Benjamin Curtis (September 23, 1978 – December 29, 2013) was an American guitarist, drummer, and songwriter. He was a founding member of the bands Secret Machines, School of Seven Bells, and UFOFU. He was also drummer for the band Tripping Daisy from 1997 to 1999.
Curtis was a member of School of Seven Bells, in which he sang and played multiple instruments. Benjamin was the guitarist and backing vocalist for the rock band The Secret Machines until March 2007, when, according to the band's website, he left to pursue a career in School of Seven Bells, previously his side project. Before the Secret Machines, he was the drummer for the Dallas alternative rock band Tripping Daisy, from 1997 to their disbandment in 1999. Prior to that, he was the drummer for UFOFU from 1993 to 1997, with his brother Brandon Curtis, who plays bass guitar and keyboards, also later for The Secret Machines.
Curtis cited guitarists such as Michael Rother, Yoshimi P-We, and The Edge of U2 as some of his primary influences on guitar. He played a heavily effects-laden spacy style of guitar, reminiscent of late 1960s and early 1970s psychedelic rock.
Curtis was in a relationship with his School of Seven Bells bandmate Alejandra Deheza from 2005 until 2010. The pair remained close friends and bandmates until Curtis' death. In the liner notes for School of Seven Bells' final album SVIIB, Deheza refers to Curtis as her "best friend and soulmate."
Illness and death
Curtis announced in late February 2013 that he had been diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma. A benefit concert was held in New York in August 2013 and included performances by members of the Strokes and Interpol. Curtis died on December 29, 2013 at Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center in New York. He was 35.