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BuzzChips Interviews Jukebox the Ghost

Jukebox the Ghost passed through Los Angeles a couple of times last month; first to play on Conan and second to headline a show at the El Rey Theatre. The latter show came with a handful of unexpected bonuses, the primary of which came with one of the opening bands. Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba packed the venue with layover fans of his new folk project, Twin Forks. More noteworthy than that was discovering the wide range of vocal talent within Jukebox the Ghost. It is fairly known that keyboard player Ben Thornewill and guitarist Tommy Siegel both have their fair share of vocals on their latest, self-titled album. What came as a surprise was seeing drummer Jesse Kristin step away from his drum set to kick of the start of “Hollywood”. To their credit, all three band members have very different, vibrant vocal chops, and showcasing those is part of the unique experience that is Jukebox the Ghost. Following Twin Forks is no easy feat, as it was clear that many audience members were there to see Carrabba, but Jukebox the Ghost rose to the challenge and put on a spectacular show. 

What's your favorite experience been on tour so far? 

Selling out the Metro in Chicago was phenomenal. 1,200 screaming people all singing along (when they weren't screaming). 

Do you mind describing your songwriting process?

Every song is different - but typically I start at the piano. Playing and singing and improvising until I hear something I like and then I try to see it through. Some songs are like dogs and you have to give them lots of love and take them on walks to get them happy and right and some songs are like cats, in that you can leave them for weeks at a time and somehow they are totally fine. 

Any bands I should be listening to that I maybe haven't heard of?

Ava Luna. Secret Someones. Beethoven.

How would you describe your music to people?

Good, like...really good. Like, one might listen and go, "Oh cool - I think I like this band. I bet they are also super guys and all regularly call their mothers. Wow, what a great song." 

On carrying three original members for over a decade -- what's your secret?

It must be something in the water... that and we are lucky enough to share a common goal, genuinely like each other and that we manage to keep our psychopathic tendencies to a minimum. 

Congrats on signing with Cherrytree, how did that come about?

Actually Martin Kierszenbaum, who runs the label, his daughter heard us on a TV trailer for The Judge and bought the record and started telling her dad that he needed to listen. We typically turn to the children of high powered musical executives for influence and upward music-industry mobility.

What was CoCo like? 

Incredibly kind, complimentary and almost unfathomably tall. 

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By Teri McCaffrey

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