Benjamin Curtis, of Secret Machines, Tripping Daisy, UFOFU and More, Has Died

Categories: Obituaries

Justin Hollar
Benjamin Curtis (left) with School of Seven Bells
We here at DC9 at Night are extremely saddened to report the passing of Benjamin Curtis. Last night in New York, Curtis lost a year-long battle with cancer at the age of 35.

Though a native Oklahoman, Curtis was a Dallas resident and treasured member of the local music scene from the '90s well into the 2000s. In the mid-'90s, Curtis and his brother Brandon were members of local rock outfit UFOFU with Joe Butcher, before Ben left to spend a few years playing drums for Tripping Daisy. In 2000, the Curtis brothers started the spacey three-piece Secret Machines. Their debut full-length project, 2004's Now Here Is Nowhere, broke nationally to much critical acclaim. It will long be remembered as a Dallas classic.

In 2007, Curtis left the band (which by then had relocated to the Empire state) and formed School of Seven Bells with bandmate Alejandra Deheza. After he announced his T-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma diagnosis in February, musicians from Texas, Oklahoma and New York alike rallied around Curtis. The Polyphonic Spree, The Strokes, and Devendra Banhart were just a few notable names who participated in fundraising events for Curtis this year.

Curtis will be missed tremendously by the city of Dallas. In memoriam, we leave you with a quote from Polyphonic Spree's Tim Delaughter that was published in a collection of messages of hope and support for Curtis in Filter Magazine this October.

"Benny B. Sweet Benny B.

I will always, always cherish those times and the ones still to come."

See also:
-Watch: School of Seven Bells Soothes, Performs on Last Call with Carson Daly
-Secret Machines have conquered NYC. Sort of.
-College rock: UFOFU brings 'alternative' to ETSU and wins the talent show

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My best wishes and heartfelt regards go to Ben Curtis' friends and family.  Ben was an extremely talented musician.  For this 30-something, I will always remember him as the drummer of UFOFU.  And I'll never forget an Orbit Room gig they did with the Reverend Horton Heat.  During the UFOFU's set, then Rev drummer Taz Bentley, walked up to the stage, put his arms on the stage, and just stood there marveling at Ben's amazing drumming.   At the time, I thought this might be intimidating for Ben, but he didn't show it.  He just blew Taz away with his skills.   I was a bit bummed when the Curtis bros moved to NY, but have loved all the music they have produced.  Luckily for us music fans, Ben's legacy will live on through his recordings.  My new New Years Resolution:  Turn on new fans to SIIVB, UFOFU, and the Secret Machines.  

God Bless, Ben Curtis.


This is saddening.  I loved their "white album" of around 2003.  Big in Brooklyn.  Happy man, space kitten!  See the stars!  Into darkness, man!  Follow the Enterprise! 

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