around” and “52 Girl.” That whole record from start to finish is just like, party!…and fun as shit.” Of course, his one-time day job introduced him to a host of records and performers that Trimble remains a fan of to this day. And however short that time may have been, the daily discoveries that it brought him have made it a fond memory to return to.
“And whenever I was doing music supervision, this was four or five years ago, but I never heard T.Rex. Tanx was the first one I heard. Right off the bat the whole, “Dun dun dun da na nuh… I was like “Damn!” That one’s always stuck with me.”
Though he only worked there for a year, the experience provided the working musician unlimited access to a music collection that sonically traced the history of rock and roll. And by organically leading Trimble to expand on the influences of his youth, the archives would be instrumental in exposing him to a virtual collage of limitless sound, a development that would figure prominently in the direction of his next musical project, Fly Golden Eagle. Formed in Nashville in 2007, the band’s sound is as textured and diverse as the monumental record collection Trimble once sifted through. Although to speak to him, it’s clear that the frontman’s creative approach has long been inspired by a compulsion to seek out new sounds, even when inspiration is mined from the unlikeliest of places.
“Lately I’ve been getting into Italian composers, with some spaghetti bleed-over. Like Piero Umiliani was one of them.” Until his death in 2001, Umiliani had a prolific career scoring films, although one in particular caught Trimble’s ear. Unsure of when the album was released, Trimble stated, “it’s from ’71, or maybe like ’69 or something, but it’s called To-day’s Sound. And it is super groovy and fun.”
Another long time favorite is one of Bob Dylan’s most beloved albums: John Wesley Harding. Featuring the Band and a host of other notable session performers, Trimble stated that he “can’t stop listening to John Wesley Harding.”
“After going through the whole Dylan catalogue, I got that on vinyl at some record store. And then come to find out there was a lot of dudes from the Wrecking Crew in LA…they formed a band in the seventies called 615, and they played on Nashville Skyline and all the national records. John Wesley Harding is sort of what they ended up doing when they formed their own band with super tight drums and bass…I can’t stop listening to that one.”
In direct contrast to the stripped down folk of John Wesley Harding, was the music coming out of London in the late 1960s. The Beatles and Pink Floyd are often celebrated for their groundbreaking use of psychedelic influences, although there were many bands charting their own course in those same waters. One of those bands, the Pretty Things, bears the distinction of being a former band of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Though they eventually left to join Brian Jones’ group, the Rolling Stones, the Pretty Things carried on making music. And just like the Stones, they are active to this day.
“Have you listened to the Pretty Things?”
“The earlier records were super garage-y, and fun…at the same time SGT. Pepper was being recorded at Abbey Road, Pink Floyd was doing The Piper At The Gates of Dawn, and at the same time Pretty Things was doing this record called S.F. of Sorrow, which is what some people consider the first rock opera. It has this really crazy narrative about a kid trying to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in a balloon. But that whole record is called S.F. of Sorrow and it’s the same color palette as SGT. Pepper and Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and one of the engineers for SGT. Pepper was the producer for this. But it is awesome. One of my favorite tracks on it is this song called “Balloon Burning,” which is actually about when he makes it all the way to New York from London in that hot air balloon. And as he’s coming to the coast, it catches on fire- it blows up the balloon (laughs).”
Fly Golden Eagle’s October release, Quartz, is a twenty-six song collection that was partly influenced by the 1973 film, The Holy Mountain. An avant-garde movie partly funded by John Lennon and George Harrison, Trimble came across it online. After seeing the film’s preview, he watched it three times in a row and was absolutely “floored.” A direct reflection of the scope and ambition of their music, Fly Golden Eagle’s new record is as memorable and expansive as Trimble’s own influences. Though like so many other things, it’s existence can be traced back to one unshakable influence. In this case, it was a film that Trimble couldn’t stop watching.
“It lends itself to all these sonic things in your head. And so I started working with those and it just became a catalyst- as much a part of the record as an eight-track recorder we got…it just became part of the process. But the movie is really a powerful piece of art.”
Don’t Miss Fly Golden Eagle with J. Roddy Walston and the Business
New York- 11/7 at Stage 48
Philadelphia- 11/8 at the Theater of Living Arts
Article by: Caitlin Phillips