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From Knights Inns To The Westin: the Hotel Evolution of Ben Folds Five

October 24, 2012 at 9:14 AM | by | ()

As Starwood hotel openings go, we've seen some pretty wild (and occasionally nerdy) parties. But the one at Westin New York Grand Central last Friday seemed extra special.

About a dozen Westin heavenly beds were hauled up to the hotel's third floor ballroom, where select SPG members got cozy and settled in for a private performance by indie trio Ben Folds Five. It's not every day you get to watch a live concert in bed!

But that wasn't the only exciting thing about the grand opening. Earlier in the day, HotelChatter got to sit down for an exclusive interview with the band and quiz them on their early days in the 90s as motel-hopping road warriors. Sure enough, they had plenty of stories to share...

HotelChatter: When you guys were just starting out and traveling to different cities each night, what was it like? Where would you stay?

Ben Folds: The Knight's Inn. Usually, one of us would book the room as if it was just for one person, and the others would hide out in the van and wait. The reason being, if there was more than one of us, the price would go up. So then we'd get into the room; someone would share a bed, I usually blew up a mattress and slept on the floor.

HC:: And how much did you have to pay?

BF: $39.95 usually. We would use whatever cash we'd gotten from the night before.

Life at a Red Roof Inn ain't easy...as we well know

HC:: What is that lifestyle like, bouncing from one motel to the next?

BF: It's rough! It's for kids, man.

Robert Sledge: Once you get past a certain age, you're just sort of degrading physically. You cannot sleep on a floor and get two nights' sleep and then go rock the house. It's just not gonna happen. When I was younger, I used to make fun of old people who had to have comfortable beds. Now, I totally understand.

HC:: What did you graduate to after Knights Inn?

BF: Red Roof Inn and Howard Johnson. The reason we liked HoJos is that they never charged for anything extra, like internet. And they were usually fairly close to airports. So, yeah, HoJos were the next step up.

HC:: Of the many, many places you've stayed, are there any hotels that stand out?

RS: The Columbia Hotel in London was always amazing for me just because of the sheer scale of the place. It's a rock and roll hotel.

BF: The rooms are teeny and kinda gnarly but it was an interesting place. I remember Liam Gallagher getting kicked out for fighting one night.

RS: One time, at 3am when I desperately needed sleep and I was totally jet lagged, the night clerk opened the door to my room. He stepped onto the foot of my bed, went above my head and changed the fuse. He said, 'Pardon me sir, good night sir.' That actually happened. I was totally freaked out the next day when I realized that it wasn't a dream.

[Photos: HotelChatter]

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