Benjamin Chase "Ben" Harper (born October 28, 1969) is an American musician. Harper was born in Claremont, in California's Pomona Valley. He began playing guitar as a child., complemented by regular patrons of Leonard Cohen, Taj Mahal and David Lindley and quotes of William Shakespeare and Robert Frost made often by his grandfather.
Harper's first instrument was the bass, which he started at about age 16. His first influence was the classic rock I was raised on-Zeppelin, Beatles, Hendrix, and Pink Floyd. My first band in D.C. was an emo/alternative group called Osiris. I was really inspired by D.C. punk bands like Fugazi and Bad Brains, but I never got too into the scene. By the time I left DC in '96 I was moving towards jazz, blues, and soul. His maternal grandparents' music store The Folk Music Center and Museum laid the foundation of folk and blues for the artist.
Say what you will about Ben Harper; the guy creates a sense of
community wherever he goes. Sure, he's a bit self-serious, and all
those dramatic pauses strain credibility, but it's hard to begrudge
the man his Bob Marley complex when people treat him with such
- Ted Scheinman
Ben Harper on his Maori tattoos: "Well, they're called Maori Body Art called Moko and their symbolism of thousands of years, it reflects where you've been, where you are and where you're going. Their philosophy is that its already underneath your skin and they're bringing it out from underneath you. What I love about Moko is they incorporate the skin as part of the design as much as the ink itself. I've got some that are just healing up as we speak!" "There was pain involved, but it's a part of it. A process to what it means. A sort of initiation. It's a symbol of your life... An extension of what's already beneath your skin."