Five returns to the fold
AS rock ’ n’ roll splits go, Ben Folds Five’s was hardly Guns N’ Roses.
‘‘ There was an email with everyone including lawyers copied in,’’ Folds says of their 2000 demise.
Following their unlikely mainstream breakthrough via 1997 ballad Brick, detailing a teenage abortion, by the third album, 1999’ s The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, they were burnt out.
‘‘ We’d done recordings for a new album. It sounded tired and uninspired,’’ Folds says.
‘‘ We’d declined quite a bit in ticket sales. The last record hadn’t sold as well. We were recovering from a hit single [ Brick].
‘‘ We felt our stocks were going down and we thought what we were doing was a little too sacred to leave on a low note.’’
Folds’ solo career launched with Rockin’ the Suburbs in 2001. A decade of extensive touring and prolific releases followed.
After a one- off Ben Folds Five reunion in 2008 the trio recorded for Folds’ career retrospective The Best Imitation of Myself last year.
As painlessly as they split, they regrouped last December to record a belated fourth album, The Sound of the Life of the Mind.
‘‘ It was like riding a bike,’’ Folds says. ‘‘ A bike with new gears. It feels not so much like a reunion but a continuation after a break.’’
The album’s recording was funded by fans via crowd- funding website PledgeMusic. Eager fans could donate for everything from a simple prepurchase of the album to, for $ 2500, a re- recording of a song with their name inserted into the lyrics.
‘‘ The dinosaur in the room is, for the last eight years or so, bands have been funding themselves,’’ he said. ‘‘ This isn’t to be seen as The Man has been taken down and the fans have risen on the internet. This puts the artist back being the artist, not the financier. The ones left in music are the good ones for the most part. They’re in it because they love it.’’
Folds has 2014 blocked out for a solo orchestra tour but is committed to touring with the Five from now until the end of 2013. He’ll play a few solo songs with the band.