Ghost of a Thousand

By paul

“We’re just an old-fashioned rock and roll hardcore band. I don’t think it’s arrogant to say we’re one of only two bands in the UK making the music we do at the moment – it’s really just us and Gallows“.

Tom Lacey nurses his Jack Daniel’s and coke. He sits at his table with a confident grin on his face, looking forward to the show him and his fellow bandmates are about to put on tonight. You could mistake their confidence for something more sinister, yet their earlier sound-check proves these guys are on top of their game when it comes to performance, and they are well within their rights to be in good steed about their first hometown show this year.
“We’ve played some massive venues before – The Birmingham Academy was probably our biggest – something like 1,500 people. We’re always in the same frame of mind though, whether it’s that big, or something as intimate as the Engine Rooms”.

He’s not wrong about the intimacy of tonight either. In just a few hours time, Lacey will be leading his troops in a mind-shattering forty minute set in front of a crowd that barely stretches to two hundred people. It’s a real old-fashioned basement show that brings the crowd and performers together as one entity, thanks in most parts to Lacey’s inability to stay on stage during the performance. He prefers to roll around the crowd, oblivious to his surroundings, all the while completely inside his own head.

Guitarist Jag is quite a different character altogether. Where Tom is both a brilliant performer as well as a competent spokesman, Jag saves all his energy for the stage, and when thrown into the setting of a downbeat drinking establishment, prefers to keep quite, substituting his words for many, many cigarettes. When asked about their upcoming debut full-length ‘This is where the fight Begins’, both Jag and Tom’s faces light up with grins that spread from ear to ear.

“We managed to get Kurt Ballou from Converge to mix the whole thing. That was huge for us”, pipes Jag. “It was just like a huge thumbs up from someone that matters. We’re all big fans of Converge, and to get him involved on our record has been great. He must get a million metal bands sending him demos, so it was really just on the off-chance that he accepted to do ours. I think he found it different from what he’s used to. I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say he’s never worked on a hardcore record with hand-claps in it before!”

Evidently proud of the final product, Lacey isn’t afraid to talk at length about their debut, and how pumped the guys are to be finally releasing it. It’s been a long road after all – the initial recordings took place over thirteen days last August, and after several delays is due to be released on February 19th this year. “It’s thirty minutes of just straight up rock ‘n roll attitude. We’re all really happy with the final product, even though we did have quite the short recording window to begin with. On the next record we’d love to be able to spend a month in the studio and experiment with different sounds and see what we can come up with. On ‘This is where the fight begins’, you’ve got the same guitar tone throughout, and it’d be great to experiment more with things like that. We’re all artists that have got room to grow”.

Despite his downplaying of the record, if the band’s performance on this Tuesday night is anything to go by, they needn’t need to worry about ‘growing’ just yet. They offered us the chance to hear many tracks that haven’t made it onto their myspace, with the most exceptional being ‘New Toy‘. As an outfit, they perform as a single entity, never missing to hit the right note on stage. The greatest thing about Ghost of a Thousand though, is that when you see them live, you’re not just watching the band, you’re experiencing them. It’s easy for bands to occasionally throw the odd headband from the guitarist or mic swing from the singer into the set, but to make it seem so natural and create a visual spectacle as energetic as their music is something you’ll struggle to find elsewhere.

To start off 2007, the guys had a live session played on Radio 1’s Rock Show, recorded at the now legendary Maida Vale studios. Daniel P. Carter has confessed to being a big fan of the band manyatime on air.

“We owe Daniel a hell of a lot,” says Jag. “It was just a fluke getting that gig really. When we played with Lucky 9, we talked to him about it and he was really up for it, but after that we just forgot about the whole thing. Then we get a call asking us to do a Maida Vale session for his show, and we were all just really excited! We love what he does on that show – he’s playing so much UK underground hardcore, and it’s great to see someone doing that, not just spinning what’s hot in the states.” While he rolls another cigarette, I comment on how the place has become a modern equivalent of Abbey Road. He’s quick to point out that it’s better than Abbey Road “because it has better gear”.

Of course, Ghost of a Thousand are no strangers to having friends in high places. Having recently toured with a string of big names, including Boys Night Out, This is Menace and Aiden, the last year has made them many celebrity friends. “Aiden were the coolest guys”, comments Tom. “Before we played in Birmingham with them, they were shitting themselves more than we were, but when it came down to it they pulled it off. WiL’s a great guy too – really sweet“.

Time becomes short, and after just a mere two pints we draw things to a close. Exchanging pleasantries, Tom heads off to find his mum, dad and fiancée, all of whom are very proud to be in the crowd tonight, while Jag heads off to prepare, and no doubt smoke a few more ciggies. While onstage their brand of music may be a bit too intense for some people’s liking, they certainly come across as hardworking, down-to-earth and thoroughly decent guys when the instruments are unplugged. The Ghost of a Thousand are set to have a great year in 2007, and I highly doubt they’ll take any of it for granted.

Andy R

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]