Interview – Jukebox the Ghost

Jukebox the Ghost will be coming through Cleveland next month on their spring ‘mini’ tour. The band will be performing with the Elwins and Lakewood’s own Front Porch Lights at the Grog Shop on April 7th. This power pop trio is comprised of members, Ben Thornewill, Tommy Siegel, and Jesse Kristin. They formed back in 2004 and have become known for their unique live show experience. Recently, Jukebox the Ghost has been working on new tracks and the band is excited to share these with fans live. In the meantime, learn more about the new material from Tommy’s responses and be sure to check out their recent video for “Keys in the Car” below. Tickets for the tour including those for the Cleveland date on April 7th can be found here.

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Three words to describe the band?

We. Love. Eggs.


What is the story/meaning behind the name, Jukebox the Ghost?

I wish there was a good story.  Honestly, with the number of times we’ve been asked that question we should have just made up a good story. I wanted a band name with “Jukebox” in it, Ben wanted one with “Ghost” in it, and we sandwiched them together!


What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I’m a late-in-life Star Trek convert, so….a lot of that. There’s a lot of Star Trek to watch out in the world, in case you were unaware. So that’s pretty much all of my spare time.


Who is the pickiest eater?

Hard to say.  Possibly Jesse? None of us are truly “picky” — But I can tell you I’m definitely the least picky, to a fault.  I have that compulsion where I *need* to order whatever is on the menu that I’ve never eaten before.  That fixation has put me in some hairy dining situations.  Last month I got a plate of “spicy cold duck web” in Chinatown that had a flavor profile and texture that’ll probably be etched into my memory, as long as I live (spoiler: it wasn’t good, and it was exactly what you’d think it would be).


How often and how long do you practice together?

We tend to binge practice. So we’ll go months and months without practicing, then spend a few weeks together playing six or seven hours a day. We don’t do much in the way of ‘rehearsal’ since we know our own songs from touring nonstop — so when we’re together, it’s always writing and arranging new material.


How would you describe your writing process?

Ben and I tend to write on our own, then bring finished songs to the band.  Then the band either executes the arrangement we’ve demoed by ourselves or tries to reinvent the wheel.


What can you tell us about the new material you have been working on?

There’s definitely a new thread going through these new songs.  Ben’s songs have a Freddie flair that’s more overt this go-round.  Big harmonies, exciting piano parts, unexpected sections.  My stuff in this batch tends to have a “snarky Beatles” thing going on.  It’s all really exciting so far.


How does this new material differ from your previous releases?

Compared to our previous record, it’s a bit more organic.  But it still has some of the arrangement efficiency of our last record.  We’re hoping to capture a vibe that has some of the whimsical/quirky/retro aspects of our older stuff, but with a fresh ear.  It feels like we’ve learned a lot as songwriters, arrangers, and producers since we made our last record.


What are your favorite tracks to play live?

Whatever is newest!  We’re playing three or four new songs on this upcoming tour and can’t even express how excited we are to freshen things up.


What do you typically do post-gig?

We’re pretty lame.  Pack up, drive and sleep.  Never been much of a party band — Probably contributes to why we’re all still alive and still like each other, but doesn’t make for a lot of good stories.


What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as a band?

This new record has been an amazing learning experience for us.  We’ve all been learning audio engineering enough that we can now make pretty good recordings on our own.  It’s really empowering.  In the end, we’re still re-recording most of the layers with people who are better producers than we are, but our internal pre-production adds a level of quality control that we’ve never had in our career.  No arranging stone left unturned!


Favorite 90’s jam?

“Flagpole Sitta” by Harvey Danger.  Such an amazing song.  We opened for their last show ever in NYC early in our career!  IT WAS SICK.


Bigfoot: real or hoax?



What else can we expect from Jukebox the Ghost in 2017?

A new album!  I’m typing this in the studio *RIGHT NOW* while Jesse tracks drums on a brand new song.  We’ve got a lot of tunes in the pipeline, so don’t be surprised if there’s a more steady trickle of releases in the coming months that aren’t necessarily a traditional ‘record’.  We don’t know what we’re doing with it all yet, so I may be forced to eat my words on that.


Jukebox the Ghost: Official Website | Facebook | Twitter

Kryptonite : Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Facebook

(photo courtesy of cortney armitage)

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