written by guest blogger Derp Herpsalot
Last week, B. Hold called and asked me to write a brief bio of him for the Steppin Razor blog. It was around 4 in the morning when my phone rang, and B explained that he always gets up so early to milk his neighbors and gather the flying squirrel eggs. He rambled on for several minutes, snoring intermittently, and barely conveyed his reason for calling: since he had written the blog posts about James, Johnny, and Mark, the band wanted someone else – someone with no knowledge whatsoever of who or what Steppin Razor is – to write Ben’s bio. Since then, I have been familiarizing myself with the band’s music, and it’s okay, I guess. But what really impressed me as I talked to band members was their high regard for one another as individuals, a respect that is unashamed of the most personally revealing information.
James Hoy, for example, offered a graphic account of Ben’s first attempt at colon-cleansing:
We were loading in for our weekly Wednesday gig at Spence Cafe in West Chester, and Ben was the last to arrive, as usual. He came in haste, almost crashing into the dumpster, yelling something about how he might have soiled his pants with falafel and rancid apple juice. Luckily, his boxer shorts intercepted most of the mess, but he was left with rotted bean curd sepia colored pantaloons, and no change of clothes with him that night. I had to stand behind him when we played at Spence back then, and believe me, it was a struggle to get through three whole sets on that fateful reggae night.
Since then, B always brings extra pants and underwear, his fiber-rich diet making this absolutely necessary. He admits to being a chronic sharter, but he says, “It’s nothing a little handful of Gold Bond can’t absorb.” Ben was even offered an endorsement deal from Gold Bond on one occasion, but declined when he was told that he wouldn’t be allowed to demonstrate in commercials how he applies the medicated powder. Still, everyone who knows B. Hold the Sharter considers his name synonymous with Gold Bond. John Myers recalls of the aforementioned reggae night,
On the third day after the shart of Bean, a Gold Bond sticker arose from the depths of the dumpster of Spence and was placed on the steering wheel of my chariot to remind me of the events that had taken place….and there it still lies, withered and torn, but untouched, as it is the holiest of Gold Bond stickers.
Mark Patterson spoke fondly of another of B. Hold’s famous tendencies: falling asleep whenever something awesome is happening. Whether it’s a great song on the radio, a triple rainbow, or James doing a Jack Daniels-induced chicken dance on Johnny’s face,
…he just passes out. Maybe he has narcolepsy or something, I don’t know, but this one time, we had a dance party at the old Steppin Razor beach house, and as soon as everybody started dancing, B. Hold passed out and teleported himself to his bedroom. After a few hours, we wanted to wake him up to join us, so we shouted, “To B. Hold’s room!” and charged in. Somebody placed a magic 8-ball on his chest, waking Ben up quickly, but this proved fatal. And this other time, we were all riding in the van rocking out to Lady Gaga or SOJA or something, and Ben passed out and started snoring really loud. James took a picture of Ben that time, and oh man, it looks like a dead version of that Chicken Lover guy from that one episode of South Park. It’s hilarious, but sometimes I feel bad that he always misses out on the awesome stuff that we all get to experience. But then I stop feeling bad because it’s hilarious.
B. Hold also considers himself something of an anthropologist, always reading things that nobody cares about and traveling to other parts of the world to poke his nose into other people’s business, thinking that he can somehow live up to his motto, “Do Good,” that he stole from somebody in Jamaica. Everywhere he goes, he carries around something to write with, convinced that he will eventually capture a brilliant idea on paper. One of his old notebooks was intended for this purpose, but it came to be used by all of the band members for jotting down random thoughts. This “Black Book,” as it is affectionately called among the Steppin Razor family, contains top secret information, most of which is written in Sarlacc language, B. Hold being one of the few people on earth who can still decode this ancient alphabet.
For all of his quirkiness and repulsive characteristics, the other three members of Steppin Razor have grown rather fond of B. Hold since the bassist first joined the band as a “bongo apprentice and triangle smasher.” Hoy recalls one of the happiest evenings of his life, “I was over at Ben’s bungalow, showing him some scratch tracks I had recorded – which eventually became ‘Against the Current’ and ‘Rise Up’ – and he made this ridiculously good adult beverage that he called ‘Vitamin Drunker,’ which was basically just cheap cheap vodka and orange juice, maybe some of those squirrel eggs, I don’t know, but it was gooood.”
B. Hold, whose contributions to the new Steppin Razor album include “All Dem Have” (below) among others, currently lives in Big Beaver, Pennsylvania with his cat and five children. He works for the CIA and none of the above is entirely true.