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"I suppose that did something." He also played weekly gigs at Sin-é, famous for being the café which had helped start Jeff Buckley's career. The trio, of Folds, bassist Robert Sledge and drummer Darren Jessee, formed Ben Folds Five in 1994 In 1995, Ben Folds Five released their self-titled debut album.The debut was followed by Whatever and Ever Amen in 1997, and the odds-and-ends compilation Naked Baby Photos was released in early 1998.The group's first chart breakthrough came in the UK, when "Underground" made the lower reaches of the Top 40, peaking at no. Britain was the Five's strongest territory in terms of chart success, with five singles making the national Top 40 there – "Underground", "Battle of Who Could Care Less", "Kate", "Brick" and "Army" – although none managed to crack the UK Top 20.In Australia "Underground" likewise broke the band locally and while it did not make the ARIA chart, it came in at no. The 1998 single "Brick" became the group's only major chart placing in Australia, reaching no. 53 in the ARIA Australian Top 100 for that year while its parent album Whatever and Ever Amen peaked at no. Folds and his bandmates have moved many albums since 2001.The group released several locally produced records.
They gained a strong following in the United Kingdom and Australia early in their career, and like many other 'alternative' American acts this was largely thanks to consistent support from national broadcasters in those countries, the BBC in Britain and the ABC's Triple J youth radio network in Australia (and ABC-TV's music video show Rage).After the group temporarily disbanded, Folds performed as a solo artist and has toured all over the world. He has also collaborated with musicians such as William Shatner, Regina Spektor and "Weird Al" Yankovic and undertaken experimental songwriting projects with authors such as Nick Hornby and Neil Gaiman.In addition to contributing music to the soundtracks of the animated films Over the Hedge, and Hoodwinked!Folds's first solo release after the breakup of the band was Rockin' the Suburbs in 2001.
He played nearly all the instruments, notably guitar (an instrument seldom used during the Ben Folds Five days).
As of 2008, Folds had released six solo LPs, including an experimental side project called Fear of Pop, which was released while Ben Folds Five was still together.