JIMMY BENNETT (Ghost Riders) Interview
( by Philippe Archambeau )

Hi Jimmy, thank you to give to Road To Jacksonville the opportunity to do this interview.
First, for our readers, can you introduce yourself, tell us where do you
come from ?

My name is Jimmy Bennett ,I was born in Bay Ridge Brooklyn, a small close knit neighbourhood by the Verranzanno bridge with a lot of parks & a great view of NYC & of course the Magnificent Statue of Liberty our most beloved gift from France. There was a lot of outdoor concerts & live music when I was growing up, it also had a huge southern rock ,blues & country fan base, just check the Allman Brothers calendar every March & you'll see
they sell out between 10 & 20 dates every year with a great amount of those fans originally from bay ridge or still living there, so it was a real fun musical place to grow up.

What has been you career before playing with Ghost Riders ?
With who did you play ?

The Bennett Bros ,Bennett McLaughlin Stone Caravan Stills & Cohen Band sons
of Stephen Stills & Leonard Cohen I think Adam Cohen & Chris Stills, both
are living in France & have released CD's there. I've also done a lot of sideman gigs from Bo Diddley to Greg Kihn, you can also catch a live webcast this Saturday 6-11-05 @LevonHelm.com, from Woodstock NY , The Bennett Bros, Aleis P.Suter, Luther "Guitar Jr" Johnson &The Levon Helm Band, starts 8:00 pm USA time & goes on quite a while.

Can you tell us about the album you made with your brother Bennett McLaughlin before coming in Ghost Riders ?

That was in 2000, with singer guitarist Mike McLaughlin, and bassist Peter Bennett, it's a bluesy southern rock album, we've also done a Bennett bros record, one with Alexis P Suter, these are available http://www.hipbonerecords.com/performances.html. I'm also currently
recording live DVD, and CD's up in Woodstock & I believe there's another Ghost Rider record to start soon.

I've been told that Ghost Riders musicians have discovered you in a nightclub. Is it true and how did it happen ?

Yes it's true I was playing with drummer Pug Baker & Steve was looking to start a band ,and shortly after we got together & recorded Gone South ,1st or 2nd take it was in the can.

You are born in Brooklyn. Do you feel as a southern musician ? What does mean for you the words Southern Rock, and does it mean to get the southern spirit ?

Southern Rock is just a label record company & marketing people dubbed rock music coming from the south during the 70's& 80's.As far as the southern spirit , that goes all the way back to early blues & gospel, and if you have the spirit inside of you, it doesn't matter where you come from ,I'm sure you've heard some of the tremendous blues & rock guitarists that
are coming from all over the world.

When you began as a guitar player in Ghost Riders, you have surprised a lot of people with your talent and the way you played slide guitar. Did you practise a lot this particular style ? Do you enjoy other famous slide guitar musicians and did they give you some inspiration ?

On the cd first song, there's a chorus that, I think, looks like Duane Allman choruses !! I heard "One Way Out "by The Allman Brothers when I was about 11 yrs old and I was just drawn to that sound, I would have the ABB live at the Fillmore East blasting from my stereo, drove my dad nuts. I love all kinds of slide players, Ry Cooder ,David Lindley, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters ,& a lot of blues harp players , horns & singers inspire emotions out of a slide guitar. The first song on the record "Gone South" definitely has a little Duane tribute in there, & I'm proud to take a piece of what inspired me & pass the good vibe & the spirit of the music on to the next generation of listeners ,that what music is all about anyway.

Why do you enjoy slide guitar ? Is it because of the "sensual" sound that
the guitar gives ?


Can you tell us about your guitars, your amps, and everything you use on
stage and in the studio ?

For slide I have two old Rickenbacker" lapslides from the 30's, one made of steel ,one is bakelite, an old fender lap from the 40's,a 61 Gibson SG a Les Paul, Fender Stats ,a Gibson Dobro, Various older Gibson acoustics ,Fender amps, an old Deluxe, a newer Blues Deville, an old Boogie, sometimes Marshalls ,sometimes whatever we can get our hands on.

Do you play other music instruments ?

Lapsteel, dobro, a little banjo & mandolin.

Is it easy for Ghost Riders to play in the United States ?


Did you ever go on tour with big southern rock music bands (Allman, Skynyrd,
Molly Hatchet, etc…) ?

Yes I've opened for a lot acts over the years

Do you think you can come and play in Europe and in France in 2005 or 2006 ?

I'd love to.

Can you say some words for Ghost Riders French fans ?

Thanks for the support .

At the end, like every time on Road To Jacksonville, we ask the same question :
If you ever have to go on a desert island, which should be the five cds
you take with you ?

Chester & Lester by "Chet Atkins & Les Paul" ,Allman Bros "Live at The Fillmore", anything by Django Rheinhardt & Stephan Grappelli,{i hope i spelled that right},
Band of Gypsy's "Jimi Hendrix", The Complete "Robert Johnson"collection,