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Replay: Ben Folds on making music, making mistakes, and building a creative life

This episode is a replay of a conversation I had with musician Ben Folds in 2019. He came to our studios at WFAE before playing a concert in Charlotte that night. He was one of the last people I interviewed in-studio before COVID arrived and we started doing these episodes remotely.


Folds is back on tour now, doing shows in Raleigh, Charlotte and Atlanta in November.

At the time we talked, his book “A Dream About Lightning Bugs: A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons” had just come out. He spent a lot of time reflecting on how his temper and immaturity nearly derailed his musical gifts.

His story is really about becoming the person that his work said he could be. Maybe there’s a lesson there for a lot of us.

Show notes:

Ben Folds music in this episode:

  • "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces"
  • "Boxing"
  • "Phone In a Pool"
  • "Rock This Bitch"
  • "Emaline"
Tommy Tomlinson has hosted the podcast SouthBound for WFAE since 2017. He also does a commentary, On My Mind, which airs every Monday.