(Ghost Family Reunion - April 2nd)
The Ghost Family is comprised of three loud, vigorous rock bands - two of them from Ypsilanti, one of them from the Waterford/Highland-area... These outsiders have banded together to form a tight unit - of friendship, of music, and of a mitosis-mirroring spawn-and-spread of shared inspiration.
Jehovah's Witness Protection Program (left, above), join Err... (the two gents below) and Sharky & the Habit (bottom) to form this sonic committee that ranges from coarse punk, to sense-stretching noise rock, to curious blues-and-funk hybrids, to resurrecting the raucous rolls of the American Underground.
JWPP - the Ypsi's imposing one-two rock duo punch - are finishing up an album with Brandon Wiard; their third release, but first proper full-length.
"Jehan (Dough) and I have been playing together since 1997," said singer/guitarist Anthony Anonymous. In the early 00's, their first, and later-on respective other bands had dissolved and they lost touch with several of the close connections they'd made throughout the SE-Michigan music scene. When the pair realligned to start JWPP in December 06, "we were starting from scratch."
One particular connection remained, drummer Brandon Moss (of Ann Arbor-based Bear Vs. Shark...a group Dough & Anonymous had played with through the early 00's). "Moss's new band, Wildcatting (now Bars of Gold) ended up being our connection to Loco Gnosis and that brought us a whole new family within which to work. Being outside the closer-knit Ferndale/east-side based Loco family still left us in a position where we needed other bands and friends to play with and enjoy the camaraderie-of on a consistent basis out in the Ypsi-area. Some time in 2008, we met a group called Err... and we played a show with them at the Screaming Eagle (in Ypsi); that night was more fun than a frog in a glass of milk..."
Err... the slightly more punk-ish side to JWPP's slightly more rock-ish side, would help Dough/Anonymous form the "Cult of the Two-Pieces." This penchant for inter-band collaboration would later lead to what has become the Ghost Family Collective (with Sharky). "Lots of what came after," Anonymous acknowledged, was due to the motivating force of Err...'s singer/guitarist Joshua Tafelski (aka Flu-Shot).
JWPP's full length will be out on Loco Gnosis, hopefully in late Spring or early Summer. Wiard, "a super close friend" had done "a great job of working" on their last single (which became an EP) that the duo didn't think twice about returning to Pretty Suite Recordings. "Brandon (Wiard) can and wants to do something good for us," said Anonymous. "Just like working with Loco, or Ghost Family Collective, and anyone else we hold dear - there is a personal connection that makes the rest of it so much more fulfilling in the long run. We will make this record together!"
JWPP plays Woodruff's on Feb 26th with Easy Action and Mazinga. They also hope to add some more out-of-state shows (after their Blowout peformance in Loco Gnosis' showcase).
"Jehan and I are definitely hitting a peak of comfort with each other as musicians and friends. We've both gone through a lot in these 14 years, and it's only made us closer friends and better partners as far as the band is concerned. For all the talk I do about love and hugs and camaraderie, and for all the super close friends I feel like I have--I believe, without a doubt, when it all shakes out, my brother Jehan will be there for me...gumming our milk toast and giving the youngsters something to laugh about."
Their collaboration on song structuring is as strong and vital as ever. "I'll say this about Jehan, lately a few people I really respect have given me props about my looping. Now, I'm the first to say I don't know crap about playing guitar. I just play what I play...but I don't understand guitar like most guitar players do. I wrestle it more than I play it. What it really requires is the desire to fight through the mess at the beginning, to find good parts that work as layers, and...it requires a GREAT DRUMMER."
"We want to share our love for rock and roll with as many people as possible. Not for se sort of congratulations or money, but becuase of the way it feels when things go right. From the outside, the idea of a dirty rock and roll band hugging and loving their friends who come to see them seems cliche and i get that. But, truth is, when things are clicking and our friends and Ghost Family are there, I feel something that simply can't be denied and as long as people give us the space to squeeze into and rock, we will be there to rock it."
-Anthony Anonymous, the "mayor" of Ypsilanti
"A triage of incorrigibles," as James North of Sharky puts it.
"...a group of michief makers in musician's costumes," says Sharky's Paul Clos, "...who have banded together to have good times and hug anyone that is willing to be hugged...Oh, yeah, and play rock n' roll."
Sharky & the Habit have six new songs that they'll be recording through February for a likely EP. "Explosive," says North, "no pop songs, still a blues element, but crazier in it's layout."
"Ghost Family is one of the best things I've been apart of," said Tafelski, who, with drummer Larry Johnson, forms Err...
"Best thing about it is the love and support. I hope we can expand this Family into a growing community of musicians that want to share our passions and ambitions."
Spurred on by Jeff Howitt of Loco Gnosis, the trio bands have formed a still-gestating Ghost Family Collective...which could just as likely be a label onto itself, or a spearheading force for local music festivals.
Err...are hoping to get recording started this month, to finish their 2nd album. They're also working towards releasing a compilation-viral video/CD of The Ghost Family - in time for the "Ghost Family Reunion Show" on April 2nd at Woodruff's.
"We've put a lot of hard work/sweat/blood/lives into this music and would love to see Michigan come back and evolve into a more prosperous music scene," Tafelski said. "I really feel the love is out there and now it's time to embrace it with a hug...and never let go..."