You might not know it, but you've already seen Ghostmouth perform. In the past 12 months alone, the local foursome has opened for the Pixies, Arcade Fire, the Flaming Lips, Primus, Bright Eyes, and numerous other national acts. Of course, no one technically asked the upstart alt-rockers to play on any of these bills. They just grabbed a few battery-powered amps and did it anyway.
So you guys just set up outside of concerts and open for bands whether they like it or not?
On latest episode of Radio Noir
I sat down with Ghostmouth frontman Sean Levine and asked him not only
how he was pulling off all this madness but where they would strike
(jokingly) Well actually they play before us, so technically they're opening for us.
How do you do this?
Well we originally thought of sneaking into the Target Center during Timberwolves games with ukeleles hidden in our pants, but then we realized an acoustic setup wouldn't work for us. We're too electric and hard-hitting of a band, so our drummer originally thought about having a tambourine attached to a snare drum and using that as a drum set -- he thought we were going to be using acoustic guitars -- then I came up with the idea of buying battery powered-amps. I saw these things in a store somewhere and I realized no one ever uses them. They've been in production for at least ten years but no one has ever used them. There's no purpose for it tonally. It's got terrible tone, but I mean for what we're doing it's not like we're after the best tone, but they've been around for so long and no one's ever thought, "Hey, obviously we're not going to use them on stage, but they have batteries. We can use them anywhere." Once our drummer saw those, he came up with a different idea for his portable set. We ended up flipping a floor tom around and using that as a bass drum. From there, the only trick was figuring out what we were going to do with the vocals, and megaphones seemed like the best option.
Not once actually, but we're waiting for it. We really want it to happen. Actually I'd like to give a message to the Saint Paul and Minneapolis Police: if you feel like arresting us, please do.
So where are you guys going next?
Well it all depends on where the Black Keys are going. I wanted to go up to the east coast and do an east coast tour which eventually we'll probably do, but unfortunately the Black Keys aren't doing that. They're going up to Canada, so we're following them up to Winnipeg. Then they're playing in Saint Paul, and then down in Iowa. Then over in Milwaukee, and then that's where our part with the Blacks Keys ends, and then we're meeting up with the Flaming Lips in Chicago. We're playing two dates at the Aragon Ballroom with them, and then we'll be at the Pitchfork Music Festival.
Don't you guys have a CD release coming up?
We do. It comes out June 14. We have a CD release show at the 400 Bar June 18 with Speed's the Name
... also there's a live hip-hop band called the Kredentials
, and then San Dimas they're a new band.
So what will you do post-CD release?
A week after that we leave on tour with the Black Keys whether they like it or not... Actually this summer I want to throw what I'm calling the Guerilla Ghostmouth Festival. In the open. In the middle of the city. Doing a set in Minneapolis and a set in Saint Paul, getting a bunch of different bands. I'm going to contact everyone I can. Anyone who can actually work with our battery-powered setup, so if you're interested contact me, but yeah that's one of the plans I have. Just lend bands our portable setup, and if we get kicked out of a place we'll just move on to the next place. The flyer will say, "Guerilla Ghostmouth Festival: Venue Wherever the Hell We Want."