I’m going to take a back seat for the next couple of days as I hand over the floor to Andy Wood.
Andy is promoting a show in Dundee next Friday (4th November) at Beat Generator Live! Appearing will be ex Slit Viv Albertine, TheCreeping Ivies, Ghosts of Progress and his own band, Hookers for Jesus. In the first of a series of interviews with these acts, Andy seeks out Ghosts of Progress.
I only stumbled upon Ghosts Of Progress recently through the recommendation of John at Beat Generator Live! but I was mightily impressed with their raw, feral blues-garage sound, even more so when I discovered that they were a duo. Their debut album, the wonderfully named Exchange Your Problems For Dope & Whisky came out last year on Motor Sounds Records and they’ve been playing live the length and breadth of the country ever since. With songs like ‘Free Dumb’, ‘Coffin Dodger’ and ‘Headcase’ with their vicious riffs and howled vocals, subtlety isn’t a phrase that comes to mind but they have a winning way with a cool riff and wicked turn of phrase. Anyway I’ll let Lew do the talking…
Who are the Ghosts of Progress? How did the band come about and what have you done to date?
A 2 piece garage, brutal blues band from the rock n roll kingdom of Montrose. Lew Palgrave (guitar, vocals and kick drums) Callum Christie (guitar) Formed after a previous 4 piece went tits up and Callum was the only one willing to stick around to put up with my shit! Played over 300 gigs over the last 3 years and released our debut album “exchange your problems for dope & whisky” via motor sounds records last year, available from here www.ghostsofprogress.bigcartel.com
What are your main influences, musical and otherwise?
Growing up for me it was mainly punk, metal and alt blues but nowadays mainly the bands we play with regularly. We’ve been lucky enough to play with a lot of bands who’s music we love. The likes of the Bucky Rage, Filthy Little Secret, the Girobabies, Acid Fascists, Fatalists, Sleepy Eyes Nelson and Lafaro to name just a few, have all made a difference to us in different ways. Just playing with bands you dig has a big influence on you. We spent a lot of time playing the wrong venues to the wrong crowds with the wrong bands, mainly bland shite indie bands, so getting out there and gigging regularly is the best influence for anybody whether the gigs a good one or a bad one.
Ghosts Of Progress have released a few things on the Motor Sounds label including the album Exchange Your Problems For Dope And Whisky. Could you tell me a bit more about your releases to date please.
We self released a 4 track live EP in late 2008, recorded in a pub in Montrose. Had a good response, plenty of radio play too. Including a few tunes played on radio 1 with me telling someone to fuck off at the end of one of the songs as they forgot edit it out, classic. We met Andy from Motor Sounds Records while playing a few shows with The Bonnevilles while they were touring over here, we put our album out on motor sounds last year. Plenty of disc’s punted and some decent write up’s too, go to www.facebook.com/ghostsofprogress to take a look. The album was available for download for a limited time, I’m all for downloads etc and keep moving forward with things but the problem I have with the majority of people who download music is they sit on their fat arses in front of a computer screen downloading 800 fucking albums a week, have never been to any sort of gig in their life and call themselves music fans. I don’t want people like that listening to my music. I’d rather be skint.
Lew, you mentioned before that you feel Ghosts Of Progress are more of a live entity than a recorded one. How do you feel about the recordings to date? What kind of response have you had so far?
The recordings we’ve done so far are ok, nothing wrong with them, had a good response to most of them, it gets the idea across, but I prefer the earlier recordings as they were rawer, we learnt over the past few years that’s the way to go and not to fuck around with shit too much, Ghosts Of Progress are a 2 piece blues noise mainly, one guys stamping half a drum kit to death and playing slide guitar badly while screaming over the top of it. While the other franticly tries to keep up riffing like mad. It is what it is and you can’t polish that kind of thing, it ends up sounding weak and some of our recordings have suffered that fate, so live is always gonna be the way in future. I’m away to record some one man band stuff I’ve been working on next week, just set the gear up turn everything to max and play for 2 days solid and let Mo (our regular audio engineer) worry about capturing it.
What has been your favourite gig to date?
We’ve played some great gigs over the past few years some great venues too, the ABC 2 and Carling Academy in Glasgow were great to play because the sound systems in those venues are top notch and it’s great to play those places, but I always think that if you have a decent p.a and engineer in any venue the night is what you make of it. I love 13th Note, Stereo and Pivo Pivo in Glasgow for gigs, great sounding venues run by great people especially Pivo. One of my favourite places we’ve played though is a wee book and record shop in Leith in Edinburgh called the Elvis Shakespeare, I love instore gigs they are good fun. We’ve played some great gigs in our home town which are always a great and full of great laughs, from people getting naked, stage diving, someone once rugby tackled a table full of drinks and then covered a few people in blood, it’s kinda surreal looking up during a song and you see folk running about with blood all over them thinkin it’s the greatest thing ever. Our music can tend to turn drunk blokes into hooligans. Fun though.
Have either of you played in any other bands?
Yeah we played in a four piece before Ghosts Of Progress but that was never gonna happen in the long run. At the end of the day I’m not a people person, and have little time for other people’s opinions when it comes to music that I’ve written, so working with one other person is all I’m capable of, plus the majority of drummers out there are usually either shit or unreliable and the majority of bass players are just shit guitar players that end up plugging away on the top string of a bass. For this reason we don’t use drummers or bassists.
For those people who haven’t seen Ghosts Of Progress live yet what can they expect?
As I’ve already said Ghosts Of Progress are a 2 piece blues noise, one guys stamping half a drum kit to death with one foot and playing slide guitar badly while screaming over the top of it. While the other franticly tries to keep up riffing like mad. So do yourselves a favour turn your fucking computers off and get your lazy arses out to Beat Generator Live in Dundee on the 4th of Nov J
What would be your ideal gig
We’ve played lots of ideal gigs to be honest, over the past few years as I’ve said we’ve been lucky to meet and play with bands we dig, we don’t get out to see as many gigs as we would like as we gig ourselves every week so an ideal gig line up for me to go and watch would be something like Kong, Part Chimp, Slaughter and The Dogs, Acid Fascists, Son Of Dave, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Sepultura, The Slits, Filthy Little Secret, Jawbone and Honkey Finger.
What have Ghosts Of Progress got planned in the coming months?
Gigs, gigs, gigs and more gigs. We are really looking forward to this gig with Viv Albertine as The Slits were an amazing band who I love immensely. The Creeping Ivies are also on the bill who I’m really looking forward to seeing, I stumbled across one of their songs on the internet a wee while ago it sounded great so great to be on the same bill. We are playing with Dave Arcari soon which will be sound, we’ve played with Dave a few times and it’s always a great night he’s shit hot.We’ve got a show in Montrose soon with the Bucky Rage from Glasgow and the Cundeez from Dundee who I’ve never seen live yet but love their music so really looking forward to that. Check our gig list on our facebook page for gig updates from now until the end of the year. I might also have a few one man band recordings floating about soon too.
Anything else you would like to add?
Think I’ve havered enough shite for now 😉
Tickets for the show are available in advance from Groucho’s in Dundee or on the internet that Lew loves so much here.