Ben Harper: They gave me ‘door money’ - I thought they’d sold venue door

Ben Harper
Ben Harper

Ben Harper has recalled his confusion the first time he was given his share of ticket income from a concert – because he believed the venue entrance had been sold to pay him.

He’s currently touring in support of Call It What It Is, his first album with the Innocent Criminals since 2007’s Grammy-nominated Lifeline.

Harper tells BluesMagazine.nl: “When I was around 19 or 20 I’d go out and do open-mic nights. I had about 10 stock blues songs, just me and guitar. It was a real learning curve.

“I played a gig at an old church, and the guy running it came to me a few days later and gave me $200. I asked him what it was for. When he told me it was my share of the door money, I thought he’d sold the church door.

“I was a bit shocked, thinking, ‘You didn’t have to sell the old church door to pay me!’”

But he adds: “It made me think of the possibilities. About one year later I was called up and asked to go on the tour with Taj Mahal.”

Harper states he’s never looked back. “I probably do about 60 or 70 shows a year,” he says. “No venue is too big or too small – bring it all on.”

Meanwhile, he’s planning another collaborative album with Charlie Musselwhite, to follow 2013’s Grammy-winning Get Up!.

Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals 2016 tour dates

Jun 23: Redmond Marymoor Park, WA
Jun 24: Troutdale Edgefield, OR
Jun 25: Ben Les Schwab Amphitheatre, OR
Jun 28: Morrison Red Rocks Amphitheatre, CO
Jun 29: Salt Lake City Red Butte Garden, UT
Jun 30: Garden City Revolution Centre, ID
Jul 02: High Sierra Music Festival, CA
Jul 08: Ottawa Bluesfast, ON
Jul 09: Cooperstown Brewery Ommegang, NY
Jul 10: Merryland Music Festival, MD
Jul 13: Lewiston Artpark, NY
Jul 15: Forecastle Festival, KY
Jul 16: Sloss Music & Arts Festival, AL
Jul 24: Fuji Rock Festival, Japan
Aug 13: The Festival At Sandpoint, ID
Aug 16: Saratoga Mountain Winery, CA
Aug 17: Oakland Fox Theatre, CA
Aug 19: Los Angeles Hollywood Bowl, CA
Aug 20: Santa Barbera Bowl, CA
Aug 25: Tempe Marquee Theatre, AZ
Sep 22: Frederiksberg Falconer Salen, Denmark
Sep 24: Hamburg Mehr Theatre, Germany
Sep 25: Berlin Columbiahalle, Germany
Sep 27: Vienna Wiener Konzerthaus, Austria
Sep 28: Prague Forum Karlin, Czech Republic
Sep 30: Cologne Palladium, Germany
Oct 01: Munich Kesselhaus, Germany
Oct 04: Grenoble Le Summum, France
Oct 06: Le Grand-Saconnex Geneva Arena, Switzerland
Oct 07: Assago Mediolanum Forum, Italy
Oct 09: Nice Palais Nikaia, France
Oct 11: Toulouse Le Zenith, France
Oct 12: Cournon-d’Auvergne Zenith, France
Oct 14: Paris AccorHotels Arena, France
Oct 15: Strasbourg Zenith, France
Oct 17: Dijon Zenith, France
Oct 18: Brussels Forest National, Belgium
Oct 20: Lille Zenith, France
Oct 21: Esch-sur-Alzette Rockhat, Luxembourg
Oct 24: Amsterdam Paradiso, Netherlands
Oct 26: London O2 Academy Brixton, London
Nov 22: Sydney Opera House Forecourt, Australia
Nov 24: Brisbane Riverstage, Australia
Nov 26: Melbourne Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Australia
Nov 27: Hindmarsh AEC Theatre, Australia
Nov 29: Perth Pioneer Women’s Memorial, Australia
Dec 02: Auckland Vector Arena, New Zealand
Dec 03: Napier Mission Estate Winery, New Zealand
Dec 04: Wellington Michael Fowler Centre, New Zealand