Meet Ben Katzman, The Rock + Metal Maniac Competing on ‘Survivor’ Season 46 (Interview)

Meet Ben Katzman, the rock and metal maniac competing onSurvivor Season 46, which premieres today (Feb. 28) on CBS and Paramount Plus.

This season, the cast travels to Fiji for a chance at the one million dollar prize and rock and metal fans will have one particular contestant to root for!

The ultra-competitive reality game show has been a fixture of 21st century television, having debuted in 2000. Nearly a quarter century later, it remains true to its original intentions while exploring new ways to keep competition fresh and these daring contestants on their toes.

Survivor (and formerRock & Roll Jeopardy!) host Jeff Probst tells Peoplethat Season 46’s group “is funny,” while positing that it “may go down as the best season of the new era.” There is gameplay “like no other,” the 62-year-old attests.

With Katzman among the 18 people undergoing a life-changing experience that will potentially push them to the brink of physical and mental exhausting, enduring extreme conditions, it’s easy to see why Probst calls this a funny cast.

Kaztman, the 31-year-old namesake musician fronting Miami, Florida garage rockers Ben Katzman’s Degreaser, is almost cut straight from one of many of your most beloved rock and metal movies. The dude lives rock ‘n’ roll in full, so much so that he could have you convinced he’s committed to being in character lifelong.

READ MORE:Meet Mike Gabler, Metalhead ‘Survivor’ Season 43 Winner Who Donated His $1M Prize to Charity – Interview

But Ben is truly his authentic self who has found a home in this music, just like the rest of us — he just lets it show more than most. And maybe that’s something we can all learn from and take with us. Being bold, outrageous and even hyperbolic is a rewarding contrast to an overwhelming amount of dull and bitter elements of life. When you come across people with a genuine and charismatic spirit such as his, you tend to only feel warmth and levity.

So, that’s another reason to root for Katzman as he embarks on this journey, which lays everyone bare for the world to see on TV each week.

Check out a teaser for Season 46 ofSurvivor and get to know Ben Katzman more in the interview below.

Survivor Season 46 Preview

Meet Ben Katzman, The Rock + Metal Maniac Competing on Survivor Season 46

Watch the full interview in the video above or read the Q&A below.

What made you want to apply to be on Survivorin the first place?

I never wanted to do it.

My whole life, everybody said I was going to do TV before I make it in music. I was getting hit up by all these weird TV shows for MTV and all this crap. I was like, “I’m not going to sell my soul to do reality TV.”

But I am a Survivorfan.

Ironically enough, when Gabler voted out that girl who lied about listening to Mastodon, that’s when the seed in the back of my head kind of got planted. I was watching that season and that commercial with Jeff Probst — “Do you got what it takes?” — and I’m like, “Man, I want to rock this shit.”

I sent a 30-second video on a whim and they hit me up.

You’re a pretty charismatic guy and you’ve got exactly what it takes to be on Survivor. You’ve got to be a little bit crazy!

As Ozzy says, some people were going off the rails on a crazy train. I might be one of them.

How did you mentally prepare and physically prepare yourself to be on Survivor? This is a very extreme challenge. Even 46 seasons later it looks exactly like the show that I watched when it first premiered.

I’m not the most physical person, but some of my favorite players aren’t that physical. People who chill hard and talk and rock their way through.

To prepare, I just did two things.

First, I made this mixtape of all my favorite songs that pump me up, and I put my favorite movie quotes. And when I say mixtape, I legitimately mean a cassette player mixtape [holds up cassette player].

I had [Ennio Morricone’s] “The Ecstasy of Gold,” Metallica’s “That Was Just Your Life,” the Power Rangers theme, [Survivor’s] “Eye of the Tiger,” quotes from [Teenage Mutant] Ninja TurtlesandRockyII…it was a lot.

Every day I told myself that this thing is going to be intense. But I’ve lived on the road eating $2 at Taco Bell a day. I can starve. I know that.

Being in the music business, you’re surrounded by posers 24/7. I thought about how I can apply what I’ve been through. I would bike, meditate and swim a lot.

You can only prepare so much because a lot of it comes down to who you’re cast with. You don’t know what anything’s going to feel like until that moment where something happens.

The last month and a half where I should have trained, I was on tour. And when you’re on tour, you don’t have time to go to the gym or go running. I was in Europe taking buses, partying, performing, not resting… I got home, had like a week off and then headed out to Fiji.

Ben Katzman, “Don’t Be a Poser (To Yourself)”

READ MORE:The Perfect Rock or Metal Album for Each Zodiac Sign + Why, By Ben Katzman

Did you prepare for different personality types, researching psychology to see how your personality is going to mesh with others or how to smooth over personality clashes?

I didn’t prepare for that on purpose. I’ve always been eccentric. I never fit in. I was made fun of as a kid. I definitely became kind of was a dick once I got comfortable because you’re so used to taking shit that you deflect.

You have to be able to self-examine and ask if you are being real with yourself. The only personality test I could have is, “Am I in control of my emotions? Can I be that way? Will I be ‘hangry’?”

I thought about all the worst people in my life and all the best people in life and all the crazy situations I’ve been in and how I felt then and who I was then and who I am now. Whoever I’m stuck with, I can find a way to be myself above all else and try and manage whatever comes my way.

There’s a lot of different strategies that contestants adopt. How did you want to play the game?

Maybe this answer is generic, and I know people will roast me for this, but I really did my best to not think about stuff like that.

I wondered, “What if I’m cast with a bunch of meatheads? What if I’m on a tribe of dorks? What if I’m on a tribe they’re setting up to fail?” You never know.

It’s like queen’s gambit — you play every chess move in your head before you’re out there, but you don’t know until that move is right in front of you. My mindset was to be fearless.

I’m big on loyalty. My best friends are from elementary school. I still play music with the guy I’ve known since high school. I’ve known my manager for forever. I was hoping, if anything, maybe I’ll find people who are down to play loyally. Those are some of my favorite seasons.

‘Survivor’ Season 45 contestant Ben Katzman holding a guitar while water skiing

Brayn Ladder Hernandez

We see you in the trailer saying to “manifest the shred.” What does that mean?

I know people perceive me as a cartoon character like I’m putting on some kind of act, but I really am me. “Shred” is my go-to verb. If my mom says, “Ben, do the dishes,” I’ll be like, “I’m shredding the dishes right now, don’t worry.”

But I spent a lot of time choking the aspiration and finding it hard to breathe — never living up to the expectations I had in my head.

One thing I focused on, especially going out to the game, is try and be present. Focus on everything that’s right in front of you and not day 26 in Survivorterms or being a rock star at Madison Square Garden. If you’re fully enjoying and can take full accountability of everything right in front of you, whatever move you have to make, whatever dog poop you’ve got to clean up, I really think what you want will come next.

So, manifesting the shred is all about, “I know what I want, but I’m going to be present. And I hope whatever’s right in front of me will lead me to what I want.” And I’m not going to put expectations on it, because if you allow yourself to be surprised, you will be surprised. And you can always be surprised in a good way.

This is the last question here and this might be harder than competing on Survivor… What are your three favorite bands?

At the top, you’ve got KISS — the classic lineup. Ace Frehley is my guy.

…It’s really funny because in my interview process, I’ve got the Van Halen guitar, I talked to Jeff a lot about David Lee Roth and Eddie [Van Halen] and Alex [Van Halen] and Mike [Anthony] and even Wolfie [Van Halen].

The third one is always changing. I love the Ramones, I love ABBA, but I think I have to go with Oasis and their first two records.

To me, it’s all about wearing your heart in your sleeve and celebrating life. Those three bands sum that up pretty hard.

Not to mention I do love Spinal Tap, too…

Thanks to Ben Katzman and CBS for the interview. Tune into the premiere of Season 46 of ‘Survivor’ tonight (Feb. 28) and cheer Ben on! Follow him and the show at the links below:

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