An Interview With The Blues-Rock Band GHOST HOUNDS On Their Just Released Album, ‘Roses Are Black’ and More!
Today, the blues-rock band Ghost Hounds released their newest album, “Roses Are Black.”
Ghost Hounds opened for the Rolling Stones this past summer and toured with ZZ Top and Bob Seger last month (playing Seger’s final show). Their new album features guest appearances by Slash, Reese Wynans, and Kenny Aronoff, and was produced by David Grissom and Eddie Kramer.
Led by vocalist Tre’ Nation, the band fuses Texas blues-rock with Tre’s soulful vocals, resulting in a cross between Stevie Ray Vaughan and Sam Cooke. They’re the brainchild of guitarist Thomas Tull, the founder of Legendary Entertainment (Jurassic World, The Dark Knight, etc.) and an incredibly interesting guy in his own right.
Learn more about Ghost Hounds in the following All Access interview-
Thanks for your time! Now that we are at the end of the year, how would you say that 2019 has treated this band? What have been some goals this group has had this year? How close are you to reaching them? What are you already excited about for 2020?
2019 has been an incredible year for the band. From recording the album with special guests like Reese Wynans, Kenny Aronoff, David Grissom, and Slash… to sharing the stage with Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson, ZZ Top, and Bob Seger. It has been a year full of energy and given us the chance to showcase the band and passion for our music.
Looking forward to a busy 2020. The band will be working on the second album and continuing to connect with fans across the country touring and playing festivals.
How do you think Pittsburgh has influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group? How has the music scene there changed over the years?
The city of Pittsburgh represents a work ethic and a classical appreciation for music from blues to Rock and Roll. Both influencers on who Ghost Hounds is as a band.
Let’s talk about your creating the album. Did anything surprise you about the overall processes?
It is always both thrilling and surprising when you can take a melody in your head, or a lyric idea that you’ve been throwing around, and see it come to fruition in a fully realized way. Being able to see people’s reaction to the song is icing.
While it’s difficult to choose, can you pick out a few of your favorite songs on ‘Roses Are Black’? What was the inspiration for them?
“Til It’s Gone” is definitely a favorite. The inspiration started with a riff and an idea about being with someone that you connect with and just wanting to be in the moment. No planning for the future – just savoring every moment and enjoying that human connection.
Tough to choose between the others but “Bad News” is a standout. Classic 1-4-5 Rock and Roll song where you hear guitars, piano, and a great drum beat. Our character in the song is a bit of a rascal but a fun-loving guy…until one day he meets a girl who makes him stop and question everything.
Generally, how does this group go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately? What is the first step in your music-making process?
Thomas is the creative force behind the music. On the first album he worked with Kevin Bowe and David Grissom on both lyrics and music. He’s also doing most of the writing on the second album and working with Kevin again as well as Vance Powell.
I always like to ask bands if you all hang out socially apart from the music? In other words, when you aren’t working on music, do you guys enjoy hanging out for fun?
Yes! The band genuinely enjoys each other’s company and although we have full lives and responsibilities outside the band, we get each other. People always tell us that the affection comes through when we play live. That’s very important to us — to do what we love to do with people we like doing it with.
How do you feel that this band has grown over time? What has remained the same?
Life experiences change us and that change shifts our perspective which comes through in the music. What has remained a constant thread is the True North of the music and the influences in blues and rock and roll.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
Those are both very different experiences that can bring an incredible amount of joy in their own unique ways. In the studio it’s the hard work and the grinding with the gratification of watching something being built. Playing live offers you a chance to share your music with audiences and get instant feedback, and the feeling of connection that you have with the audience. They’re equally important.
What do you think makes for an ideal show for this band? What have been some of your favorite shows and venues lately?
We try to bring the same energy every night regardless of venue. That’s really important to us. Then there’s obviously the context around the gig from playing with the Rolling Stones in front of 60k people in a stadium, being on stage with ZZ Top, and having the absolute privilege of playing on Bob Seger’s last show in Philadelphia with that tangible raw energy.
We’ve also had the opportunity to play a number of several smaller places like Antone’s in Austin – which is such a historic venue and though it’s a smaller crowd, the gravity of a place like that hits you. It’s an amazing dynamic to share such an intimate space with such passionate fans.
How has social media impacted this band? How often are you all on your different sites interacting with fans? How have you been able to utilize it through the years?
It’s a way for us to keep in touch with fans and make new ones who want to follow our story as a band. Also, besides the usual channels, we’re an early adopter of a pioneering platform called Community that allows us to have a text message relationship with our fans. It really is incredible to be able to communicate with a group of engaged people real-time.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you all think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? Do you find that your music is an escape to all the current events?
Every time period has its challenges. In the 50s you had Chuck Berry and the blues greats dealing with the challenges of segregation. In the 60s, the greatest rock and roll bands of all time like The Stones and Led Zeppelin dealt with Vietnam and the unrest. Challenges exist in all time periods and it’s always interesting to see how music influences culture during those times.
What musicians have really been inspiring you all since you first started making music?
From blues greats like Elmore James and Robert Johnson, to great rock and roll bands like the Rolling Stones and the great ZZ Top, to the writing of John Fogerty and CCR. Simply inspired by great artists spanning all decades and genres.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
Just to have an authentic voice and to find and connect with people that love rock and roll and blues. We think there are people across the world that love this music.