In Memory of the Band I Am Ghost
I Am Ghost was a Long Beach California band that formed in 2004 and was signed to Epitaph Records the following year. Primarily using MySpace to gain a following and spread the word about their music, I Am Ghost had a lot of success as a band. However, after five years with Epitaph Records they decided to split up in July 2010. It’s too because the band really seemed like a musical group that was meant to be. It’s also too bad because this is a band that is decent when you hear them on the radio but really great when you see them live.
Those who achieve success frequently say that it is due to a combination of hard work and a whole lot of luck. Most religions and philosophies offer their believers some variation on the concept of “ask and ye shall receive”. Whether it is in the form of sacrificing to the gods or in the manner of setting your desires aloft in the universe so that they can come back threefold, the basic idea is that when you can clearly articulate what it is that you are looking for, you will be able to attain it. In similar fashion, most doctrines of thought offer up some version of the warning that you should “pray to God, but row for shore”. When combined, these two lines of thought come together to suggest that you should define what you want from life, go after it with all of your heart and soul and then enjoy the fact that things seem to just miraculously fall in to place.
This combination of effort and effortlessness comes to mind when listening to Steve Juliano, lead vocalist for I Am Ghost, tell the story of how the band came to fruition. “The band formed around December of 2004. I had just quit my last band and was flying home from the last tour. It was a long plane trek from Florida to Los Angeles so I had a lot of time to think. While on the flight, I kept going through my notes of poems, short stories and artwork, and came across a short sentence in one of the letters. It said something like, "You will never forget me, you will never be the same … I am ghost."
“I saw the words I Am Ghost and they just seemed to catch my attention. I couldn't get those three words out of my head for a few days. At that point, I thought I was over the whole band thing, and went back to work in animation at my job in Hollywood. But, every day I would think of those words, and they kind of inspired me you can say. I created a MySpace band page on a whim, calling it I Am Ghost. I added kids each day, and slowly searched out people on the net. The name gave me this feeling in my gut; it was something I wanted to do since I was a kid, but I never had the chance to because I could never find the members who understood what I was trying to do.”
It may have taken years of living life to get there, but once Juliano put himself out there, his hard work combined with the winds of luck to bring I Am Ghost together quickly and completely, almost as if it was simply meant to be. During the first few years that the band was active it changed very little because the six band members all came together with the same goals in mind, goals which included a focus on performing for their audience and creating stage shows that blended various mediums to create an art form that had their music as a solid foundation supporting something bigger than itself. And the fans of I Am Ghost were as devoted to the band as the band was to them; Juliano reports that he has seen several I Am Ghost tattoos on youngsters who have fallen in love with their sound. This loyalty by the fans further inspired the band to develop their music with the fans in mind.
Unfortunately after a couple of years there were changes in the band membership. People quit the band due to health reasons and then the dynamics of the group were altered and tensions arose. They did continue to produce music together, though, releasing their second full length album (titled Those We Leave Behind) in 2008.
The sound of I Am Ghost is not for everyone. Their first full length album (Lovers’ Requiem, released in 2006) was called a rock opera for hardcore kids. The band’s music combines the roots of Goth music with forays in to punk, alternative and various sub-genres of rock and those listeners who want something which is easily compartmentalized into one type of sound will find themselves disappointed. But, it is music which lends itself well to both aural aesthetics and development of a show which accessorizes the music itself. It’s sad to know that this band is no longer together and touring because this band is a band that is best experienced live before a final judgment is made about their music. Upon leaving their concerts, many people felt like their requests for the universe to give them something new musically was met with something akin to hard-won fate. All good things do have to come to and end, though, and this band may have just been in the right place at the right time and then that time faded.