This Saturday night is the Evansville Junior League’s Rockin River City Ride Battle of the Bands. There has been a lot of talk this week about “the battle” on social media sites, and it even appears to be somewhat controversial in light of certain reviews.
One of the bands fighting it out this Saturday night at the Battle of the Bands is a sleazy little Rock trio called Ghosts of the Ohio.
The band, which formed in late 2010, began as a studio project between local musicians Dave Cummings and Nick Meeks. The two loosely describe their sound as a combination of the rhythmic; soul filled, blues-rock spirit of Cummings and the hypnotic, psychedelic, rumbling soundscapes of Meeks.
This weekend’s performance will be Ghosts of the Ohio’s first show together since forming nearly two years ago. Very little is known about them. So in an attempt to find out a little more about the elusive Ghost on the Ohio, I sat down with the band last week for an interview.
Tell me a little bit about Ghosts of the Ohio. It’s an interesting name. How did it come about?
Dave Cummings: When we initially started playing together, it was hard to find other people to play with regularly. The idea was to have a core project consisting of Nick and myself. We would then add and subtract other musicians, we liked and respected, as their schedules would permit. We wanted a name that would reflect that. Nick pitched the name Ghosts of the Ohio, and I immediately said YES!
Nick Meeks: So ghosts was kind of meant to represent the passing members who would help on the songwriting, but was also meant as a sort of tongue in cheek reference to the majority of people’s disdain at living in the Midwest.
When I think “battle of the bands” I generally think of something that is put on so that terrible bands and high school kids can play. Why did you choose to do a battle of the bands to debut your band as opposed to just booking a regular gig in the area?
Dave Cummings: It does sound a bit "High School", doesn't it? Perhaps we should coin a better term for events like this.
Nick Meeks: It's going to be a big event. We will be playing for a large amount of people. It would take a year of regular gigs to reach that many ears. I can't think of a better way to share your music with a new audience? Plus I love playing outdoors.
Dave Cummings: It really will be a classy event. The Junior League of Evansville and the Evansville Morning Rotary Club are putting it on. Money raised will help support their many causes and charities.
Are you currently working on a record?
Dave Cummings: We have a dozen or so songs that are studio ready for this album.
Nick Meeks: And 20 to 30 started for future ones...
Dave Cummings: True. We have been neglecting the writing process a bit lately. Most of our time has gone to adding and subtracting songs from our set list for the show on April 21st - 6pm, by the way. Get there early, so you don't miss our set!
Nick Meeks: The outcome of this event will help decide which road to take next…EP or full-length album. Something, for sure. We will see what happens and go from there.
What are your expectations for Ghosts of the Ohio?
Dave Cummings: I'm not sure that I expect anything. I do want to continue to write. I love the whole creation process, and recording it all is a must. There is no better feeling than jamming out something that grabs everyone involved, and takes them on a trip together... except after asking "did that just happen?” you can hit play and hear that it did.
Nick Meeks: We’re constantly changing our approach during the evolution of Ghosts. Where it’s at now is worlds different than where it was when Dave and I started writing songs and recording originally, which started differently than we had originally intended. I have always wanted to be involved in something that wasn’t constrained by staying in a specific genre or mood. I’ve always wanted to play with the rules of music and delve into new territory without being pretentious or overbearing on the listener and losing that connection. I would like to incorporate elements from genres that we’re not too familiar with into what we are doing now to see what comes of it.
What are your goals as a band? Are you focused on establishing yourself here in Evansville, or do you have plans to branch out and perhaps even do some touring?
Dave Cummings: There are a number of bands that I want to play some shows with on a local level. The scene here in Evansville is starting to grow again. You know, it's that "if the locals want it, they will get it" sort of thing.
Nick Meeks: Well, I'm ready to hit the road!
Dave Cummings: A small tour would be great. Once the album is finished, I think it will be a must.
Ok, so if you win the battle of the bands this Saturday and take home the $10K recording package - How will that change things for Ghosts of the Ohio and its future?
Dave Cummings: Winning was never our initial goal. We just wanted to play. It was exciting for me to see interest from others in what we were doing. Initially I thought opening would hurt our chances of winning, since not as many people would be there at 6pm, but I think it is fitting. We are definitely "green". Most of the other bands have been at it for years and have a great fan base. I have seen the other bands live, so I know it will be a great show. If we win, I would be stoked. We would start recording the album as soon as Bret has time for us to come in.
What if you lose?
Dave Cummings: Well, we wouldn't be surprised or anything. There is some great talent playing there that night. We will continue to flesh out the rest of our tunes and book another show. Maybe collaborate more with some fellow musicians... we love to write and create.
If you would like to catch the Ghosts of the Ohio performance at the Evansville Junior League’s Rockin River City Ride Battle of the Bands this Saturday, April 21, you better get their early. The band will be opening the show and are scheduled to go on at 6PM.
For more information on Ghosts of the Ohio:
For more information about the Evansville Junior League’s Rockin River City Ride Battle of the Bands:
By Mike Adams