January 2008: Robert Silverstein, editor of 20th Century Guitar & mwe3.com (New York)
Press for live performances
Matthew Frederick of EG (The Age - Melbourne)
Daniel Gregson of EG (The Age - Melbourne) caught the band at a recent performance at the Clifton Hill "Acoustic Sessions": "Gig Guide caught Instrumental Asylum (as opposed to being admitted) on Wednesday June 14 at the Clifton, and if you dig rockin' surf guitar a la Dick Dale and via Melbourne, you'll dig this outfit fronted by Ben Rogers. Featuring the ever reliable Denis Close in the engine room, the trio tore up the stage calling into question the "acoustic" focus of the night, but damn, the feet were stomping."
Phil Dirt, Reverb Central (Santa Cruz, USA):
"KangaRoux" is a loud and catchy riff rocker that's commanding and cool. Great drums and a very big sound.
This version of "House Of The Rising Sun" is based on the Animals' cover, but it has completely different sound and fury. Huge guitar, intense energy, and very emotional. Very bluesy and intense.
"Surfing The Synchrotron" is a large sounding number with a great bridge, big whammy chords, and a bluesy edge. Its power is unmistakable.
"Sandy Feet" is a blues rockin' romp with intense sound.
Django Reinhardt's "Nuages" is done in huge electric blues fashion. Intense edge and sustain, along with string bending gives it a sort of spy feeling.
"Stomping At Steves" is a thoroughly delightful cowboy number with a great beat and infectious cowboy rhythm, plus surf glissandos and a decidedly happy face. ... This is a great track!
"Loved Another Woman": This is a lush slow blues from Peter Green. It's quite liquid sounding, with a sinewy guitar and gentle primal drums and bass.
This is a very loud version of Santo and Johnny's "Sleep Walk." Not at all sinewy and romantic, but certainly late night. Think of it as having a slightly dangerous aura, being a bit atmospheric, but not being gentle.
BLAZZ - Any guitarist that cites Django, Hank and Peter Green as big influences gets my ear. On the 18 track, 2006 CD from the Australia-based Ben Rogers’ Instrumental Asylum jettisons the gypsy jazz intrigue of Django Reinhardt in favor of the excitement of trendy beat group sounds of the Shadows and Sandals, Duane Eddy. Ben’s nimble fretboard work on “Medina Wedding Blues” would put a smile on Peter Green’s face! With his group’s new CD, Welcome To Instrumental Asylum, guitar ace Ben Rogers brings the rock instrumental sound solidly into the now. Guitar instrumental music is and always was huge in Australia—Hank Marvin lives there today—and interestingly over the past decade original Aussie instro rockers The Atlantics, Kim Humphreys and other up and coming bands are out there keeping the R.I. sound alive downunder. Welcome To Instrumental Asylum is a real treat for ‘60s guitar freaks.
Peter Thomas, Big Beat of the 50s, Australia wrote:
Instrumental dynamite…the 18 tracks are equally divided between instrumental classics and some truly exciting and original compositions…pay homage to their inspirations but they add their own distinctive tough edge…rockin’ originals such as Stomping at Steve’s make this a must-have CD for fans of guitar instrumentals.
Phil Drew, The Record, Albany, New York wrote:
Alongside faithful recreations of classics such as "Pipeline" and "Apache" and his own originals ("Surfing the Synchrotron", the title a nod to Scarlett's day job as a scientist) that echo them, the Welcome to the Instrumental Asylum CD hints at Rogers' broader influences. There is a bluesy rethink of "St James Infirmary"; a "House of the Rising Sun" that might have been played by Carlos Santana; a Rogers original, "KangaRoux" that seems to channel Jeff Beck; a cover of Django Reinhardt's "Nuages" that dusts off the swing jazz classic with serious rock attitude.
Greg Haymes, Times Union, Troy, New York wrote the following:
Down Under guitarslinger
Hailing from Australia, guitar player Ben Rogers comes roaring into the Capital Region during the next couple of weeks. In addition to catching up with his old pal and fellow Aussie Al Kash, Rogers will be plugging in and cranking out some good old-fashioned rock 'n' roll while he's in town.
"Welcome to the Instrumental Asylum" is Rogers' latest album with his band, the Instrumental Asylum, and it rocks from start to finish. Along with a healthy handful of cracklin' original tunes, Rogers' power trio blasts through surf tunes (Dick Dale's "Shake 'n Stomp," the Ventures' "Walk, Don't Run"), traditional blues ("House of the Rising Sun," "Saint James Infirmary Blues") and early Fleetwood Mac gems ("I Loved Another Woman," "Fleetwood Mac") with a muscular, lovingly distorted guitar sound that would surely bring a smile to the lips of the late great Link Wray. Rogers even reinvents Django Reinhardt's classic "Nuages."