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January 6, 2008

Local musician to appear on Letterman

Westport's Ben Goldwasser and band to appear on Letterman

WESTPORT -- A 2001 graduate of Westport Central School will be appearing on "The Late Show With David Letterman" on Tuesday with his band MGMT.

Music has always been a part of Ben Goldwasser's life, as both of his parents, David Goldwasser and Rachel Hunter, are musically talented, as was his grandmother, Vivian Hunter, who taught him to play the piano.

While in high school, Ben played with a couple of local bands, often performing at the school and other venues.

While studying music at Wesleyan University in Middleton, Conn., Ben teamed up with Andrew Van Wyngarden, who hails from Memphis, to form MGMT (which they pronounce as "management").

On tour, they are accompanied by Hank Sullivant, Matt Asti and James Richardson.

MGMT was featured in a November Rolling Stone article as one of the top 10 new artists to watch.

Ben felt that recognition was "pretty cool. I used to read it (Rolling Stone) as a kid. It was kind of a shock. We've become a buzz band,' people are talking about us."

MGMT's first disc on the Columbia label, "Oracular Spectacular," is due to hit the music shelves Jan. 22, though it can already be accessed on iTunes.

Columbia got wind of MGMT when a friend of Ben's was interning there and played some of their music.

Rick Rubin, who has worked with or produced albums with Jay-Z, Johnny Cash, the Dixie Chicks and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, flew Ben and Andrew to Los Angeles.

Eight of the 10 tracks MGMT supplied appealed to the music-talent guru. Initially, Ben and Andrew thought Rubin's call was a joke and were not particularly receptive to the idea.

Since their meeting, Columbia has financed MGMT on several tours, including one in Europe.

In January, after the "Letterman Show," the band will embark on a tour that will take them to Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and several other cities.

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