Jukebox the Ghost Inhabits Stylistic Purgatory

With everything being remade, redone, rebottled and re-marketed, finding something truly different, unique through and through, is like trying to find a dust of gold in an overflowing bucket of rust. Highly unlikely, but that doesn’t mean you’re gonna stop panning for it. For this moment, however, take a moment to bathe in the bright glory of the gold that is Jukebox the Ghost.

Since 2004, or as they were previously known as, The Sunday Mail, Ben Thornewill, Tommy Siegel, and Jesse Kristen have been experimenting with music. The piano player, guitar player, and drummer respectively, have created something in-between. A purgatory of genres and styles: somewhere between old-fashioned rock and roll, the jazz age, and pop music is where they reside.

Tommy Siegel
Tommy Siegel

A home they happily inhabit in their creative moments. “In general, Ben and I write separately and bring songs to the band to arrange, but that process keeps changing. Now we do a lot more cowriting, and sometimes we’ll write with outside friends. We’re both very prolific writers, so we generally come into recording sessions with upwards of 80 songs,” Siegel said.

When it only takes a minimum of eight songs to make an album, we can only hope that the following recording sessions yield about ten or so compilations. Although hopeful, incredibly unlikely. At their charity concert in Brooklyn, New York this past November, the band mentioned a time in which they began a recording session with so many audio files to work from, they crashed the entire system. Computers working once again, they came away with one pleasurably sad album. As oxymoronic as that may sound, the lyrics are deceptive, the melodies distracting, but there is no happy fairy gliding between the lines. For once, your sad song may get you out of bed rather than being swallowed hole by one’s tears.

Ben Thornewill and Jesse Kristin

Luckily, if you’re looking for some new camouflage music, Siegel did mention that, “We *are* recording our sixth album from January through March of 2020 and that we have some killer songs ready to go. I can’t wait.”

If patience is not your strong suit, you can always watch their performances from Letterman, Conan, Lollapalooza, and Bonnaroo. A kind of dream for Siegel, “For me, when I think about it, we’ve already hit a lot of the benchmarks I had dreamed of when I was younger.”

“But, the funny thing about success is, that no matter how successful you get, it always seems just out of reach. So we always have new goals, but I try to remind myself that we’ve already accomplished so much of what we dreamed of doing when we started. Even if we are still totally broke from time to time!” Siegel said.

Perhaps the constant change of direction is more of an homage to their early years, to their musical purgatory. Either way, Jukebox the Ghost is still roaming their world between worlds, their style between styles, and their goals between goals. “From our roots as a party band, we’ve always been such crowd-pleasers, so our music has always been deeply shaped by the live experience. Which, for us, is an excuse to make other people have a good time. I think we want our music to be a reflection of life in all of its complexity, but in a way that’s in a spirit of hope and imagination. And hopefully some fun sprinkled in there too,” Siegel said, still riding the frontier between frontiers.

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