Guitarist Whose Brutal Fail Went Viral Gives His Side Of The Story
By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta
August 16, 2019
Ben Weinman is a living, breathing, exceedingly hard rocking medical miracle.
The scar tissue and metal rods that hold his body together today suggest a career of hard knocks more akin to that of a professional wrestler than that of a musician.
As the Dillinger Escape Plan co-founder and Suicidal Tendencies guitarist admits to Q104.3 New York's QN'A, he's never been good at assessing risk during the chaos of a live metal or hardcore show. Over a two-decade career of gnarly onstage injuries, Weinman didn't think his spill was that remarkable until he saw it getting shared on social media.
Yes, Ben Weinman is the guy from that brutal clip. Yes, he's (pretty much) fine. And yes, he thinks it's funny, too.
Ben says he was simply trying to jump on a stage left speaker cabinet during Suicidal Tendencies' August 7 concert in Garden Grove, California, when he apparently lost track of where he was flying, stepped on one of the cab's wheels while still airborne and, in Bill Burr's words "gave himself a suplex" onto the corner of the speaker.
Ben's nasty fall happened early in the first song of the set, and he's quick to point out the irony.
"It was during the song 'You Can't Bring Me Down,'" he laughs.
No one knows precisely what made this recent video of him so popular, but Ben's happy enough to know people are enjoying it.
"I got up so quickly, and the show was so nuts, I don't think most people saw it," he adds. "Nobody in the band did. But our friends on the side of the stage we're like, 'Holy f--k!'"
Over his 20-year career with the Dillinger Escape Plan, Ben endured many big falls in front of big audiences and sustained more injuries than he can count — though his many concussions probably don't make keeping track any easier.
The spill earlier this month happened the day before his 44th birthday, and while Ben concedes that he's "too old for this," he explains that the problem is he simply doesn't know any other way to perform heavy music that to throw his whole body into it.
Check out the QN'A below in which Ben recounts all he remembers from his viral moment, why he keeps doing these things, where this latest fall ranks on his career injuries list and more.
I know from being a longtime fan of the Dillinger Escape Plan that you've had lots of nasty injuries in your musical career; how badly were you hurt in that clip everybody is sharing? Did you feel it after the show?
I definitely felt it as soon as the show was over and did some serious 'Batman-fix' on my own spine the next day, but I'm used to it.
I got up so quickly and the show was so nuts I don't think most people saw it. Nobody in the band did. But our friends on the side of the stage we're like "holy f--k."
I saw [the video] after the show and was like, "Damn."
What song where you playing?
Ironically enough it was the song "You Can't Bring Me Down" (Laughs).
Did you hear that Bill Burr mentioned you while you were listening to his podcast or did someone give you the heads up?
I'm a big fan. I actually had heard the beginning of that show, but didn't get a chance to finish so i didn't hear it. Then someone commented on my Instagram about it, and I was like 'What!'
So what's your worst onstage injury, and is there video of it?
Broke my neck, also during the first song of the set. And yes, I finished the show (Laughs).
Why have some of these falls happened so early in shows?
I think I'm more not aware of the playing field yet.
That makes sense.
I never know what [I'm going to do] from second to second. But yes, I've busted my ass plenty.
It's worth mentioning that I've seen you do lots of insane stuff during DEP shows and never seen you fall or get hurt. You clearly have some agility; you're not a klutz.
I think that what is so silly about this video going viral. Over my whole career I'm batting a really high percentage.
I could jump off a 20-foot speaker and not miss a note.
But this is like my claim to fame.
I always worried about your knees when you did s--t like that.
I think that's really the whole thing. I am a complete idiot.
I'm married with two small children. And my doctor said I have no cartilage in my knees. My spine is covered in arthritis and scar tissue. I've had a bunch of concussions, rotator cuff surgery, broken ribs, feet, metal in my wrist.
I'm 44. But I just can't not rock.
That's how I've always interpreted your stage presence.
So yeah, I'm a dumb idiot.
When DEP announced its retirement, I figured at least part of the reason was for your health
Absolutely. Both mental and physical.
In the video it looks like your guitar strap chokes you momentarily and your guitar hits you in the face. What guitar were you playing in that video? It didn't look like your signature ESP.
It was an ESP, but not my signature, which is good 'cause this guitar was lighter and shittier.
But I use an Evertune bridge always, which is why I stayed in perfect tune.
[I'm] the ultimate test dummy.
Did you mess up the riff when you fell? Do you remember?
I'm assuming, unless I played it with my teeth.
I zigged when I should have zagged, but the show must go on.
Were you trying to step on the wheel of that — was it a speaker cabinet?
No, I was trying to jump on the speaker. But sometimes I'm so out of my mind that I miss. But usually there isn't a wheel. I just, like, slam my shin or something and it hurts like a b---h.
There was the ultimate banana peel laying there.
You mentioned you have two young kids; how much do you worry about them falling down and stuff? Do you have more of a 'rub some dirt on it philosophy'?
Actually, I'm the nurturing one. My son is pretty sensitive, and does not do well with falling. And I'm like, "Aww, my little guy! Come here, it's OK."
Any my wife is like, "Stop being a b---h!" She is a doctor and has seen it all.
When you take knives out of people and bullets and send them home the same day, a scrape on the knee gets no sympathy.
She used to be a trauma surgeon; now she's a breast cancer surgeon. A real rock star.
Absolutely. You two run an animal sanctuary out of your home, right?
Yes. We rescue farm animals. Party Smasher Sanctuary.
I have a Patreon, and the money I raise on there goes to the animals. It's where I release my solo music, as well as behind-the-scenes of the farm and stuff.
Cool. Anything else you want to mention while I have you?
I'm a judge on Shredders of Metal on Banger.TV.
It's kinda fun. New episodes every day.
Great. Thanks so much for the time, Ben. I hope you eventually find a pan flute band or something mellow so you'll be safer.
(Laughs) From your mouth to God's ears, my friend. I'm too old for this s--t.
Catch Ben on tour with Suicidal Tendencies this year — you make literally have to catch him. Get all the tour dates here.
Thumbnail Photos: Instagram @ra_diaz / Getty Images