By: Shelby Lum
Every now and then, you will stumble across a group making some legitimate rock music.
Gross Ghost is one of those bands.
The band doesn’t mess around. They aren’t out to reinvent the idea of rock, but to make music that they like, and we do too. TALive caught up with Mike Dillon to talk about his new album dropping in October, how he writes music, and his favorite Mexican food of choice!
Check out the interview below.
Where did the name Gross Ghost come from?
Tre and I have lived in a couple of wild party houses over the years….I gave Tre that nickname from those days. I have since kind of mellowed but Tre keeps the fires burning bright. He IS the gross ghost.
Can you give a little history about how the band started?
The band formed from those days at the house I mentioned before. It was really loose and noisy. When I moved out of that house and went away for a little while, I came back with some sunny pop songs and showed them to Tre. We’ve tried to meld the two styles to make loose, noisy pop songs.
You’ve said your music has a lot to do with story telling. How so? Why is story telling an important part of the lyrics you create?
I try to keep an eye out for details or phrases that jump out at me. I don’t ever really sit down to write lyrics. I just have random lines scrawled out on receipts, sheets of paper, etc. So when the music is done I kind of try to tell a story with these collected phrasings. Most of the subject matter is about me, some of it is about family members.
Is the “Brer Rabbit” album name from the storybook character? If so, what made you want to name your album after him?
Brer Rabbit is from the southern tales of that trickster who could get himself out of situations. I felt a connection to those stories and wanted to pay a small homage to the South.
What was the process like making “Brer Rabbit?”
We recorded our newest record, (which will be out in Oct), and Brer Rabbit with Nick Petersen, who owns Track and Field Recordings. He is just really easy going and has great opinions. We did half of the recording at our house, lovingly dubbed the ScumLab, and the other half at Nick’s place. The newest one we did was out in the woods and at this bar called the Pinhook.
While traveling and touring what is the one thing you can’t leave home without?
The one thing I can’t leave home without when we go on the road is a nice pillow. Doesn’t matter where we stay, on the floor of some strangers house or in the van. If you have a nice pillow, you can go anywhere!
How would you describe Gross Ghost style?
I would say we make rock and roll. There are so many garage rock bands around these days and I think we sort of fall in line with that, but I could totally see us making any kind of album we want. I think our only guideline is if we like it, we play it.
So originally you formed the band without any intention to play live right? What changed that?
We weren’t gonna play live because I didn’t want to add any band members. I just wanted it to be Tre and myself. Over time, we got offered a tour with our friends Future Islands and we couldn’t turn that down. I think it took us a while to find our footing as a live band, but now with Rob and Chris playing with us, playing live is my favorite aspect of being in the band.
Where do you see Gross Ghost in the future?
Hopefully we will get to tour enough to make it to the West Coast, Canada and everywhere in between. So far we’ve been landlocked on the East Coast. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m pretty damn excited about playing the Hopscotch Fest in September.
So we’ve heard you love Mexican food! What is your favorite?
That’s hilarious! I was eating a chicken burrito when I read these questions, but I’m lately into quesadillas and tortas.
Don’t miss Gross Ghost playing at Black Cat on Thursday, June 27th!