Born in the relatively sleepy and weary seaside south coast town of Worthing UK, Ben Nicholls has been on a long, music obsessed journey from a very early age. Fuelled by the likes of Link Wray and Johnny Cash which he discovered at his local library, he’s been in groups before he was even legally old enough to get in to many of the venues he was playing. There was the Silver Jets, the curiously named High Class Family Butchers and Kid plus a variety of positions as a session musician before Nicholls decided it was time to create a one man band and go under the name Dennis Hopper Choppers. It was in 2008 that we first came across him as a support act to a soon to be upwardly rising Glasvegas simultaneously playing guitar, bass drum, high hat, organ bass pedals, vox-organ with a 1969 Fender Dual Showman amplifier originally designed for Dick Dale. Since then the line-up has increased in numbers and now Ben finds himself recording as an 8-piece.
And so to the music; imagine a Sergio Leone film haunted by the bruised spectres of goth Americana and nostalgic rock ‘n’ roll heroes. That’s the sound of Dennis Hopper Choppers. It’s the new album Be Ready, his second, that has got us a little bit excited. Originally conceived in an empty house in the Spanish desert the songs themselves were recorded back in London with Ben Hillier (Depeche Mode, Blur, Doves). There’s an undeniably soundtrack feel to parts of Ben’s work ; rather like previously blogged Lana Del Rey we could envisage a Dennis Hopper Choppers song featuring in a Tarantino film. Nicholls voice in particular is outstanding and elegant mix of Scott Walker, Nick Cave and Richard Hawley topped off with strings, twangy guitars and organ. It’s not going to set the Top 40 on fire but given the right exposure we could imagine Dennis Hoppers Choppers finding an appreciative audience in much the same way as an artist like Seasick Steve did a few years ago – Later With Jools Holland appearance anyone ?Good To Me by Dennis Hopper Choppers