Friday, July 11, 2008

Phil Bennett

Phil Bennett plays keyboards for the band Starship. Another Northgate alum, Mark Abrahamian ('85?) is the guitar player in the band. Great quote from Mark: 'The turning point in Mark's life came in the Seventh Grade when he heard Edward Van Halen's "Eruption". "I went home and didn't leave my room until the Ninth Grade."'

Keyboardist/Pianist Phillip Bennett is an exciting and entertaining performer and player who blends a mixture of music styles and professional talent. His extensive knowledge of MIDI , sampling, computers and synthesis allows him to create from a huge palate of sound technology, while his musical experience and wide versatility allow him to shine as both a performer and a musician

For nine years He has been performing and arranging all keyboards with Starship (formally [I think they meant "formerly" -ed.] Jefferson Starship). Starship, featuring the incomparable singer Mickey Thomas, Starship performs over one hundred shows a year nationally and internationally. “Starship is a group well known for their keyboard and synthesizer arrangements.” Phil says, “With Starship I get to combine both sound design and performance in everything I do.”

Coming from a large family, Phil was raised with a love for all types of music and started playing multiple instruments at an early age, with an intense desire to emulate and absorb the many different artists and music styles that he was surrounded by in the San Francisco Bay Area. He focused on the piano after discovering its continued availability next to a record player/radio in the living room, and as a result, discovered jazz and classical music recordings, Jimi Hendrix and National Public Radio.

As a teenager with a fake I.D., he performed in around the San Francisco Bay Area where he was able to gain extensive experience working with established bands and players, and as a result In his early 20's he joined up and collaborated with the late Bay Area guitarist Erik Torjesen. Erik was well known for his instrumental rock-jazz guitar sound that was made quite popular in the early 1990's. Phillip gained the attention of renowned Testament guitarist and Guitar Player columnist Alex Skolnick, who for three years he recorded and toured with. It was an additional extraordinary experience that enhanced Phil's playing style by allowing him to incorporate the chops and musicality needed for Instrumental and progressive music.

Phil's technical expertise allows him to comfortably perform on all the various types of keyboard instruments, from his arsenal of modern electronica to his collection of vintage electric pianos and Hammond organs. Phil explained, “There's really no match for the sounds you get from those classic instruments, of course they are extremely hard to move, let alone transport or fly”. His technical expertise with MIDI and Computers allows him to bridge the cap between both platforms and to utilize digital recording, software and hardware as an integral part of his studio and playing.

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