Orange Goblin’s Ben Ward: "I fell into the crowd and pierced a hole in my arse"
Orange Goblin’s Ben Ward on being a pro footballer, a boozy past and being “a horrible bastard” at times
Since forming Orange Goblin in 1995, Ben Ward – all six feet five inches of him – has steadily built a reputation as one of rock’s most exuberant frontmen. Fresh from a hectic weekend spent bellowing more than 700,000 punters into abject submission at Germany’s Wacken and Poland’s gigantic free Woodstock festivals, the surprisingly ‘shy and retiring’ leviathan reveals that, pierced arse or not, football’s loss was metal’s gain.
What’s the biggest public misconception about you?
People think I am how I appear on stage: a large, overbearing, confident frontman type. But when off stage I can be quite shy, retiring and like to be left alone.
What are the best and worst drugs you’ve taken?
Alcohol’s the answer to both. It gave me some of my best times and a lot of the worst. I’ve been to some dark places with booze in the past. Particularly in my early twenties when I was on the brink of alcoholism. I’ve got a lid on it now. Last year I had a self-imposed ban, two months without a drop. I never thought it possible to do an Orange Goblin tour sober, but I proved myself wrong.
What’s your biggest regret?
Most boys harbour ambitions to play professional football or front a rock band, and I’ve been fortunate enough to do both. When I left school I played football for two years at Queens Park Rangers. I had a good couple of years, but during that time I discovered heavy metal, booze and drugs, so football fell by the wayside. For the last twenty-two years I’ve can’t say I regret anything.