Isolation Drills: Ben Arnold

Like the majority of you, all of us in the Philadelphia area are staying at home, learning to adapt to our “new normal.” MAGNET is checking in with local musicians to see how and what they’re doing during this unprecedented time. Photos by Chris Sikich.

Hello from the Roxborough/Manayunk neighborhood of Philly. I’m Ben Arnold. I’ve been around here for way too long. So I definitely like to get out on the road as much as possible. I was with my band, US Rails, about eight shows into the beginning of a 39-date tour in Europe when it all went dark.

We had been planning this tour for more than a year. Like anyone would, we crashed pretty hard after it all fell apart. We ended up leaving Berlin to return to Philly on St. Patricks Day. Fun! Not.

My bandmate, drummer Matt Muir, and I went into quarantine at his parents’ house on the Northeast River in Maryland for a couple weeks. Then I ended up staying there for the peace, quiet and company.

It definitely took some time to process what just happened, but, eventually, we all go home. Since then, I’ve just been keeping as busy as possible. Writing, recording, working and inventing projects and trying to improve my immediate surroundings.

Hard to believe it’s been five months. I guess we’re all just getting used to the (actual) facts and hoping for a mild winter.