Friday, July 30, 2010

Ding a Ding Dang my Dang a Long Ling Long

Howie is our "parental advisory" hero! Howie "Ice Ice" Beno is a recording engineer and producer who has worked with a wide range of artists in various genres, including Smashmouth, Dionne Warwick, and a long series of rock and industrial bands, including Ministry.

Beno began his career as an engineer at Trax Studios in Chicago, working with bands Ministry, on their album Psalm 69, and the multi-platinum Red Hot Chili Peppers single, Give It Away. He was the original producer and co-writer for Stella Soleil on the independent Chicago release Drown Me In You. He also appeared as a musician on various albums. In 2002, Beno moved to New York and set up as an engineer and producer, working on television commercials. He also continued engineering and producing for bands and solo artists.

Beno co-produced several tracks on Stella Soleil's Soularium album, recorded for Universal Records in 1999 at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios in England. He also worked at Windmill Studios in Ireland with the Irish band Blink, whose album "The End Is High" became Billboard Magazine's Album of the Month on its USA release.

We caught up with Howie in the studio in New York City:

WH: So Howie, you graduated from Wheaton's Conservatory of Music and now you  are working in the contemporary Christian music industry as a producer.

Howie: Well, not exactly, umm I...

WH: But it says here that your magnum opus was for a band called Ministry for the album Psalm 69.

Howie: Yeeeaah about that... Ministry was an industrial band fronted by Al Jourgensen who then started the Revolting Cocks. The album Psalm69 actually refers to a work of Aleister Crowley, where he uses the expression "The way to succeed and the way to suck eggs" as a pun for the 69 sex position ("suck seed" and "suck eggs").

WH: Hey this is a family friend blog lets watch the language Mr. Beno.

Howie: Psalm69 was actually a important album in Rock'n'Roll history and featured the song, "Jesus Built My Hotrod" sung by Gibby Haynes from the Butthole Surfers. Who can forget these lyrics...
"soon i discovered that this rock thing was true
jerry lee lewis was the devil
Jesus was an architect previous to his career as a prophet
all of a sudden, i found myself in love with the world
so there was only one thing that i could do
was ding a ding dang my dang a long ling long"

WH: Howie, Howie, Howie that doesn't sound very Christian. Ok moving on, I understand you remixed the Red Hot Chili Peppers song "Give It Away" from the album Blood Sugar Sex Magik that was originally produced by Rick Rubin. Is that song about giving away the gospel or sharing your faith?

Howie: Well I guess that's one way to look at it. I think Anthony Kiedis  wanted this song to be about the idea that 'The more you give, the more you receive, so why not give it all away?' When the Peppers performed this on The Simpsons they were instructed to change the lyrics of "What I've got, I got to get and put it in you" to "What I'd like, is I'd like to hug and kiss you."

WH: Ok Howie, those are all things you've done for other people, but what about your music? You had your own band, 13Mg where you collaborated with music innovators like FILTER and Nitzer Ebb. I understand you recorded the Cyndi Lauper song "She Bop" with Cruella DeVille and were featured in the prom queen killer movie JAWBREAKER. So here's my question... what is the song "She Bop" about?

Howie: Boy, you know how to pick 'em don't you. She Bop was bit controversial, basically the lyrics addressed the topic of masturbation. Part of the lyrics, "They say I better stop - or I'll go blind"' is an allusion to a common myth about masturbation. It was also included on the Parents Music Resource Center's "Filthy Fifteen" list, due to its sexual lyrics; this led to the creation of the parental advisory sticker.

WH: Filthy Fifteen huh? Your mama must be proud. What are you doing these days?

Howie: I'm living and working in New York City. Not too long ago, I did a project with Tom Jones on a song called "The Hitter." Tom Jones is quite a character we went out on the town one night in New York and...

WH: Let me just stop you there. My ears are starting to bleed. Thanks for your time Howie. I don't we think we be playing your music in chapel anytime soon.

(H.T. Nomination C.F.)

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