Ben Goldsmith and the Original Band

Ben Goldsmith and the Original Band

Under 21 With Guardian
Join us for a night with Ben Goldsmith and The Original Band

This trio of impressively-gifted teenage musical talents aim to not just make their mark on rock music but also bring something fresh to the genre that will pull new generations of listeners into the music. Yes – it's a rather grand ambition. But given how much they’ve already individually and collectively accomplished, don't be surprised if it comes to pass... and more.

Its members – guitarist/lead singer Ben Goldsmith, bassist James Bandini and drummer Jack McDonough – have all been well-taught through the School of Rock, which is how they connected. They also share supportive, music-loving parents who fostered their passion for music from an early age and encourage their creativity. The LI Herald hails how they "impress beyond their years" with a style that longtime Long Island music journal Good Times describes as "a soulful, technically adept rock sound."

Goldsmith has already achieved much at 13 years old: Mastering the guitar to not just a skill level but an innate feel and finesse that wows acclaimed pros like Steve Vai and most anyone who hears him. Touring top Northeast and Midwest venues as well as appearing at Lollapalooza and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Writing and recording at age 12 all the songs and instruments on his debut solo EP, No Kidding, produced by Grammy nominated producer/engineer Greg Wurth (whose studio credits include Vai, Mary J. Blige and other notables).

Raised in a home rich with classic rock and pop as well as classical music, Ben began playing violin but quickly jumped to guitar, taught himself keyboards, and showed a natural ability as well as dedication to music that augurs well for the future. He is presently in private guitar study with Berklee College of Music professor Tomo Fujita.

In just the first few months of 2019, Ben handily won the annual 10 Under 20 contest at the Dallas International Guitar Festival. He’s also performed twice at the famed Antone’s nightclub In Austin, TX, most recently backed by stellar veteran players: drummer Tommy Taylor (known for his decades of playing with guitar hero Eric Johnson), bassist Roscoe Beck (Eric Johnson, Leonard Cohen, The Dixie Chicks and Robben Ford) and Austin guitar legend Van Wilks.

As D magazine raves of Goldsmith and his group, “The moment he launched into the opening riff of Joe Satriani’s ‘Satch Boogie,’ you could tell that The Original Band had been rehearsing their faces off. Goldsmith hit every tapping lick and pinch harmonic with precision. He’s a technically proficient player with impressive speed, but he’s more than just a robotic shredder. He has tremendous feel, and his ability to integrate with a band to deliver a truly entertaining show will help him to stand out going forward.”

Bassist and keyboard player James Bandini, age 16, started in music playing upright bass in school at nine years old. The next year he took up classical piano studies, followed by electric guitar and bass. Being a professional musician became his ambition after he performed a six-song Beatles medley at his sixth grade variety show that had his fellow students singing along and earned him a standing ovation. His father is a guitar-playing rock music fan, and his grandfather and great-grandfather were pianists whose old sheet music he discovered in the home at 13, and quickly mastered the works of seminal popular music composers like Cole Porter and George Gershwin along with pop classics like the Henry Mancini/Johnny Mercer gem “Moon River.”

At high school James plays upright bass in the jazz and symphonic bands and chamber and symphonic orchestras. An A student in music theory who has studied with and been mentored by some of New York City’s premier musicians, he enjoys mentoring younger musicians in all he has learned.

Drummer Jack “McD” McDonough, also 15 years old, grew up similarly to his bandmates, with his parents playing albums by such classic acts as Led Zeppelin, Van Halen and Beatles around the house. “I just started liking it,” he recalls, so his dad bought him a drum kit when Jack was 10. In addition to rather quickly showing all the signs of a master drummer, McD has also learned guitar, bass and some piano rudiments. His passion for a diverse range of music enjoys Latin, jazz, hip-hop, reggae, metal and classic rock, to name some but not all. In addition to bringing his knack for technicality, feel and power to The Original Band, he plays in his high school jazz band.

Original drum inspiration John Bonham “will always be an influence,” McDonough says. He also highly rates such contemporary drummers as Larnel Lewis from Snarky Puppy and Matt Garstka of Animals as Leaders. Jack plans to study at Berklee College of Music while at the same time recording albums in the many styles he likes. When not drumming, Jack also pursues photography.

Both as a group and players in their own right, Ben Goldsmith & The Original Band dazzle as few other musical quantities of any age do. Currently performing at rock clubs on the Long Island circuit a few times a month while staking out new territories elsewhere, they intend to continue striving for excellence, and by all indications appear destined to make their considerable mark in music. Fans who want to witness the future of rock’n’roll coming into its own with this preternaturally gifted and musically mature trio are urged to tune in now to what promises to be a fascinating and rewarding musical journey.

Venue Information:
The Cutting Room
44 E 32nd St.
New York, NY, 10016