School of Seven Bells/Secret Machines’ Benjamin Curtis Mourned
Fans are reeling from the death of Benjamin Curtis, who died Dec. 29 of complications from lymphatic cancer at the age of 35.
Despite his relatively young age, Curtis made his mark with three bands, most recently as a guitarist in dream-pop outfit School of Seven Bells and Led Zeppelin-like hard-rockers Secret Machines from 2000-2007, and as a drummer in psych-rockers Tripping Daisy from 1997-1999.
Secret Machines opened for U2 on its Vertigo Tour in Mexico in 2006 after the Edge told Uncut magazine that the band's 2004 effort Now Here is Nowhere was "the last record he fell in love with." The Edge later admitted that Curtis hipped him to a new effects pedal that he used on U2's 2009 album No Line on the Horizon.
Daniel Kessler, guitarist/vocalist of New York-based Interpol, took to the band's Twitter account on New Year's Eve to offer his condolences. "You'll be tremendously missed Benjamin Curtis. You were truly one of a kind," he wrote. "My love goes out to the Curtis family."
Kessler's Interpol bandmate Paul Banks, the Strokes' Albert Hammond Jr. and others played a benefit in New York to help pay for Curtis' medical bills in August.
Since the band announced Curtis' death on Dec. 30 on its Facebook page, nearly 2,000 fans have left messages of condolences, although the band requested that "any inquiries, well wishes, or notes-of-consolation be sent through School of Seven Bells' management [firstname.lastname@example.org], where it can be shared with them at the suitable time."
"Glad he came to Earth," wrote fan Corey Graves. "His music changed my life." Another fan, Darin Pond, wrote, "R.I.P. Benjamin, You have been a part of my life since I was 13. [You will be] sorely missed."
Although mass commercial success alluded Curtis during his career, his work was critically acclaimed, influential, and especially appreciated by his indie rock peers. Back in October, Filter magazine published messages of support to Curtis from the Silversun Pickups' Brian Aubert, the Afghan Whigs' Greg Dulli, the Cocteau Twins' Robin Guthrie, and the Polyphonic Spree's Tim DeLaughter, who played with Curtis in Tripping Daisy, and others.