Ghosts of Sunset Interview 12/09/20
MM: Can you tell us about your Band and who’s your biggest influences Ghosts of Sunset is a rock n roll band with it’s roots in 1980s hard rock/hair metal, but our material is a reflection of diverse influences as wide-ranging as rock n roll pioneers like Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Elvis and Chuck Berry, to 60s artists like the Beatles and Rolling Stones, 70s pop radio and acts like Bruce Springsteen, the Faces, and Fleetwood Mac, all the way to current singer-songwriters like Jason Isbell. All of those things live within the rock n roll framework of Ghosts of Sunset.
MM: Where do you draw your inspirations and ideas from Our songs tell stories. Our goal is to create material that conveys emotions to our listeners. That means a story can be as serious and intense as Masters of War by Bob Dylan or simply rock n roll all night and party every day. Both of those songs highlight emotions nearly all humans can relate to. The fear of war and its ramifications to the desire to let go and have a good time. Both are valid and both have a home in Ghosts of Sunset’s music.
MM: What would you say is your Bands favourite song? Of our own? Changes daily. “Miles In Between” (our first single) holds a special place for us because it jumpstarted the entire band. That song demanded our attention and required that we put in the work it deserved. By another artist? Impossible to pin down. Oddly enough, Todd Long and myself hold a special place for a song by 80s band Warrant called “Big Talk”. It was the first lesser known song we found kinship in. That was 30+ years ago!
MM: Plans tour and festival wise for 2020 The Covid 19 pandemic has pretty much shelved our touring plans for this year. When the touring industry resumes and hopefully recovers, we have some “bucket list” shows we’ve discussed with our management team. Things like M3, Monsters of Rock Cruise, and even some limited runs supporting some other like-minded bands.
MM: What can we expect from (Band Name) live We came up in an era where even club bands delivered arena rock level shows. In the 1980s, especially in the “hair metal” scene, bands built their audiences by shows that got people talking. We hold that ethos close to our hearts. Ghosts of Sunset will always perform at that level. We would NEVER punish a club for not being an arena or punish 100 people for not being 10,000. EVERY gets the same energy every night. We were RAISED in this industry by the artists that came before and whom we respected.
MM: What do you like best and worst abt touring The road is funny. You find yourself missing home and then you get home and you miss the road. Inter-band relationships come into major play on tour. 14hrs in a van is very revealing. Simple curtesy and empathetic behaviour go a long way.
MM: Which three Bands would be your ultimate touring buddies We sure think a lot of Butch Walker! But within our genre the bands that are still touring would be great to share the stage with. The classics; RATT, Faster Pussycat, LA Guns, KIX, Tom Keifer formerly of Cinderella etc. There’s a lot of knowledge in those bands, some huge successes and some catastrophic cautionary tales. We’re always open to learn.
MM: What's the most memorable concert you've been to (other than your own) and why So many…I saw David Lee Roth in 1986 with Billy Sheehan, Steve Vai, and Greg Bissonette. It was the perfect marriage of top-level musicianship with arena showmanship and one of the ultimate frontmen to step up to the microphone. A young Cinderella opened the show and hooked me for life after opening with “Night songs”.
MM: What do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment so far with with the band? I think our accomplishment has been basing a band first and foremost on friendship, mutual respect, and the idea that healthy, grounded, well-rounded adults can have a rock n roll band while balancing things like family and friendships. I always say, “anyone can start a band but few can keep one together”.
MM: Which are your Two favourite Albums of all time For me (John Merchant) “Exile on Mainstreet” by the Rolling Stones and “Abby Road” (or “Revolver”) by the Beatles. They laid down the blueprint for all the bands that followed. The Beatles felt like fun-loving brothers, the Stones felt like a street gang. Every band needs that balance.
MM: Can you remember the first time you ever played live and how it felt to have people watching you? Nerve wracking and completely natural.
When music is in your DNA and you finally step on stage, it’s like finding your place in the world. I knew I wasn’t supposed to be a fireman, or cowboy, or soldier, or whatever else a young man imagines himself as. I knew the songs I heard spoke to me at a level they weren’t speaking to my school chums. The stage was like finding a “forever home”. It was part Saturday night barroom and part Sunday morning church service. It was doing things for my soul that nothing else could. It still does that.
MM: Growing up which Bands posters did you have on your bedroom wall. Between Todd Long and I we had every great 80s hard rock/hair metal band you could think of. That means Motley, RATT, Poison, Quiet Riot, Faster Pussycat, Great White to lesser known bands like Pretty Boy Floyd, Southgang, and Hanoi Rocks. We just breathed it. It was omnipresent in our lives. We never separated music from living. We need one in order to do the other.
MM - Who do you think influenced the world of Metal / Rock more than any other person Whew, early on you’d have to point to Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin and Sabbath, but for the “hair metal” genre it would be Slade, Bowie, Mott the Hoople, the Sweet, Alice Cooper, and the MC5. That first Van Halen album really put a template in place, and we can never talk about the 1980s “metal” scene without mentioning Quiet Riot and “Metal Health”. It gave the scene validity and also got the attention of major record labels. All the early Sunset Strip stuff like RATT, Motley, Quiet Riot, Van Halen, etc… set in place the importance of hook-laden, catchy songs with high energy live performances.
MM - What's the most important thing to the band right now? Continue to cultivate and develop an audience. We would LOVE to have a million plus fans, but truly we’re more concerned with connecting with people who appreciate what we do and are willing to move and grow with us. We’ve been doing this for 30+ years now, we know the importance of true fans who are invested and willing to watch a band develop and grow. They’re willing to take the journey with us.
MM: If you could do a cover of any song which one would it be and why? Something by Hanoi Rocks would be cool because more people need to recognize how ground-breaking they really were. If Guns N Roses is your favourite band, you should probably give a quick thank you to Michael Monroe and Hanoi Rocks. Michael is still out doing shows and he’s doing them better than 99% of the bands filling arenas today. Michael Monroe doesn’t just make rock n roll, he IS rock n roll.
MM: Tell us why we should buy and listen to your Band Because we’ve come up in this game with a developed and mature sense of influence and sense of ourselves. We’re not interested in becoming the flavour of the day (or minute in today’s world). We’re interested in sharing music we love with like-minded people. We write rock n roll songs for rock n roll fans. We don’t need any “qualifiers”. We not “this rock” or “that rock”. We’re a rock n roll band raised on great rock n roll bands in an era when great rock n roll still mattered. We know there’s people who miss that as much as we do. We’ve come to bring that back.
MM: Four words to describe Ghosts of Sunset: Smart, hooky, melodic, rock
Final Words for your fans and our readers Thank you seems to be too little. If you love Ghosts of Sunset, it becomes as much yours as it is ours. We just happen to write and play the songs, but without you there truly isn’t a Ghosts of Sunset. We respect you enough to put the time into writing and recording this music and then delivering it to you live. We work for you because we are you. This thing is ours collectively.