1997 proved to be an extremely tough year, both personally and professionally, for many people associated with Big Beef. Topping this list of tragedies have been the deaths of our friends Tim Taylor of BRAINIAC and the sudden tragic loss of another good friend, Ben Schelker. A long-time figure on the vibrant Dayton rock scene, Ben had relocated to NYC for a time, with just recently returning to Ohio very shortly before his tragic accidental death, an event which struck many of us here very hard.
Ben was an important figure in the history of Dayton music, and was a good friend of many people in the community, especially that of Real Lulu's Kattie Dougherty. Ben's musical career started as the drummer in the near-legendary Dayton progressive "punk" band from the 80's THE UNDERDOGS (led by current Mulchman and Cage bassist Gregg Spence). He then moved to the front of the stage, where armed with his trademark Gibson SG, delivered some of the finest rock to come out of the midwest with the great OXYMORONS (whose CD "Dancing On Billy's Grave" is still one of the finest records ever to come out of Dayton, a town which has produced more than it's share of great records). Ben's solo performances also revealed a songwriting talent which, unfortunately, was cut way to short before it's true gifts could be developed and shared with the rest of the world.
We certainly feel fortunate to have known him and have the opportunity to work with him in a number of different capacities, including his brief return to the drums to record a track with Real Lulu, which is featured on their CD "We Love Nick". Ben also appeared on Big Beef's Dayton Bands Live program back in 1992, an all-night LIVE marathon show which featured a number of performances by a large cross-section of the diverse and unique sounds coming out of the area at the time. Ben appeared both on his own as well as with the aforementioned Oxymorons (some of the other bands which appeared that night included CAGE, THE PURE PLASTIC TREE, THE OBVIOUS, WALAROO SOUTH, and many more).
We certainly will miss Ben very much, and wish his family and many friends all of our best in getting through these tough times.