It’s been about seven years since the release of Ben Kweller’s last album Go Fly a Kite, marking his longest hiatus throughout his lengthy indie career. This was almost his last album as well, as he and his family were nearly “fifteen minutes away from death,” about a year after its release.
Back in 2013 Kweller and his family suffered from acute carbon monoxide poisoning during a vacation in New Mexico. Luckily Kweller’s wife woke him up, and the entire family was able escape the cabin, as health officials treated the family.
“We were in this sweet little cabin and in the middle of the night, Lizzy woke up and said, ‘Ben, get up! Something’s wrong-I feel horrible,'” Kweller explained in a press release. “I immediately jumped out of bed and collapsed to the ground. We instinctively crawled to the front door and opened it. Fresh air rushed in the cabin. I called 911. We grabbed the boys out of bed, trying to shake them awake, and managed to get everyone outside in the snow. The boys were crying and falling in and out of consciousness-it was like something out of a horror film.”
According to the paramedics that arrived the Kweller family were fifteen minutes away from passing away, and they were immediately hospitalized the following day so they could recover. Kweller cancelled all future shows following the incident, telling his team that he “was done.”
“When the ambulances arrived, they tested our blood and said our CO levels were so high, we were 15 minutes away from not waking up. Fifteen minutes!” Kwelled exclaimed.”We spent the next day in the hospital on pure oxygen and days after that feeling lethargic and mush-brained. When we got back home, I was an incapacitated zombie. I told my team to cancel everything. I was done.”
Although Kweller was able to physically recover, psychologically the event had a severe impact on him. There was a period where he believed that he would not be able to return to music.
“I just didn’t care-I didn’t want to play music anymore,” Kweller says. “I didn’t want to leave my family’s side, and for the first time in my life I was scared. When you almost die, everything changes, and all the unimportant sh*t disappears.”
After this event Kweller went silent, until June of last year, when he announced that he would be returning with a new album. Today, he announced that the new project’s title will be called Circuit Boredom.
“Luckily, I kept writing songs and they got me through some really dark places. Eventually I had 50 ready to go but I was still reluctant to start the machine back up again,” Kweller explained. “A close friend of mine called me up and said, ‘Just come over and let’s record something together. Even if it’s just a demo, maybe it’ll make you feel better.'”
Circuit Boredom is set to include many of these songs, which Kweller recorded with his friend Dwight A. Baker. Its first single “Heart Attack Kid”, will be released on February 8.
Check out our review of Kweller’s self-titled album here.