Five minutes alone with Orange Goblin's Ben Ward

A picture of Ben Ward of Orange Goblin on stage

Thanks for starting the campaign to raise money for us former TeamRock staffers! Why did you do it?

Ben Ward: “I didn’t see it as doing anything out of the ordinary. A lot of people who worked at TeamRock are people I consider friends. When it became clear everyone had been laid off and there was no pay, me and my girlfriend just said, ‘What can we do to help? These people are going to have a shit Christmas.’ So we set up a JustGiving page.”

Did you expect it to take off the way it did?

“The whole thing kicked off a lot more than I expected. We initially set the target for £20,000, and we thought that was a little bit optimistic. The next morning, it had gone crazy. Then Tom Brumpton at Polymath PR contacted the press – he even got in touch with people like the Archbishop of Canterbury! And it spread like wildfire. All of a sudden, all these bands similar to Orange Goblin and bigger started getting behind it, like Avenged Sevenfold, Black Stone Cherry, Frank Turner, Rush and Queen. It was an incredible outpouring of love.”

Did it make life a bit crazy for you as well?

“After a while, I stopped talking to the press, because I didn’t want to turn this into being about me. It’s not about me – it’s about the staff. But it was bizarre, really. All of a sudden, these people that were not rock and metal types were trying to get in touch to discuss it. My mum loved it, obviously – I was sending her all these clippings from the Evening Standard and links to The Guardian. She thought it was amazing!”

Why did you decide to organise a benefit show in London, too? And how was it?

“Josh [Retallick] at the Black Heart asked us, so we quickly threw together an idea to do the show on January 5. It was quite emotional. The tickets sold out in 11 minutes. I’ve gotta say a big thank you to the Black Heart and Josh for organising it all, and the guys in Steak for supporting and helping us with a backline.”

What was your standout moment of the gig?

“I can’t really recall – I think I’d had a few by then! But just to see that many people that supportive of this scene, and what TeamRock had done within this scene. And it’s not just for me and Orange Goblin personally, it’s friends’ bands and friends of friends’ bands, and the support they’ve given everyone from Metallica and Iron Maiden, right through to the grassroots level of all these new bands that are coming through the underground now. Aside from Orange Goblin, I work as a booking agent, and the staff I work with all said the same – the UK rock press are what we need in our jobs as agents, to get these bands off the ground. Without having that media to expose those bands to a wider audience, we’re not going to find the next headliners.”

So tell us: what’s next for Orange Goblin?

“Well, it’s been 20 years since our debut album came out [Frequencies From Planet Ten], and we’ve been asked to do some shows to celebrate that, but we’re still discussing it. We’ve also got dates in Stockholm and Finland, and festivals booked throughout summer. But just one-offs, nothing too strenuous. When you get to our age, it’s a nice way to do things!”

ORANGE GOBLIN’S LATEST ALBUM, APPROPRIATELY FOR US CALLED BACK FROM THE ABYSS, IS OUT NOW VIA CANDLELIGHT

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