Interview: Ben Wells of Black Stone Cherry

To most, the phrase "down to earth" probably wouldn't bring to mind a band that just released a hit single called "White Trash Millionaire." Irony aside, that's just what the guys from Tennessee's Black Stone Cherry are: down to earth.

Despite the band's record sales and chart numbers going nowhere but up, you'll find nothing but humility from the BSC camp.

The band recently released their third studio album, Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, another fine slab of Southern-tinged hard rock that overhauls Lynyrd Skynyrd's sound for modern rock radio.

Guitar World recently talked to BSC guitarist Ben Wells about the band's new album, the lost art of storytelling and the importance of staying close to the fans.

GUITAR WORLD: Talk about your gear you used on Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

BEN WELLS: For my main sounds on the album I used a Fender Subsonic Tele and my Gibson Les Paul Classic. I ran 'em through a Peavey 5150 and a few other heads ... Diesel, Marshall and I believe a Bogner. As far as effects go, we used a talk box, a Leslie tremelo, an old Morley and I believe a couple different octaves and fuzz pedals. We try not to get too far out there in the effects world.

You guys started the band when you were in your teens. How have your relationships changed over the years, and how do you think the history between the band members comes through in the music?

If anything, our relationships are stronger than ever. We were very close when we first started, but now that we've toured and lived together since 2006, we've grown closer as a band and as individuals. It only makes the music stronger and bigger, I believe.

What are your thoughts on the new album getting leaked early? Is it such a given these days that you didn’t really think twice about it?

Honestly, I'm surprised it got leaked as late as it did. You have to expect that with each album you release. You can't avoid it, and sometimes it can work in your favor. You just gotta roll with it!

Compared to a lot of modern rock bands, Black Stone Cherry embrace the lost art of storytelling. Are their particular influences of yours that make that such a prevalent part of your music?

Groups like Led Zeppelin, CCR and many country groups are famous for telling stories. I think it just tends to make the music more interesting.

As the band has gotten bigger, you guys have somehow managed to stay in close touch with your fans.

We never will lose touch with our fans because we are still fans inside and at heart. They are the reason we're here, and we'll always appreciate them!

Black Stone Cherry released their third studio album, Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, earlier this week on Roadrunner Records.

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Josh Hart

Josh Hart is a former web producer and staff writer for Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado magazines (2010–2012). He has since pursued writing fiction under various pseudonyms while exploring the technical underpinnings of journalism, now serving as a senior software engineer for The Seattle Times.