I’m going to introduce you to the youngest person we have spoken with so far on ‘Don’t Quit Your Day Job,’ but he is also the person who is currently in the most active bands. There are times I can barely manage being in one band and this man somehow balances the schedules of three different bands, a day job and still manages to have a little time left over to enjoy the finer things in life. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Mr. Ben Hilton to our show…
Josh Hurst: Age and location?
Ben Hilton: 23 years old, living in Cranston
JH: What band(s) are you in and what do you do in them?
BH: I’m in three bands currently: Death Before Dishonor out of Boston, Reason to Fight and Boxed In out of Providence. In DBD and RTF I play drums and in Boxed In I sing and write lyrics alongside my brother, Eric Hilton. All three bands are in the process of recording new music.
JH: How long have you been at this rock ‘n’ roll thing?
BH: I really discovered punk rock for myself through my brother and a Vans compilation that included bands like Rancid that really caught our attention in 2001. My brother started collecting the albums and my interest kind of fell into place from there. We started our first punk band in 2004 and played a few community centers in our area, Coventry/ West Warwick. My brother and I would go to shows as we got older, 2005-2006 at AS220, the Living Room, Lupo’s, wherever we could get in. Eventually our interests shifted to the more hardcore realm of punk and we started playing in a hardcore band called Make It Last Forever (MILF) in 2007. We played the Living Room a few times along with any place that would have us around RI, MA and CT and ended up befriending and getting booked a lot by Keith from Essence of Pain and Greg from Reason To Fight. In 2009, MILF broke up but I started playing in a band called For Tha Glory that would play Providence and Brockton frequently. In 2011, I was asked to fill in for Death Before Dishonor on a European tour by my friend and the singer of DBD, Bryan Harris. Of course, I agreed and am still so grateful for that opportunity. Eventually they picked me up as their full time drummer and they’ve taken me all around the world touring. Not long after that I started playing for Reason To Fight as well. After that, I started this new band Boxed In with members of For Tha Glory and Patterns of Myra.
JH: What do you do to pay the rent?
BH: I do general contracting, renovation and demolition with a business owner I know. Painting, sheetrock, patchwork, trim, carpentry etc.
JH: How did you end up with your current day job?
BH: I literally threw in the towel at my dishwashing job at 18 and called up a master electrician I knew, asking if he needed any help because I couldn’t take my current boss. After that, I got hooked on the contractor style of work, the change of scenery, the sense of actually getting something done. When that job fell through, Greg Chihoski of Reason To Fight helped me out for awhile, letting me help him for his company American Pride Plumbing. Two summers ago, a family friend let me know he was taking on workers for some renovation jobs he had lined up, so I accepted and since then he’s been teaching me more and more about what he knows, while letting me take the time I need off to go on tour. Thanks, Dave!
JH: What drives you to keep at music if you need to have the day job to pay bills?
BH: If I didn’t have band practices and shows to look forward to, work and bills would be a lot harder to deal with. It’s the same reason I get pumped when I see a band I love is coming to town whether I get to play the show or not. My connection to the words and music is still strong. I get told frequently how music is great and all but it doesn’t pay the bills, what I could be making with a real night job, but all I’ve ever wanted out of music is to give people the same sense of relation that I’ve had with music since I was a kid. When I play and see people feel the music and lyrics just like I did and still do, that’s all I care about.
JH: Does anything in your day job correlate to your musical endeavors?
BH: Some customers make it easy to write angry lyrics and hit the drums just a bit harder!
JH: Besides the income, what keeps you at your current “day job”?
BH: I like doing the work, and I like my boss. It sounds corny but I’ve learned a lot with this job not only about how to do certain tasks, but also about myself and what I can do. I never saw myself as a “handy” kind of guy, but now I find myself taking tasks, that maybe I would have called the landlord for before, into my own hands, and not thinking twice about how to do it.
JH: Where can anyone interested find you during your day work and/or night work?
BH: Keep your eyes out for flyers with Death Before Dishonor, Reason to Fight, or Boxed In on them. I will be at those dates and times listed. And I’m reachable through email at firstname.lastname@example.org