Mumford and Sons: Ben Lovett talks about playing with Dylan, recording with Ray Davies, and high-fiving R. Kelly
Image Credit: Rebecca MillerIt’s been a busy few weeks for U.K. folkies Mumford & Sons. The quartet performed at the Grammys with a certain Mr Bob Dylan, won British Album of the Year at the Brit Awards for their debut release Sigh No More and saw that aforementioned platter achieve platinum status here. But Mumford keyboardist Ben Lovett still found the time to talk with EW about their recent adventures, and why he hasn’t yet bought himself that gold plated rock star jacuzzi.
Entertainment Weekly: Given your massive success, do you regret not naming the band “Lovett and Sons”?
Ben Lovett: It would have just sounded like Lyle Lovett’s side project. No, honestly, when we put the band together Marcus [Mumford, guitarist] was the one making the phone calls and getting the gigs. We never thought anyone outside of London was going to see us. The band name kind of made sense as an antiquated family business name.
What was it like playing “Maggie’s Farm” with Bob Dylan at the Grammys?
It was a huge honor. We’d been asked a few weeks earlier but they were like, ‘We haven’t confirmed who it is that you’re going to be collaborating with.’ It could have been anyone.
It could have been Lady Gaga!
Exactly. Not to say Lady Gaga isn’t great in her own right. But as a marrying of two musical styles, it probably wouldn’t work. But they said, “Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.” They were right.
Dylan is known for changing plans at the last second when he plays live. Was that a worry?
After the dress rehearsal, he did mention maybe doing it a different way. It took one of his band mates, who he’s been touring with a lot, to sort of tap him on the shoulder and go, “Man, Bob, not tonight.” So we stuck to the plan.
You also performed at Clive Davis’ pre-Grammys party alongside R. Kelly, Whitney Houston, and Cee Lo Green.
That was a really fun party. It was like a room full of musical kings and queens. The most exciting moment for me was being able to have a conversation with one of my heroes, Ray LaMontagne. To be able to sit down with Ray and have a couple of words about some of his music was perhaps the most exciting thing to happen that night.
Screw R. Kelly!
Oh no, R. Kelly was amazing. Winston [Marshall, Mumford banjo player] gave him a high five as he approached the stage. His performance was pretty wild. He’s still got it!
Last year, you recorded a track with Ray Davies for his collaborations CD See My Friends. Presumably you’re Kinks fans?
We love love love the Kinks. He was amazing. He just walked in and delivered his vocal. One take. The engineer said, “Ray, do you want to hear that back?” And he said, “No, I heard it whilst I was recording it.”
Have you splurged on anything crazy?
Not really. We are somehow yet to financially profit from what we do as a band. We’ve been working on the next record. We don’t really want to celebrate ourselves. We’re not like that as a band.
You’re really letting the side down, bad behavior-wise.
[Laughs] Yeah, apart from all the cocaine and all the prostitutes. But that’s just normal.
More from EW.com: