Ben Pu and Crew
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Ben Pu and Crew

Georgetown, Colorado, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2003 | SELF

Georgetown, Colorado, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2003
Band Alternative Blues


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Ben Pu and Crew Awarded Best Classic Rock Band at FoCoMx"

Awards: best classic rock to Ben Pu and Crew, bluegrass to Head for the Hills, best metal to Crow, world to Euforquestra #focomaawards - FoCo Mx on Twitter

"Ben Pu and Crew One of Top 3 Local Northern Colorado Bands in Tribunes Hot Picks 2010"

George Gray and his bandhave played across the state and continue to make an impression. A big band with vocalist, their biggest concert is the Christmas Show, which sells out every year. Gray said he started his Elvis tribute in 1990, when he did a Karaoke song as a joke. His voices is so close to Elvis' many think he is just lip-synching to the words. That ain't so, baby. It's George's voice. Open Fire, a local 80s hair/metal band, played to second place here and Ben Pu and Crew, a rockers band was third. - The Greeley Tribune

"Ben Pu has more more than one crew"

Ben Puchalski never thought he'd be doing what he's doing today. And yet he always thought he would be.

Puchalski, 28, took a job at the Bonell Good Samaritan Center because he was in his hometown of Greeley to unwind after graduating from Fort Lewis College in Durango. It was a way to use his psychology degree, pay off some student loans and figure out his life. He didn't think that almost six years later he would be a social worker for the seniors at Bonell, helping to guide them through injuries, illnesses or even sometimes painful or scary transitions from their houses to assisted living or long-term care.

But that's only a part of Puchalski's life. He's also a musician, in a blues rock band playing guitar. And Puchalski ALWAYS thought he'd be doing that.

Puchalski believes he was 5 when he first picked up a guitar. There was always one around the house. His father played, and his brother played, too, and when Dad saw he was interested, he gave him proper lessons, the kind out of a book with classical music. That was until Puchalski turned 10, and he heard Stevie Ray Vaughan for the first time, and that was the end of the classical music. Dad didn't mind. Vaughan's a great guitarist.

In fact, even today, Puchalski names Vaughan as one of the biggest influences of his band, Ben Pu and Crew. He and the Crew have a big gig this Saturday as one of the headliners of the Spring Fest at the Crabtree Brewing Co. in downtown Greeley. He loves playing high-energy blues rock, the kind you might hear played by Big Head Todd and the Monsters or, to a lesser extent, jam bands such as Phish.

Puchalski loved the guitar so much, by the time he was in high school, he was playing up to six hours a day, jamming and practicing and gigging. By the time he got to college, he went solo, playing acoustic jobs and singing in bars, something he still does as well as his gigs with the Crew. When he came back to Greeley, he met his current bandmates, and the lineup's been together since 2005, save for drummers who have come in and out of the group (which, as you'll remember from “This is Spinal Tap,” is pretty common). He's pleased that it's going so well. He's only working part time at Bonell, even if he does enjoy the social work.

“Supporting myself as a musician was always the goal,” he said, “and it continues to be the goal. I'm getting closer and closer.”

Music came naturally. Social work was a bit trickier. But, of course, that would be true for almost anyone. How do you help someone who's lived in their home for 55 years live in a strange new place with strange new people?

“It was kind of hit and miss at first,” Puchalski said. “I still can't really tell you what the strategy is for people.”

What he does do well, he said, is listen. Listening, more than sage advice about Medicare or anything else, is the most important thing he does in his job. It's a job he does well, said Jane Schwarz, a fellow social worker at Bonell.

“Residents and families seem to like him because he is a tender, patient and caring person,” she said. “He works well with a whole team of women, and I think this makes him a patient man.”

If Puchalski makes the residents of Bonell feel comfortable at a time when their life may be upside down, maybe that's because he's comfortable with himself. He walks around Bonell with dark shades on his head and his hair in a ponytail. Sometimes he wears bright shirts, the kind he wears when he's singing for the Crew. The residents sometimes don't know what to make of all that: Many grew up in a different era, when guys didn't have hair long enough to put in a ponytail. Then again, they also accept him for who he is.

“I think a lot of people here think my second job is pretty cool,” he said and laughed.

The social work helps pay the bills, and he does enjoy it, even if he didn't see it in his future when he graduated from Greeley West High School a decade ago. Sometimes, when a resident thanks him for his hard work, it's just as satisfying as a gig with three encores.

But it is a stressful, sometimes draining job. And this is where the music comes in. Music, he said, is not just a

living and a dream. It's his therapy.

So maybe, if you're out sometime after midnight, you might hear some faint blues licks drifting through the night. That's just Puchalski unwinding, letting the music he's loved since he was little help him take back the energy he so willingly gave to Bonell's seniors that day.

Staff writer Dan England's column runs on Tuesday. If you have an idea for a column, call (970) 392-4418 or e-mail
- The Greeley Tribune


Support Local Talent (Album)

Main Entrance (Album)

why i make music (Solo Acoustic Album) currently avail. on iTunes



Lead member Ben Puchalski of the band Ben Pu and Crew has been playing guitar since the first grade and writing catchy tunes since the 8th grade. In the beginning, Ben met bass player Chris Manichanh while they were both on the same high school tennis team and soon thereafter, the Crew was born. After some line-up changes Matt Schooley (of Trichome) is rounding out the drums for this power rock trio. Being long time friends and musicians, their styles have come to compliment one another with ripping rock/blues solos, steady and funky bass riffs and intricate rock/world rhythms.

Band Members