Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Teaneck Native and Lead 'Armor' Singer Reflects on a Pivotal Album

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Teaneck Native and Lead 'Armor' Singer Reflects on a Pivotal Album

Article excerpt

Teaneck native Ben Jorgensen was at an early crossroads in his life a decade ago when Armor for Sleep made their pivotal second album, "What to Do When You Are Dead." "I was 19 and 20 when I wrote the album and just turned 21 when we recorded it," Jorgensen said by phone. "I was going through the breakup of my first real relationship, which was heartbreaking.

"That was mixed with the fact that I had been touring for a couple years with Armor for Sleep," said Jorgensen, the band's singer-guitarist and songwriter. "All my friends were in college while I was playing in front of five people a night. It was a very transitional period, and all those emotions converged."

The resulting emotionally charged concept album about suicide and the afterlife put Armor for Sleep on the indie-rock map and continues to resonate heavily with fans 10 years later. Armor for Sleep will mark the occasion by performing "What to Do When You Are Dead" in its entirety on a tour that kicks off Friday in Sayreville.

The road trip marks the first time the band -- which also includes drummer Nash Breen, guitarist PJ DeCicco and bassist Anthony DiIonno -- has performed since 2012.

"We played a few shows three years ago that we were expecting to be our last," Jorgensen said. "But with this year being the 10th anniversary of 'What to Do When You Are Dead,' so many of our fans were online and tweeting us about how much the album meant to them and asking that we play it.

"So we got back together and went back on our word a little bit and decided to do a little tour. It's good to know it meant so much to our fans."

"What to Do When You Are Dead's" protagonist takes his own life over a failed relationship and almost immediately regrets his action as he tries, unsuccessfully, to communicate from the great beyond with the woman he loved. Jorgensen made clear that he wasn't as despondent as the character he created.

"I really wasn't severely depressed," said Jorgensen, who now lives in Manhattan and is happily married. "I think by the end of the album the character realized there's nothing more special than the connection that we have as human beings, but it was too late. …

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