The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - SALLY BROWNE

B en Lee is a philo­soph­i­cal bloke. Sub­jects like hu­man con­scious­ness, re­al­ity and our role as hu­man be­ings in this crazy world, are of­ten at the fore­front of his mind.

So, with that said, he’ll be tak­ing to the stage at this year’s Bleach* Fes­ti­val, not only with his gui­tar but with a mi­cro­phone and his words, de­liv­er­ing a key­note ad­dress on Art and the Awak­en­ing of Con­scious­ness.

Lee says he’s not sure why peo­ple have been invit­ing him to speak over the last cou­ple of years.

“Maybe be­cause most mu­si­cians are not ar­tic­u­late,” the for­mer Syd­ney boy laughs. “So when you find some­one who loves to talk there’s a jump for them.

“The awak­en­ing of con­scious­ness is my pas­sion and it has been for a long time. My role as an artist and mu­si­cian is be­ing de­fined by that at this point. I spent a lot of time think­ing and study­ing and ex­am­in­ing what ex­actly is this mu­sic thing that we are do­ing and what is its po­ten­tial and can we re­ally be sober and hon­est with our­selves about where our vi­sion about mod­ern mu­sic may have gone wrong.”

Lee will speak at QT Ho­tel, Surfers Par­adise, on March 19, 3-5pm, and will host a free song­writ­ing work­shop at He­lensvale Com­mu­nity Cen­tre on March 20, 10am-1pm.

Live mu­sic lovers rest as­sured, he will also per­form a head­line spot at Bleach* at the Burleigh mu­sic event on March 20, 1.30-5.30pm.

The events are all part of the multi-arts Bleach* Fes­ti­val, which takes over the Gold Coast un­til March 20. Lee’s cur­rent al­bum is called

Love is the Great Re­bel­lion. It’s an up­lift­ing record that re­flects some of his cur­rent mus­ings.

Mem­o­rable songs in­clude lyrics such as “ev­ery­body I know is try­ing to make their way home but they’ve for­got­ten the ad­dress” ( Hap­pi­ness) and “so here’s some wine for a thirsty world that some­how for­got there’s a sea” (Ev­ery­thing is OK).

Lee says: “I think it’s tied into what we’re talk­ing about, that there’s a jour­ney and there’s a desti­na­tion. But not only have we for­got­ten there’s a path to the desti­na­tion, we’ve ac­tu­ally been con­vinced that the desti­na­tion doesn’t even ex­ist. In terms of real hap­pi­ness. real re­al­i­sa­tion, we live in a so­ci­ety that tells us we’re not even asleep, we’re al­ready awake. We’re fine. Yet all the ev­i­dence points to the con­trary.

“It’s re­ally in­ter­est­ing to live in this world and re­alise we’re crav­ing some­thing, and we try to fill it with all th­ese other things, like drugs and sex and ev­ery­thing, fame or what­ever, but there’s some­thing we’re crav­ing and it’s us — we want our minds back,” he fin­ishes with a chuckle.

The other thing that oc­cu­pies Lee’s con­scious­ness is

fam­ily life. When we speak he has his lit­tle daugh­ter sit­ting on his knee at the kitchen ta­ble in Los An­ge­les watch­ing Sid the

Sci­ence Kid.

Din­ner is in the oven, ready for when his 14-year-old step­daugh­ter comes home. His wife Ione Skye is at an act­ing class. An un­fin­ished art­work of hers stands on an easel nearby.

“Hon­estly what helped me the most is if you look back through all the mys­ti­cal texts, the great philoso­phers, they all speak about hope,” he says.

“They all speak about the idea that as dark as it is, it can get light and it will get light again. We think of it, it’s so sim­ple, this idea, right? That there’ll be an­other sun­rise.

“But when you re­alise this is a philo­soph­i­cal idea, it sep­a­rates the boys from the men. The peo­ple who live life with hope are the ones who do great things in the world and the ones that de­spair and lose them­selves to de­pres­sion and cyn­i­cism, they just add to the prison ev­ery day that they’re al­ready liv­ing in.

“So I be­gan to re­ally ground into this idea. I think it was the poet Vir­gil who said there’s a golden fu­ture ap­proach­ing. You see this in all the re­li­gions. A new chance.” Ben Lee, Bleach* At Burleigh, March 20

Ben Lee heads to the Gold Coast next week.

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