Friday, March 18, 2011
A few years ago, when I was still a "professional music writer", I actually got paid by a newspaper to talk to a band about their love of fishing. It wasn't a big paycheck, and it wasn't a big story, and today I can't find it anywhere online or even in my "personal archives" (which, of course, consists of clippings and copies scattered around my house that I'm always careful to place in "the perfect spot" when I'm drunk and then "can't fucking find it" the next time I'm drunk and want to look at it for reference). I do, however, remember the name of the band, The Midnight Ghost Train, an interesting blues metal thing that, to me at least, sounds like a cross between Tom Waits and Pentagram.
At the time The Midnight Ghost Train was touring the country out of Buffalo, NY. Steve Moss, the guitarist/vocalist for the band, kept talking about how the main benefit of touring the country was the ability to stop anytime the band stumbled upon a good looking fishing spot. It was like talking to a strange hybrid of Hank Hill and John Lee Hooker. So when I saw that The Mignight Ghost Train had relocated back to Kansas and was going to be on tour with Jucifer, I felt compelled to ask Steve whether or not he'd finally caught the big one. And then I asked some questions about music and stuff. Here's a clip of a Ghost Train show in Cleveland.
Me: Hey Steve! You guys still stopping on tour to fish?
The Midnight Ghost Train: Are you kidding me? The Midnight Ghost Train will never stop playing music and we will also never stop fishing. We bring our poles everywhere we go on tour, and we fish every chance we get. We even had poles and went fishing a bunch while we were in Europe.
Tell me about your time in Europe. Who were you playing with? How did the shows go? And, of course, how was the fishing?
TMGT: Europe was awesome. We had a blast. We played about 10 countries. The shows went amazing. People loved us out there. We were treated like kings. Every venue we played gave us big banquet meals, nice hotels to stay in, and great money. We had an amazing response from crowds and venues out there. All our shows were packed, and everyone really liked us and took to our music real well. We had so much success out there. Were going back to Europe this October for two months. The fishing was damn good in Norway and the Netherlands.
What is the band up to right now?
TMGT: Right now were on tour with a real big and amazing band called Jucifer. They been around for over 18 years and are pioneers of the sludgy kinda metal that they play. They are by far the loudest band on earth as well. There guitar amps are stacked to the ceiling and are about 20 feet wide. It is an epic performance. Were on tour with them for the next three months. We are real grateful to be on tour with them.
After the tour with Jucifer we are taking a month off of touring to finish up writing our new record. Then we will be back on tour in the states from June till when we leave for again for Europe.
This may seem like a stupid question, but can you describe the sound of The Midnight Ghost Train for people?
TMGT: Not a stupid question at all. I hate the term stoner rock but that is the genre we are thrown in. I dont really subscribe to all those sub genres though. So I just always say were heavy rock and roll. Were sludgy, groovy, riffy, heavy. Very much bass and low end driven. I'm a huge fan of gospel music and delta blues, so there is a lot of that influence in our music. Aside from the two gospel songs we always do, I incorporate alot of blues progressions and changes in our songs, as well with lyrics. On a few of our songs I pay homage to the old blues legends by using a phrase or word from one of there songs. Like our song "the swell" at one point I say "dark was the night cold was the ground" which is a title of a blind Willie Johnson song.
So what can people expect from a Midnight Ghost Train show these days?
TMGT: Our live show is our main focus for our band. We believe it is the most important part. So we guarantee that at our show we will give 1000% every time, no matter how big or how little the crowd is. We always put every bit of soul, sweat, and power that we have into our live show.
Also, you can always expect that we will open and close our show the same way as we always do. We always open every show with John The Revelator, in memory of our best friend John that died, his death was the inspiration that started this band. And We always close with another old gospel song called "Ain't It A Shame" in memory of my dad. I sang that song at his funeral so we always close with that now. I promise we got soul like you never seen before.
The Midnight Ghost Train (Myspace)