Benjamin Nicholas "Ben" Hunter Goldwasser[1] (born December 17, 1982) is a songwriter and musician in the psychedelic rock band MGMT, for which he primarily plays keyboards and sings. In 2009, his song "Electric Feel" (co-written with bandmate Andrew VanWyngarden), remixed by Justice, won a Grammy Award in the Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical category.[2] In 2010, his band was nominated for a Grammy as Best New Artist and Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.[3]

Life and career

Goldwasser was born in Mishawaka, Indiana,[4] the son of Rachel Hunter and David Goldwasser.[5][6] He was raised in Westport, New York.[2][7] Goldwasser is Jewish on his father's side.[8] When he was eleven years old, he saw Adrian Belew live in concert, and met guitarist Rob Fetters backstage.[7] He began piano lessons with his grandmother and mother, played in his high school's jazz band, and attended a "rock and roll camp" in Montpelier, Vermont.[7] One of his musical influences in high school was the electronic protopunk band Suicide.[9]

Goldwasser (Left) in 2008 with bandmate Andrew VanWyngarden

MGMT: 2004–present

Goldwasser met Andrew VanWyngarden, the other half of MGMT, in his freshman year at Wesleyan University.[10] Goldwasser was studying Music at the time.[11] While in college, he was a member of the Eclectic Society, a college fraternity.[12] He helped run the fraternity's music venue (a room in the house).[12] Goldwasser, already a keyboardist, took experimental music classes from composer Ron Kuivila with VanWyngarden which exposed them to progressive musical ideas.[13] They made their debut as MGMT at a party in a college dormitory (playing the theme to the motion picture Ghostbusters over and over for hours).[14] The duo would email one another and sign the emails "The MGMT" as a way of satirizing corporate culture.[10][15] They chose this email signature line as the name of their new band.[15]

After graduating from college in 2005,[4] Goldwasser and VanWyngarden moved to New York City, experimenting with music and building a band.[13] They immediately went on tour, starting out in Montreal.[4] But no record deal came, and the band was on hiatus by 2006.[16] Goldwasser began working on a farm and was intending to move to California when the duo was signed by Columbia Records.[15] The band's 2008 release for the label, Oracular Spectacular, was a major success.[17] However, the band's sudden success, Goldwasser says, put a serious strain on his friendship with VanWyngarden for a time.[18] The band released its second album, Congratulations, in April 2010 to generally positive reviews.[19] Additionally, in 2013, they released their third studio album, self-titled MGMT. In 2014, Ben, along with Psychedelic band Foxygen was featured on The Flaming Lips cover album, With A Little Help From My Fwends, on track 12.


  1. ^ "Songs by Writer". SESAC. Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "What's News." Burlington Free Press. February 10, 2009.
  3. ^ Sisario, Ben. "Grammys' Weight Is Now Measured In Face Time." New York Times. January 29, 2010; Peerless, Beth. "Neo-Psychedelic/Alternative Pop Band MGMT Plays Santa Cruz on May 29." Monterey County Herald. April 22, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c Couch, Rachel. "MGMT Brings the Quirks on 'Oracular'." Daily Cavalier. January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ Yannelis, Eleni (May 26, 2009). "Paternal spectacular: MGMT's Uni connection". Online Gargoyle. Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  6. ^ Reiner, Alvin (January 6, 2008). "Local musician to appear on Letterman". Press-Republican. Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c Pollak, Sally. "A Spectacular Show." Burlington Free Press. April 12, 2008.
  8. ^ Lester, Paul (March 20, 2008). "The hippies whp are hip". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved May 2, 2012. 
  9. ^ Davis, Hays. "On Time With MGMT." Richmond Times Dispatch. July 26, 2008.
  10. ^ a b Perry, Jonathan. "Year of the Brats." Boston Globe. February 8, 2008.
  11. ^ Powell, Austin. "MGMT, Yeasayer." Houston Press. January 17, 2008.
  12. ^ a b Black, Cristina. "The Wesleyan Mafia: MGMT, Boy Crisis, Amazing Baby." Village Voice. August 4, 2009.
  13. ^ a b Lanham, Tom. "MGMT Gets Down to Business at Bottom of the Hill." Inside Bay Area. January 25, 2008.
  14. ^ Danton, Eric R. "Ambitious, Ambiguous Duo." Hartford Courant. January 3, 2008.
  15. ^ a b c Donahue, Michael. "Messin' With People's Heads." The Commercial Appeal. January 11, 2008.
  16. ^ Gottlieb, Jed. "MGMT Training." Boston Herald. February 7, 2008.
  17. ^ Caballero, Martin. "MGMT's Free Online Offer Worthy of 'Congratulations'." Boston Herald. March 25, 2010.
  18. ^ Evan Haga (August 12, 2010). "MGMT summons the '60s". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved March 24, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Congratulations Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 16, 2014.