Benjamin Booker performs live in The Current studio

Benjamin Booker performs "Violent Shiver" in The Current studios. (MPR Video / Nate Ryan)
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Benjamin Booker performs in The Current studio (full interview and music)
| 19:51
  • Benjamin Booker performs in The Current studio (full interview and music) 19:51
  • Benjamin Booker, 'Have You Seen My Son' performed at The Current 04:54
  • Benjamin Booker, 'Violent Shiver' performed at The Current 02:38
  • Benjamin Booker, 'Happy Home' performed at The Current 04:27

It's an oversimplified scenario often depicted on television or in films: A record executive goes to a gig, hears a kid who shows promise and offers that kid a contract on the spot.

But such things don't happen in real life, right?

For Benjamin Booker, it did: Booker and his friend, drummer Max Norton, were playing a show in Florida. On a tip generated by blogs and satellite-radio airplay, ATO Records General Manager Jon Salter flew down to Florida. At the end of the 30-minute set, Booker was signed to a record deal.

At the time, Booker was working as a record-store clerk. Now, he (and a growing legion of fans) are awaiting the Aug. 19 release of his debut self-titled album.

On tour supporting the highly anticipated album, Booker stopped in to The Current studios to talk to New Hot host David Safar and to play a few songs before playing a sold-out show at the Varsity Theater, opening for Courtney Barnett.

The meteoric rise has left Booker slightly bemused. He and Norton (along with bassist Alex Spoto) expected to play the small-club circuit for a couple years. "Things have been picking up really fast," Booker says.

On April 30, Booker made his national television debut, with an appearance on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman, an experience so nerve-wracking for the band, Booker describes it as "horrifying."

Listen to the full interview to hear more about how Booker went from a few demos on his sister's laptop to new sensation, how he writes songs, and how touring hasn't exactly been the smoothest journey so far.

Songs Performed


"Have You Seen My Son"
"Violent Shiver"
"Happy Home"

All songs off Benjamin Booker's forthcoming, self-titled album, out Aug. 19, on ATO Records.

Hosted by David Safar
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Michael DeMark and Wesley Berger
Web feature by Luke Taylor

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  • Courtney Barnett performs live in The Current studio Before making her Minnesota debut with a sold out show at the Varsity Theater, Aussie Courtney Barnett stopped by The Current studios to perform a few songs off <em>A Sea of Split Peas</em>. Between songs, Barnett and host Mark Wheat talked about her charming, quirky lyrics, what it was like touring with Billy Bragg and, of course, the World Cup.

10 Photos

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    Benjamin Booker performs in The Current studio (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
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    Benjamin Booker performs in The Current studio (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • 74890b 20140630 benjamin booker 10
    Benjamin Booker's bassist Alex Spoto (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • B0d57d 20140630 benjamin booker 11
    Benjamin Booker performs in The Current studio (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • 890fcb 20140630 benjamin booker 12
    Benjamin Booker performs in The Current studio (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • 4c7d7c 20140630 benjamin booker 13
    Benjamin Booker's bassist, Alex Spoto. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • 5e8b04 20140630 benjamin booker 14
    Benjamin Booker performs in The Current studio (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • 96303b 20140630 benjamin booker 15
    Benjamin Booker's drummer, Max Norton (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Ea74e9 20140630 benjamin booker 16
    Benjamin Booker tunes up in The Current's studio (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • 567fc1 20140630 benjamin booker 1
    Benjamin Booker (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)

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