Born on Februrary 2, 1971 in Durham, North Carolina, Ben Mize began his music career playing with various bands around Athens, Georgia in the early '90s — bands such as Daisy, Redneck Greece Deluxe, and Marlee MacLeod. Through a couple of well-earned breaks, he played with Cracker for a while, and then landed one of the sweetest gigs available at the time as the drummer for Counting Crows.
The Counting Crows shot to stardom in 1994 with the hit song "Mr. Jones” from their first album, August And Everything After, released a year earlier. Their unique sound mixed vocalist Adam Duritz’ agonized vocals with a sound that was reminiscent of the ’60s and ’70s and appealed to rock and roll fans who hadn’t yet jumped onto the alternative bandwagon.
Mize joined the band for the Crows second album, Recovering The Satellites, released in 1996. This album also contained a hit song, “Long December,” which was a Top Ten hit on both the Modern Rock and Adult Top 40 charts.
Mize’s drumming philosophy was antithetical to the hard-hitting, volume-driven approach of most rock drummers of the time. His understanding of the subtle elements like utilizing brushes and his understated style was more musical.
After years of touring the world with Counting Crows, Mize left the band to pursue family and personal musical interests back in Athens. Nantahala was his first solo effort, on which he played a good portion of the music and the recorded primary vocals. He was supported through the CD by a solid contingent of Athens musicians, including David Barbe, John Neff, William Tonks, and Vic Chesnutt.