Ben Folds Reveals Album Details, Unretires “Bitches Ain’t Shit”

The last we heard from Ben Folds, he was at Bonnaroo with Amrit, premiering new tracks and retiring others. Since then, a Folds interview in Paste lets us know that the new album Way To Normal, the first since 2005’s Songs For Silverman, is out 9/16 on Epic and that it was produced by Dennis Herring. In a Paste news story about the album we’re also told:

Notable tracks include a quirky duet with Regina Spektor called “You Don’t Know Me” and a glitchy sonic experiment called “Free Coffee” on which Folds gets a crackling faux-electronic effect by taping Altoids cans to the strings of his acoustic grand piano and running that sound through a distortion pedal.

The cheeky irreverence that’s become Folds’ trademark is still on full display in tunes like “Bitch Went Nuts,” which tells the fictional story of a relationship that went south after the narrator’s lover goes psycho and stabs his basketball. According to Folds, the song is a comment on the male perspective. “If you ask loads of women what went wrong in a relationship, they’re going to give you a variety of answers. But you ask men, especially at a bar somewhere, and they’re gonna go, ‘Uh, bitch went nuts!'”

At Bonnaroo there was “Free Coffee” down to the Altoids container, video of that track along with other newbies “Errant Dog” and “Hiroshima,” and the bad news (and, again, video to prove it) that TN served as the retirement home of Ben’s cover of Dr. Dre’s “Bitches Ain’t Shit.” Until Ben decided to sing it again.

Paste: How did your Glastonbury set go?

Folds: It was pretty good. The only rain during the festival happened right before our set — it just pissed down rain — and stopped when the set finished. So, uh, that wasn’t too cool, but it was pretty good.

Paste: Did you stay true to the oath you made onstage at Bonnaroo and keep “Bitches Ain’t Shit” in retirement?

Folds: Oh no, we brought it out of retirement.

Paste: So it’s now the Michael Jordan of your live set.

Folds: I mean, I was choked up when we retired “Bitches Ain’t Shit” at Bonnaroo, but then to bring it out of retirement like that was somehow even more moving for me. Then it went back into retirement, and then we brought it out again last night. So it’s been an emotional roller coaster.

Paste: Why did you retire it to begin with?

Folds: Well, the first time we retired it was actually a few nights before Bonnaroo. I just felt like we had played it enough. And then we were at Bonnaroo and I just looked out on the faces of all the children, and I just thought it wasn’t fair that they didn’t get to sing that. So, um, I brought it out of retirement for that. And then I felt like, when we played Glastonbury, I didn’t want to give the children of America something that I didn’t offer to the British kids too.

Paste: Understandable.

Folds: And then it’s just sort of–and then it’s just one thing leads to another and now we’re in Germany and I felt like I need to bring it out too because I didn’t want to offend the Germans.

Paste: You need to learn the song in German and actually deliver it in their native language.

Folds: Yeah, something about bitches and schlumpa, bitches and schlumpa.

I feel very white right now. Read the rest of the Q&A at Paste.

[Photo via Kerstenmarie]

Tags: Ben Folds