Ben's been involved in the music business since first performing on a stage when 8-years-old in his home town of Innisfail - FNQ. Much like his life that performance was full of mistakes, but he'd not change a thing - regardless!
His formative years were spent on his family's cattle property in Far North Queensland tropical hinterlands and he finished formal schooling in Brisbane in the mid 80's. He learnt classical piano at the FNQ Conservatorium of Music and was involved in local musical theatre and opera performances throughout his youth. During this time he also had a brief stint as a child-actor performing the lead role in AB Facey's "A Fortunate Life" 1984 (PBL) which was televised as a mini-series on Channel 9. It was following this unique experience that he realised that music was his true passion, and an enjoyment of behind-the-scenes production roles.
After completing his BA in Film and Media Production (Griffith Univeristy - Qld) he commenced collaborations with several local bands and during this period started to explore playing the live music scene in Brisbane and beyond. He's since performed as frontman &/or guitarist in various originals bands including 1990 Qld Rock Award winners Leather Zen, SA Best New Artist nominee Snapperhead 1997-2003, pre internet guitar pop extraordinaires The Kites 2003-2007, Ghost Chasers 2011-2013 (USA) and has performed solo on stages across Australia, UK, Germany, USA, Canada and Brazil. Support highlights include Suzi Quattro, Boom Crash Opera, Nick Barker and the Reptiles and Tex Perkins, along the way.
Ben spent the majority of the 90's working professionally in musical instrument and consumer electronics retail and doing production work on the side. During this time he commenced regularly mixing local originals and cover bands, after relocating to Adelaide from Brisbane in 1994. He became a regular on-call FOH operator at venues including The Exeter, The Austral, The Gov, Crown & Anchor, Crown & Sceptre and The Wheatsheaf Hotel. He toured much of country SA and east coast Australia as FOH/MON tech with legendary Adelaide celtic punk band Whiplash. He also became the go-to FOH sound guy for several SA Folk Festivals. He operated the first live festival digital console mix in SA - the first of many.
In 2001 began focussing on his sales and management skills and accepted and opportunity to take the role of National Sales Manager with music technology importer Intelliware Australia P/L. He held key product management roles for MOTU, Cakewalk, PG Music, Hosa Technology, Sonic Foundry, Applied Acoustic Systems and Primacoustic. He was a key member of a very successful sales team in establishing brands such as Sibelius and Rising Software on the "must have" musical technology map for schools, students and educators.
He was deeply involved in developing new licensing strategies that broke down old rules that finally allowed students the ability to access software that had previously been unobtainable due to significant cost. The absolute best cutting edge music education and production software became available to all. From 2005-2007 he migrated to a role with notation and eduation software developer Sibelius AU (AVID) as National Retail Sales Manager where he worked with retailers nationwide to on-sell singular software licensing products. During this period he continued to freelance and maintain stage chops as Stage-1 and lead backline tech during the glory years of WOMADELAIDE (1995-2007). He enjoyed developing close workiong relationships with artists as diverse as Salif Keeta, Shooglenifty, Kronos Quartet and Trilok Gurtu - to name a modest few.
In early 2007 he left Australia with his young family to live in Orange County, California where he was based for the next 7+ years. He landed a Director of International Sales & Operations role with Hosa Technology, Zaolla Silverline and Da-Cappo Micro Microphones 2007-2011 selling into major US and international musical instrument markets. He worked closely in providing effecient and detailed product and marketing EDI with retailers such as Best Buy, Guitar Centre, Sweetwater, Full Compass, SoundHouse, Thomann and a worldwide network of pro audio distributors. Wanting a change from cable sales and network admin responsibilities he then accepted a 2-year stint as Røde Microphones and Event Electronics International Sales Manager while the company restructured and eventually closed it's Carpenteria, CA based operation in late 2013.
Tiring (literally!) of the jetset lifestyle Sweeney then decided to get his hands dirty again and follow his true passion - live performance & production. He spent the next 12 months playing LA and OC bars, and working with premier LA based production labour team Bigger Hammer. Here he gained further major live and televised event experience and skills working with artists as diverse as Britney Spears, Kanye West, Pearl Jam, Katy Perry, Demi Lovato, Tom Petty (RIP !!!), and many many more. He has literally rolled out the red carpet for the Golden Globes, had Nusrat Fati Ali Kahn rest on his sofa and placed Miriam Makeeba's slippers on her feet. He certainly has some fun stories from his gigging war chest.
In late 2014 he relocated back to Adelaide for family and commenced operations of Music City Hire. He took on the management of John Reynold's Music City hire equipment and during the next 3.5 years he started to collaborate frequently with Jono & Beth Adey (Adelaide Backline) while reconnecting with his local network of industry pals and peers. Importantly he gained current operational certifications with MR truck, Forklift and Telehandler licenses plus Advanced First Aid and Fire Fighting accreditations. He enjoyed taking on core crew and production coordination roles with Adelaide Fringe Festival, Adelaide Film Festival and Hybrid World Festival and worked as an associate of Malones Transport Services who handle Adelaide Symphony Orchestra's logistics.
Ben freelances as a FOH audio operator, stage hand and tour manager and often assists local and regional AV companies, schools and community groups in their corporate, music and theatrical events.
Jono approached Ben in early 2018 to to discuss interest in taking over the assets and clients of Adelaide Backline. Ben's good mate and fellow band member Peter Spooner got wind and wanted in. Adelaide Backline & Production Hire was born of this collaboration with an expanded array of equipment and services. The rest as they say...well Ben likes to say "I make shit happen". He does indeed!
...is completely exhausted after reading that. Look him up on Facebook and/or LinkedIn to get a bit of the backstory. Or wait for the book, it's slowly forming.