Ghosts of Sunset features rock veterans John Merchant and Todd Long who have made music for 30+ years. Lead singer/guitarist/co-writer John Merchant fills in the blanks on our introduction to Ghosts Of Sunset.
What are the origins of the band, how long have you been playing together?
Ghosts of Sunset originated as an idea I had for a concept record based on the 1980s hair band explosion in Los Angeles California. I shared the idea with Todd Long whom I’ve written, recorded, produced, and performed music with for over 30 years and he was all in. We wrote our EP “Headed West” together and brought in some outside musicians to round things out.
How did you feel performing your first gig? And how was it?!
My first gig was in a local bar when I was about 16 yrs old. I was filling in with a band and I remember their other guitarist who was much older than me coming over to my side of the stage after the first set. The drummer, vocalist, and bassist all had come by to compliment me and I thought he was going to do the same. Instead, he looked me dead in the eye and said “you suck”. I said, “that’s bad news because I’m here all night”.
What should people expect when they check the band out? How would you describe yourself?
Ghosts of Sunset are a rock n roll band. Our roots are based in 1980s hard rock and “hair metal”, but because we’ve been in the business for over 30 years and released music across several genres, we’ve allowed our material to be influenced by EVERYTHING we like. That means taking cues from artists as diverse as Elvis, Little Richard, Bruce Springsteen, Waylon Jennings, Fountains of Wayne, and even current pop radio. A good song is a good song; we never discriminate.
The new music scene is bursting at the seams with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out from the others trying to build a name?
Songs. It’ll always come back to songs. Haircuts and clothes might help get you noticed, but SONGS will get you REMEMBERED.
What are you working on at the minute that people can check out?
Our first single on Golden Robot Records “Miles In-Between” came out earlier in September, and our second single ‘Never Goodbye’ is out now. Following that, our concept EP “Headed West” will be released before the end of the year. We’re already working on our full-length follow-up and getting things in place for (hopefully) 2021 limited live dates.
What band out there at the minute do you feel that you would be best suited to open for?
Any of the classic 1980s hard rock artists are a perfect fit for us, but bands like The Struts and Dirty Honey share a lot in common with what we do.
Who do you feel is the next band to break out?
For me, Dirty Honey is making some pretty tough-sounding rock n roll.
What are your first musical memories? And what was the light bulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?
Beatles. 100% the Beatles. The first band I loved, the first band I wanted to be. Lots of classic country artists like George Jones, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Merle Haggard made me love music, but the Beatles made me want to make it.
What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?
I don’t get out like I used to, but I see a lot of local shows and regional touring acts. I saw a Michigan-based band called “Barrel Bones” and they were great. If you love bands like Soundgarden or the like, you’ll love Barrel Bones.
The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?
Lately, I’ve fallen in love with Brandi Carlile. However, I can’t make it through her song “The Joke” without crying. She’s a gift from God. Strong, intelligent, empathetic, beautiful, and beyond gifted. A special human being.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2020?
Stay safe, stay sane, love hard, rock harder, and plot out 2021.
How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?
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