“Why do piano players like playing in Eflat?”‚ The question, posed from one vocalist to another, Tommy (guitar) to Ben (piano), had the inflection of a sappy joke: one that a 3rd grader might brazenly ask his parents when he hates the idea of piano lessons.‚ My mind quickly went to possible answers: “So his voice sounds in tune when he sings along,” “Because if it was Esharp, he’d be F’ed.”‚ However, Ben looked up from his fingers rolling effortlessly across the keys and said calmly, “Its just more comfortable.”
The fact that such a question had not been asked in 4 years of playing together hardly seems odd after spending a day with the guys of Jukebox The Ghost.‚ They stopped by Shirk’s studio recently to record a session and the ease of their music astounded me.‚ Despite their extremely varied musical styles — Ben is a classically trained pianist, while Tommy loves to play low end gritty blues riffs, and Jessie just loves tambourines and throwing shit over his head — they seem to blend effortlessly.‚ When such things happen, questions aren’t typically asked.
Despite the ease of their music, getting the session off the ground proved rather inauspicious.‚ I showed up at Schubas for their show knowing only of the idea of a Jukebox the Ghost HearYa Live Session; I hadn’t heard the band (save two myspace tracks), I didn’t know the guys, and I certainly had no clue of the time or ‚ date of the session.‚ With trepidation, I approached Ben after the show and mentioned HearYa.‚ Immediately, despite the darkened room, I could tell his eyes widened and I had his full attention.‚ Apparently they had lost their contact with us and were completely as clueless as I.‚ Luckily after a few quick texts and phone calls between Shirk, Oz, and myself, we were set for the next day.
With the Blue Angels roaring overhead, Jukebox rolled in the next afternoon, joined by their merch guy Tom, who was on loan from Britain.‚ After lugging up their equipment, which included a synth stolen from the GWU music department (shhh!), they got started.‚ The execution of the session itself matched their musical comfort, not the planning, thankfully, and we got some amazing tracks put down.‚ The fact that both Ben and Tommy sing and write provides a nice segue from track to track and enable songs to add multiple layers of solos and vocals.‚ Also, we might have to make it a rule for bands to cover a 90s pop hit, because singing along to It’s A Beautiful Life is just too darn fun.
As we were loading the van back up, the guys mentioned they had the rest of the day off, so I hopped in with them and directed them to North Ave. Beach where the Chicago Air and Water Show was centered (hence the previously mentioned Blue Angels).‚ The weather was absolutely perfect and most of the guys had never spent any real time in Chicago, so it turned out to be a great opportunity for them to get to know the city.‚ I left them at the corner of Fullerton and Lincoln directing them towards the lake. ‚ Only with vague directions back to the van, they were off on their own. ‚ I can only hope that they maneuvered the city with the comfort and ease of their music because I’ve not heard from them since.
You can find Jukebox The Ghost’s album Let Live and Let Ghosts on iTunes, eMusic, and Amazon.
Jukebox The Ghost “Good Day”