An interview with Ben Schigel of Sw1tched
by Jason Savage - July 2001
I recently caught up with Ben Schigel, vocalist for up and comers, Sw1tched.
These metal veterans have been tearing up the local metal scene in Cleveland for the last several years with
some members playing in other bands. New bassist Jason French joins rhythm guitarist Joey
"Blaze" Schigel, guitarist Bradley "Chester" Kochmit and drummer Chad Szeliga, bringing forth an
interesting concoction of metal influences. These run the gamut from Alice in Chains to Rush, Van
Halen, Korn, King's X, Prong and King Diamond.
Fresh off a tour with RoadRunner heavy hitters Fear Factory, Spineshank, Chimaira and Ill Nino, Sw1tched continue their onslaught on this summer's Van's Warped Tour. If you haven't heard of these guys yet, you will have by the end of summer, as they make a name for themselves along the tour trail.
And now, I give you Ben ...
Rough Edge: So how is the current tour with Spineshank going?
Ben Schigel: Great, the fans have been really supportive, and all the bands are really cool guys, lot of fun.
Rough Edge: I see you guys are on the Vans Warped Tour also. That must make for some great exposure for you guys ...
Ben: Definitely, good chance to play for a wide variety of people, and spread the Sw1tched word.
Rough Edge: For those of us that aren't familiar with Sw1tched, tell us when and where you got together and how you came up with your name and what drives you to play the type of music you do? What does the music mean to you?
Ben: Sw1tched is from Cleveland, Ohio, and we were just a bunch of guys that were music fans that wanted to jam in our own band. Joe came up with the name because we were sw1tching our band name every other day, it just fit. We grew up listening to metal, so it was just fitting to play that type of music, but we all like good songs that are melodic so we just cross-breeded it together. Music is my life, so it means everything to me.
Rough Edge: This question may be the ultimate cliché but who are your influences?
Ben: Van Halen, Slayer, Megadeth, Rush, Pantera, Alice in Chains, anything good.
Rough Edge: Tell me about your song writing process. Where do you get inspiration from?
Ben: Personal experiences, different songs depend on the mood you're in when you write the song. If you're in high energy mode its gonna come out like the song "Anymore," or if you're mellow, you write something more laid back.
Rough Edge: Metal has recently had a resurgence. What is your take on the state of metal for the new millennium? What new bands to you especially like to jam?
Ben: I think there is a lot of cool bands out there, and if the fans are there, it should continue success. I personally like Spineshank, Alien Ant Farm, Fear Factory, Chimaira, and a few more that have slipped my mind, my bad!
Rough Edge: If you could meet any person, be it a musician an actor or anyone in general, who would that be?
Ben: Chris Tucker, he's funny as fuck!!!!
Rough Edge: If I were riding with you in your car, what CD would you be playing not
Ben: I don't have a car, but probably sports radio.
Rough Edge: Besides songwriting, or anything band related, what keeps you busy during your off days or in between tours?
Ben: Drinking and partying, throwin' around the ole football.
Rough Edge: Our readers are always interested in stories from the road. What is the most interesting story, fan you have encountered or say, embarrassing moment that you may have experienced thus far?
Ben: We were in Phoenix and we left our trailer open and everything fell out, and a bunch of fans saw it and grabbed our shit and returned it for us, thank God! After that we got in a car accident, go figure.
Rough Edge: Is leading the rock star life what you envisioned or is it more work than you ever imagined?
Ben: I really don't consider myself a rock star, but it's fun, the work is there, but it's fun work.
Rough Edge: What is your favorite album, song or band of all time?
Ben: Don't have one sorry, I like too many different things.
Rough Edge: Here is your chance to make a difference. What bit of advice would you give new bands? Also, if you could come up with a quote that really touched base on your beliefs, what would that quote be?
Ben: First off, just keep playin', and play music you love, my quote would be: "Know yourself!"
Rough Edge: Being from Cleveland, have you ever met Drew Carey and are you a Browns and Indians fan?
Ben: Definitely a huge Indians, and Browns fan, I watch as many games as I can.
Rough Edge: What is your favorite movie and TV show?
Ben: I don't watch TV, but my favorite movie is "Coming to America."
Rough Edge: What are your views on how music seems to get blamed for teen suicide, murder or violence. One example would be Marilyn Manson's plight with the tragedy at Columbine. Do you honestly think that music can be blamed for irresponsible actions or is it just bad parenting?
Ben: I think it all depends on the parenting, not the music, that's an excuse.
Rough Edge: If you were the President of The United States what would you change or what laws would you change?
Ben: Who knows, that's why I'm not a politician, maybe legalize marijuana!
Rough Edge: Thanks a lot,
Ben, for your time. I hope to see you guys again on your next tour and I can't wait to pick up your CD. For more info on Sw1tched go
and be sure to pick up their new CD September 11th entitled "Subject to Change." ( which is ironic because
it was originally supposed to be released July 17th!!)
Ben: Thank you bro.
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Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:09 -0400.