NEM#171: Ben Vaughn’s Primitive Fever Dreams

Ben started releasing sardonic retro rock records with the Ben Vaughn Combo in the early ’80s, and has now released over 20 of them exploring various genres, while also working on TV soundtracks like Third Rock from the Sun and That ’70s Show, hosting a radio show, and producing for several artists including Ween.

We discuss “Wayne Fontana Was Wrong” from The World of Ben Vaughn (2022), “I’m Sorry (But So Is Brenda Lee)” from Vaughn Sings Vaughn (Vol. 1) (2007), “Too Sensitive For This World” from from Dressed in Black (1990), and “Candyman” by Alan Vega, Alex Chilton, Ben Vaughn, from Cubist Blues (1996). Plus we listen to his lockdown single from last February, “Dancing in My Mind.” Intro: “My First Band” by The Ben Vaughn Combo, a 1985 single available on the 1992 compilation Mood Swings. For more, see

Watch the video for “My First Band.” Here’s one for “Dancing in My Mind.”  Here’s the original 1992 version of “I’m Sorry (But So Is Brenda Lee),” and here’s Marshall Crenshaw’s hit version (which is really not much more upbeat). Here’s the 2007 re-recording of “Too Sensitive for This World.” Listen to the long, dreamy intro track of Cubist Blues.

Watch the full promo film for Ramber ’65. Here’s his quintet (with accordion!) playing “Too Sensitive” live. Here’s a well-shot full show.

Some of the songs we refer to by other artists that influenced him include “Wine, Wine Wine,” Wayne Fontana’s “The Game of Love,Brenda Lee’s “I’m Sorry,” and “King of the Road.”

Photo by Taylor Johnson. Interview editing by Tyler Hislop of Pixelbox Media.

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