Ben Wolfe - Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis Pro Cycling
More affectionately known as 'Big Puppy' or 'Library Boy' BEN has established himself as an invaluable workhorse and absolute powerhouse on the bike. We talk with Ben about 'Now 21' CD's being the go to playlist's before Spotify existed, going to the Eagles with his dad, and missing 100% of the shots you don't take... with the ladies.
What music do you remember growing up around?
BEN: My dad was always into 60s-80s rock, so I have a true love for Skynard, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, etc. My mom was a huge Dead Head, so i also enjoy that.
Were your parents into music? What taste did they have?
BEN: Answered above dick head
Did you play a music instrument as a kid?
BEN: Yep, I rocked out on the Trombone. Many called me the butterfly of my generation.
This is weird, I’ve done two of these interviews and both people have played trombone, and I myself had a dalliance with the brass stick myself. Do you think there is something to that? Athletes like to be the loudest but are often the least nuanced?
BEN: I think we definitely like to be the most noticed dudes for sure. We are making it so that we have the confidence to be in the spotlight... if there was ever such a spot light in cycling..
What is the first song you remember liking?
BEN: Old School Rock and Roll. Fucking Classic.
Did you mean Old Time Rock and Roll by Bog Seger? I cant find Old School Rock anywhere.
BEN: Yeah, that one.. duh duh duh, "I like that old time of rock and rolllllll, that kinda music just soooothes my soul..." (sung in the same voice of an angel that crushes every karoke we go to)
What is the song that defined your taste as an 11 year old?
BEN: Probably Grillz by Nelly. You know us in CT. We ball hard.
Who didn’t love Nelly. Is that something you’d still listen to now?
BEN: 100% if it comes on at a bar, i for sure will rock out and get jiggy.
And as a 21 year old?
BEN: Party and Bullshit by Biggie
When did you first get into Biggie and who introduced you to his music? It was a long time before our time but I feel like a lot of our generation started listening to his music in their late teens early twenties. Why?
BEN: Old song, but the OG rap music. Easy to dance to and actually had lyrics. The rap music now is catchy, but the lyrics aren’t actually words, let alone a story. Biggie and Tupac, NWA all those older OG guys had real lyrics. I enjoy actually listening to music that has a story now too. Was probably introduced back in Middle school by youtube, when before we had phones you would go home and fight your brother for the use of the desktop and jam out to music videos on youtube for hours until your parents made you do HW...
How about now?
BEN: Probably still Party and Bullshit. But also some Mozart. Depends on my mood.
I love the casual Mozart reference, that’s not small leap in musical taste for you, given your history. What got you into Mozart?
BEN: Man, honestly how impressive it is. Just the crescendo and even without lyrics you can tell when the song gets intense what the lyrics would have been. I like the mystery of making my own lyrics to it.
Have you ever played a song to impress someone? If so, what was it?
BEN: Usually some marvin Gaye to set the mood. Magic needs to happen somehow.
Interesting, all I can say is it must work.
BEN: 69% of the time it works 100% of the time.
What was the first album you bought with your own money?
BEN: Probably one of the Now 21 stupid fucking CDs. You know the ones I’m talking about? If you don’t, then get out of here.
I know the type. My sister used to get a lot of those and I’d always look for a blur or placebo song that I could jump around the playroom to. What songs on those cd’s can you remember being into?
BEN: Man, everything from Brittany to Backstreet boys. It was just the hippest of the hip all on one cd. so before we had spotify it was the go to playlist. and there was like 68 of them.
What was the first gig / concert you remember going to?
BEN: Went to the Eagles with my dad back when I was a freshman in High School. That was cool as shit.
That would have been epic. What was it like going to a concert with your dad in early high school. Did he rock out? Did you try to sneak booze?
BEN: Haha, dude. My dad jammed out hard core, we just got lost in the music. Totally sober. My dad was a cop, so I didn’t try that kind of crap in his direct presence...
If you could be incredible at playing a musical instrument, which would it be and why?
BEN: Piano. So classy.
What would be the first song you’d learn?
BEN: Flight of the bumblebee on piano, you should youtube it. So impressive.
Who's the teammate with the worst musical taste that you've roomed with and had to endure?
BEN: Gus Morton and his Grunge moods.
How about the teammate with the best music taste?
BEN: Defintely not Gordo (Jordan Cheyne - ed.). Probably Rathe when he gets on his Old School Rock and Roll kick. Or Justin Oien when he is on a roll.
Why not Gordo? Both you guys are into Biggie, seems like a good match to me.
BEN: I just like giving Gordo shit. Plus I don’t want to be dancing with that gangly MF. He scares the women away ;)
What song would you listen to to get pumped for a big stage / race?
BEN: Man, it depends, Usually some upbeat shit like Flume, or a song that reminds me of a rad time.
Do you use music a lot before or after a race to get you in the mood to race? Do you prefer listening to music alone or with the whole team, or just not at all?
BEN: Usually before to get pumped up (faster music) and after to calm down (slower, chilled out). If everyone is in the same mood to get pumped up its fun, its all about the mood. So if people aren’t nervous and ready to get buck wild, the team for sure.
Who takes control of the music on the bus and what do they play?
BEN: Me, and what I want.
Have you ever had a ‘victory’ song? Do you have any tracks you associate with any victories throughout your career?
BEN: Haha, work by Rihanna.
What win is that associated with?
BEN: Just with going to china last year and racking in the cash!
Have you ever worn your ipod during a race?
BEN: Yep, its a radio ;)
What were you listening to? Was it a long race?
BEN: Just a local training race I rode to. Pretty sure I just listened to everything in mix.
Its debatable whether that actually counts. What song would you put on to get the party started?
BEN: R Kelly, Ignition
Which song would you choose to soundtrack the highlights reel of your career?
BEN: Aint no mountain High, Marvin Gaye
So you could simultaneously seduce the person who was watching?
BEN: You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. So try for everyone and you’ll get someone ;)
A song that if someone played would instantly make you attracted to them?
BEN: R Kelly, Ignition. Or anything by Elton John.
Ignition is like your boomerang, You chuck it out there early to get the party going and hope it has a reciprocal effect on someone else, reeling them into you. Is that the strategy?
A song that if someone played would instantly turn you off the immediately?
BEN: Metal. That is fucking awful.
Valid. What about Nirvana? They aren’t technically metal but they’re pretty loud and they’re kinda like Biggie in that everyone from our generation fell in love with them at 18.
BEN: Its good, but in small doses
Give us a song that would be a guilty pleasure?
BEN: Nsync. Anything by them really.
BEN: Definitely BYE BYE BYE. a true breakup classic
What song was / would be your first dance at your wedding?
BEN: Into the Mystic by Van Morrsion
Good choice, ill come to your wedding.
BEN: Just make sure youre ready for a party.
If you were colonising Mars and could only take one album, what would it be?
BEN: Red Hot Chilli Peppers, stadium arcadium
Ouff poor aliens.