Off The Record is a recurring feature here on the Drunkard that marries two of my greatest interests; music and travel. Having a locals perspective when visiting a new locale is the difference between experiencing it through the lens of a tourist and of that of a native.

Off The Record gathers some of my favorite artists, asks them to reflect on their city of residence, and choose a handful of places they could not live without, be them bookstores, bars, restaurants or vistas.

Benji Hughes has a) a ginormous beard, b) flowing Leon Russell circa ’71 hair, and c) a new, funkyass, double-disc album out on the New West label. He may have recorded A Love Extreme here in the Silver Lake neighborhood of L.A., but Hughes hangs his hat in Charlotte, NC. Below, Benji takes us on a tour of his Queen City.

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The Plaza Midwood area :: Everything I need (for the most part) is here. This area spanning a few blocks is the true heart of Charlotte to me. I will list a few spots to try and paint a picture of whats going on. There are boutiques where pretty girls sell clothes to other pretty girls (Boris + Natasha). Do you need some of that bark from Africa they say gets you going and some incense to mack the vibe out? (House of Africa) would you like a delicious old school cheeseburger? Crinkle cut fries? (Penguin) I won’t turn this into an advertisement for every shop and restaurant, but there are plenty more great places to eat and hang out. I do have to mention a couple more attractions in the neighborhood.

McClintock :: This street (technically a road) is the stuff of legend. I lived there for about eight years, and although I don’t live there anymore, I still do. You know what I mean? So many good times have gone down on that street( technically a road) its still glowing. super cool people still live on that street(technically a road)and the good times roll on. It was like that before I got there and I hope it never stops. McClintock, I love you.

Snug Harbor :: A pirate bar with live music two hours inland from the closest ocean (depending on how fast you drive). Rough customers? sometimes. Bad times? Never!

Petras :: A piano bar. Need I say more? If you can’t have fun in a piano bar I feel sorry for whoever has to spend time around you. And they do have to spend time with you, it’s not voluntary; i.e. loveless marriage, relative, co-worker…you get the picture. It’s not too late! Lighten up!

Like any awesome neighborhood anywhere, what really makes this place so special is the people. All kinds of people living together. Laughing, crying, loving , touching, squeezing each other. Hold on! Did I just bust out some Journey? I’m pretty sure I did. Oh yeah, it happened. I set you up. You thought I was getting all cheesy on you, then boom! Journey! He shoots, he scores! Who’s crying now??

P.S. – Here’s a few more spots outside of the immediate neighborhood.

Los Margaritas :: delicious Mexican restaurant with wonderful ladies shooting out awesome vibes.pico de gallo so good, i barely touch my salsa! aye,aye,aye!

The Westin :: I will have a room up high please, with a view of downtown. Will you please bring up a refrigerator for my champagne? Thank you.

Frontiers :: when the lights go down in the city, this is the place to be! I made this place up just to remind you that I could drop some journey on you. Don’t stop believing it could happen!

MP3: Benji Hughes :: I Went With Some Friends To See The Flaming Lips
MP3: Benji Hughes :: Why Do These Parties Always End The Same Way?
Amazon: Benji Hughes – A Love Extreme

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8 Responses to “Off The Record :: Benji Hughes (Charlotte, NC)”

  1. It’s “ladies,” not “lady’s.” Sheesh.

  2. Will you ever stop favoring those with beards over those without??? Equality, man.

  3. He sounds like a hippie Beck…

  4. The Penguin is a great place to get some fried pickles and a veggie burger. Mmm, mmm.

  5. He’s hipper than Beck any day of the week. Hell, the’s the fuckin Love Supreme!

  6. […] related entries in the Off The Record series from the Bowerbirds (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill) and Benji Hughes (Charlotte), but a city that is often overlooked despite its historical significance (Battle of […]

  7. Lived there for a time, I suppose if you grew up in the middle of nowhere North Carolina it seems awesome, but anyone who’s lived somewhere genuinely urban will find the whole neighborhood a sad parody filled with people who act like they’re hot shit living in the Village or something.

  8. […] back in 2008, Benji Hughes released a genuinely weird and supremely pleasurable record called A Love Extreme. It was, in all […]

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