On October 29th at the Chevrolet Center in Ohio — where he joined the Beastie Boys on the Swing State Voter Awareness Tour — Ben Harper debuted a whole new band.
“It’s called Relentless7,” Ben exclusively tells the S.S. “It’s just a name that has been kicking around in my consciousness. I always said that if I got another band together, I’m gonna call them Relentless7.”
In Ohio, the four-piece — with guitarist Jason Mozersky, drummer Jordan Richardson and bassist Jesse Ingalls — debuted new songs like “Fly One Time,” “The Word Suicide” and “Lay There and Hate Me” that will eventually appear on their debut album, White Lies for Dark Times (due next May).
From the Village Studios in Santa Monica, CA — where he’s currently mixing the album — Harper reports that the band’s story dates back more than ten years. On August 22, 1998, Harper was in the middle of the HORDE Tour, on his way to a gig in Austin. “The guy driving the van on the way to the gig said, ‘Hey Ben, do you mind if I play you my band’s demo,” he says. “But when you’re about to hit the stage, you either want to hear no music, or music you choose, so I was like, ‘Y’know, man, I don’t mean to offend you…”
Then Ben felt bad. He told the driver, the singer from a band called Wan Santo Condo, to go ahead and play the demo.
“The guy put in the demo and I was plastered to the back of the van,” says Harper. “It was so good.”
Harper scored the band a record deal, and remained extremely tight with their guitarist, Jason Mozersky.
Fast forward to 2005. While Harper was recording his double-disc, Both Sides of the Gun, he invited Mozersky to lay down a guitar part on “Please Don’t Talk About Murder While I’m Eating.” Mozersky told Harper about a couple of his old musician buddies from Austin, who had recently relocated to Los Angeles with their band, Oliver Future. “He was talkin’ up his boys and I was like, ‘I’ll take your word on it,'” says Harper. “Per his description of these cats, I had the right song for them.” The next day Mozersky returned with Richardson and Ingalls, and together they laid down “Serve Your Soul.” “In that moment I knew I’d be hooking back up with these guy at some point,” he says. “And we did it.
“It’s absolute, unapologetic rock music,” says Harper. “It’s rock music from the places that you want rock to be from. There’s some Queen in there, and some Floyd-isms, and there’s a good dose of Blues and Soul.”
Relentless7 are gearing up for some lo-pro club shows in L.A. and New York in December, perhaps at tiny places like the Mint, or the Mercury Lounge.
The million dollar question is what happens to the Innocent Criminals, Harper’s backing band?
“Dude, I’ve been with the Innocent Criminals a long time, and I’ll always be with the Innocent Criminals,” he says. “And everything I do now helps further what I do with them. But for the moment, it’s just time to do something else.”
Next Relentless7’s tour dates:
Dec 3 2008 – Belly Up Tavern – Solana Beach, CA – 21+ TIX | WEB