Denver's The Ghoulies Aren't As Spine-Chilling As You Might Think

By: Claire Woodcock

I met up with four-fifths of the boozy, bluesy Denver punk outfit The Ghoulies on Colfax Avenue earlier this month. Besides conjuring ghosts at The Stanley Hotel, dressing up as five Dave Grohls aka “The Grohlies” for Halloween, and keeping van thieves in Texas at bay with a $14 machete from Walmart because “it was cheaper than a baseball bat,” The Ghoulies really aren’t as spine-chilling as you might think.

In fact, these guys are hilarious. Their comedic timing is on point, probably because they’ve all known each other since middle school. The group started playing together in 2009 as a Blink-182/Green Day/Misfits cover band under the name “Grandpa Tom and the Family Business.” The guys changed their name two years later on Halloween, and their sound transformed as well. The whole band insists that bringing in a blues guitarist and organist hot on the Denver 38th Street scene (who also happens to be member Dan Yergert’s twin brother) has played a huge part in The Ghoulies evolved blues/punk sound.

“If you slowed down all of our songs and took away all of the distortion, a lot of them are 12-part blues, just straight up,” said blues guitarist Jake Yergert. “I feel like there's less cow-punk rockabilly kind of stuff [in Denver]. We're more rocky and not so hardcore compared to a lot of the bands we play with.”

As a result, The Ghoulies contend with not always seeing themselves as being punk enough for the punk scene or garagey enough for the garage scene. Instead, they’re really concentrated on capturing this sort of raggedy-end of the blues, all while maintaining rad day jobs. Members Dan and Jake Yergert are both English teachers, singer/guitarist Adam Moore is a structural engineer, drummer Connor Randall moonlights as a paranormal investigator, and bassist Spencer Lovell works for a YouTube company. The Ghoulies seriously keep things interesting.

On stage, these guys look like Mormons, dressed in button-up white shirts with black ties, but they rip like there’s an alien invasion happening down the street. They’re gearing up to record their third record, which they’re predicting to have to record somewhere around nine times if the tracking process goes anything like their last two albums did. The Ghoulies have gone from a DIY basement studio to recording in the Yergert’s family church. One of their friends recorded their self-titled album in 2013, which drummer/ghost hunter Connor Randall called “really janky.”

“The [self-titled LP’s] solos are pretty basic,” said Randall. “It's very much like pentatonic blues stuff; then we kind of break out of that a little bit more. [Roswell A-Go-Go] has this weird pseudo gospel praise be to an Elvis Christ sort of thing, and so it was a lot more cohesive and a lot more of what we were actually going for.”

The Ghoulies went all out on album two, recording Roswell A-Go-Go in 2015 at Black in Bluhm Studios in Denver, and mixing at District Recording Studio in San Jose, California. On Roswell A-Go-Go, the ghouls say they defined their kitsch with paranormal ambience and sci-fi references to old radioplay broadcasts from the likes of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. The band even went so far as to shoot the cover of Roswell at the Stanley Hotel up in Estes Park, where ghost hunter Randall had been a Resident Investigator for nearly 5 years.

“Funny story about that,” began Dan, “We were all up there around Halloween last year and we have a song on that album called ‘Lucy’ and it's named after the ghost that haunts the basement of the concert hall, who we think has a crush on Connor. So we're sitting in Lucy's room, it's like 2AM, and Connor's got the equipment out. I'm getting really nervous, so I'm making jokes constantly and Connor goes, ‘If there's a presence here or something, can you make yourself known?’ The door slammed shut and since I was sitting right by the door, I grabbed the equipment I was holding and I ran out of there.”

If you’re a ghost hunter too, you can find The Ghoulies at Seventh Circle Music Collective a few dates this month, including this Sunday October 16th at 630PM for the venue’s 999th show. The Ghoulies will join local punk rockers The Quitters, Crushed!?, Redneck Nosferatu, Silver Screen Monsters and Had Enough. And just in time for Halloween, The Ghoulies will play Seventh Circle’s Haunted House night with The Atom Age and Boulder’s The Ephinjis.

Keep an eye out for The Ghoulies' next album, due out in 2017. And stay tuned for more Colorado punk chronicles.

-Claire

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Riot Fest Is a Whole Different Kind of Rodeo

By: Sierra Voss

This is gonna be one rowdy rodeo.

Riot Fest day one was rowdy. I saw it all: people chowing down on turkey legs, headbanging to ripping guitar solos, breaching barriers while moshing, and fans crying while they stood watching what was clearly, one of their favorite bands. Although the fest was packed with rioters, some people simply couldn’t hang. Humans were already passed out come 5PM, scattered about the coliseum (Hoffman stage stomping grounds). It was no doubt a scorcher, and 12 hours of nonstop music under the beating sun took its toll.

Suicidal Tendencies.

Suicidal Tendencies.

Things really heated up when Suicidal Tendencies took the Rock Stage. A sea of black t-shirts stood tightly packed together, hands raised and fingers firmly sporting the historic rock and roll symbol. True story though, I am not overestimating the ratio of black shirts to varying colors of t-shirts at Riot Fest yesterday. It must have been 10-1 and about 50% of those black shirts had the classic Misfits skull logo on them.Riot Fest’s foods stands were on point: corn on the cob, corn dogs, funnel cakes, donuts, and fresh squeezed lemonade. My personal favorite music festival food stop, hands down is, McDevitt Taco Supply. Its a food truck near and dear to my heart, hailing from Boulder, CO. In a sea of new faces, food trucks and merchandise tents, it is grounding to see a little piece of home. Plus, these tacos will give you a hard on.

NOFX.

NOFX.

NOFX took the Hoffman stage for a rowdy late afternoon set. What a crew- unnecessary leg lifts were crushed and leather kilts were worn. The Hoffman stage, no doubt, housed the rowdiest bands of the day, with NOFX leading the pack.

Death Cab For Cutie.

Death Cab For Cutie.

When the sun went down, the dust settled and Death Cab For Cutie took the Roots stage. I grew up on these dude’s music; each on of their songs truly has a fond place in my heart. But truth be told, they played a pretty ‘meh’ set last night at Riot Fest. Their setlist was a bit mellow and left fans (mainly me) craving more of their classics. It pains me to be critical of their performance, but I left feeling a bit disappointed. If they hadn’t played “Soul Meets Body”, my disappointment would have turned to anger.

Deftones.

Deftones.

Deftones wrapped day one with a ripping set. Guitarist Stephen Carpenter rocked a sweet “The F*ck Face” t-shirt, and lead singer Chino Moreno kept using his mic like a lasso, swinging it across the stage with no discernment about smacking fellow band members. The crowd's energy was ravenous, devouring every song and screaming out for more. One can only hope Riot Fest was warm up to a Deftones solo tour.

Riot Fest: No livestock needed to create a downright rowdy rodeo.

See more Riot Fest photos on our Facebook.

-Sierra

All photos per the author for BolderBeat. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Punk's not dead. In fact, it’s not even aging.

By: Nikki Steele

Rancid has the same punk rock energy they always have.

Rancid headlined a show at the Summit Music Hall this weekend (with opener 7 Seconds ) and both bands proved that punk rock is still kickin’.

the stage setup.

the stage setup.

Let’s be honest- the guys from Rancid and 7 Seconds are all older dudes who have been playing for 20+ years. None of these guys look like they’re in their 20s anymore. In fact, it was Lars Frederiksen’s (Rancid guitar/vocals) 44th birthday the day of the show. But what hasn’t aged is the power of their performances. Though  Kevin Seconds (7 Seconds vocals) told us, “we’re out here acting like we're 20, but feeling like we're 60,” you’d never know it. Both sets were full of kicks, spins and punk rock dancing. And this was after both bands had just played Denver’s Riot Fest, Rancid on Saturday and 7 Seconds just eight hours before their Summit set. Colorado usually welcomes out of breath singers, due to our altitude, but no such excuse was needed Sunday night. Neither band put their energy on pause for even a second, and neither did their fans.

The electricity of the punk fans was apparent even at the beginning of Rancid’s set. As Lars started to introduce a song, he got cut off by the crowd screaming his own album titles at him. It didn't take long for the screams to turn into the entire crowd singing “Happy Birthday,” which brought a look of surprise and satisfaction to Lars’ face. He was stoked, and so was everyone around me.

crowd love.

crowd love.

And even when you might have expected things to slow down, they didn’t. At one point, Lars’ amp blew out and the show was paused for ‘technical difficulties.’ Lars shouted, “This is just punk rock!” and proceeded to entertain us with jokes while the roadies worked to get the show going again. Though there wasn’t music happening, everyone was still having a great time.

Sometime after this, a fight broke out in the crowd. Here, Lars actually stopped the set and basically told us that he didn’t care what had happened, that the fight had to stop, and that “this is our time right now, and on our time there is no fighting.” Everyone was quiet. And this is when I had the chance to look around the crowd and realize that one of the most amazing parts of any punk rock show is the fans.

punk rock worship.

punk rock worship.

The crowd was made up of old rockers in their 1991 Rancid shirts, the new punk rock kids whose leather hasn’t even been broken in yet, and a bunch of people wearing Misfit clothes from Hot Topic. And then there were the ones who looked like they didn’t even listen to punk. But no matter which category you fit into, the crowd moved and worked with each other for the rest of the night.

Punk has always been about giving people a place to go to do what they want to do: to dance, to jump around, to mosh, to whatever. The entire crowd moved with the music, from the front of the barricade, to the circle pit in the middle, to the people in the very back of the venue. The mosh pit was crazy; there were even small children moshing! There were crowd surfers flying, people falling down, and beer cans being thrown left and right. The crowd pushed and moved, but when the music stopped, so did all of the chaos, and everyone walked away just fine.

When I left for the night, I couldn’t believe it: Here were these middle-aged guys with a (mostly) middle-aged crowd and everyone was getting down like nothing’s changed. But I guess that's just punk rock for ya.

-Nikki

All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Watch a Rancid video here: