Hey, Dreadites, it’s Volume 4 of SCARE-RIFF-EYEING: Musical Abominations Horror Fans Should Be Killing For and Dying Over! Go into that cluttered Fred Flintstone-esque closet of yours, pull out those monster feet swim fins, and get ’em on. It’s almost summer, and we’re hitting the beach…
For the most part, if you are a horror music fan, your choices of genre are pretty varied, surprisingly. There are the obligatory death metal pioneers Cannibal Corpse in one corner, backed by literally a legion of other death metal bands, all competing to sing about the latest filmic gem of gory obscurity before one of their brethren. In another corner you have the psychobilly/horror punk thing with bands like The Nekromantix, the Misfits-worshiping Japanese quartet Balzac, and their own sizable army of like-minded bands, who all share an obligatory love for The Misfits and The Cramps. There are a plethora of faux-soundtrack bands like Anima Morte, The Midnight Syndicate, and Zombi with thematically cinematic inspirations and a love of prog music. Even the shoegazers and folkies are getting in on it, my favorite being the funereal droll of The Gothic Archies. And of course in the mainstream you have your Alice Coopers and your Rob Zombies.
But one of my personal favorites is horror-infused surf music. I can count on one hand the number of scary surf bands I know of so the sub-genre isn’t flooded (har har…get it?) with everybody and their pet sea-monsters’ new band. My most beloved of this tiny bunch are definitely THE GHASTLY ONES. Rocking out in costumes stolen straight off the back of Verden Fell with a sound that’ll make you want to hotwire a hearse and go on a joyride to the beach with the Grim Reaper, the urge to bust out a coffin lid surfboard and hang ten over bloodied waters is all-consuming when listening to THE GHASTLY ONES. They are the sonic equivalent to Full Moon Fever. Of course, the first thing that comes to mind hearing them is The Munsters. Their sound is very much in the same vein as the classic, ingrained-in-the-brain theme song by composer Jack Marshall. With twangy yet rippin’ reverb-soaked guitars, bouncy yet pounding drums, spooky-groovy funeral parlor keyboards, and lively bass, THE GHASTLY ONES’ sound is something you could seriously mash some potatoes to.
A four piece instrumental act, THE GHASTLY ONES are comprised of Garrett “Dr. Lehos” on guitar, Ryan “Cousin Boris” Watusi on bass, Norman “Baron Shivers” on drums, and Dave “Captain Clegg” on keys.
Here’s some sinister history from the band’s MySpace page:
The Ghastly Ones emerged from the grave to haunt the SoCal surf and garage scene in the fall of 1996. Hailing from Van Nuys, California, these swingin’ undertakers took their inspiration from the hopped up sounds of early Sixties surf and hot rod outfits like The Lively Ones, Avengers VI, The New Dimensions, and the Fender IV and mixed it with their obsession with late night monster movies, Halloween records, and Screaming Lord Sutch to patent their “spooky surf” sound.
In 1997 The Ghastly Ones recorded their debut album ‘A-Haunting We Will Go-Go’, which was released worldwide by Geffen Records. They toured with the Brian Setzer Orchestra and Southern Culture on the Skids and even composed and recorded music for the Halloween episode of the ever popular cartoon show ‘SpongeBob Squarepants’! Now that’s pretty spooky!
After an extended hiatus, The Ghastly Ones returned to haunt the airwaves with a 10-song EP of rare and unreleased tracks titled ‘All Plastic Assembly Kit’. This limited edition CD quickly sold out.
A brand new full-length CD titled ‘Target: Draculon’ soon followed, and it is currently in its third pressing! Thanks for your killer support! Pick up a copy at the official The Ghastly Ones website.
The latest The Ghastly Ones CD, ‘Uunearthed’ was released August 3, 2007, and is currently in its second pressing!! Pick it up also at the official The Ghastly Ones website. This spooktacular disc features new versions of classic tunes such as “Ghastly Stomp”, “Haulin’ Hearse”, and “Werewolves on Wheels”, previously out of print and available on this disc for the first time ever featuring organ by Dave Klein aka “Captain Clegg”. Rue Morgue Magazine gave it a 4-skull rating and called it “a must for recent Dead-votees of the band”. Dig it!
As you can see by their song titles, THE GHASTLY ONES embrace the aesthetics of old Creature Features programs, classic Universal horror, AIP, Hammer Films, and the like. A bunch of Famous Monsters kids who have grown up (or not!) and learned to rock much like their favorite bands and influences such as Eddie Bertrand, Avengers VI, and The Ventures, THE GHASTLY ONES are a mind riot of references and sense memories. As musicians they are as tight as the skin on a mummy’s ass. This isn’t some half-baked stab by guys who are bored playing punk rock or metal; this is the real deal and a fine example of masterfully executed surf music. Really neat-o stuff and very deserving of your attention. Thematically both tubular and terrifying, THE GHASTLY ONES absolutely rip it up.
Discography: A-Haunting We Will Go-Go, All-Plastic Assembly Kit, Target: Draculon, Unearthed, Gears n’ Ghoulfinks, Spongebob Scaredy Pants, “SpongeBob SquarePants: Original Theme Highlights” (single), “Flying Saucers Over Van Nuys” (single)
See also: Peter Lorre, Screaming Lord Sutch, Rat Fink, Zacherley, practical fx, Aurora monster model kits, fog machines, funeral parlors, Roger Corman, Dick Dale.
Recommended enhancers: Analglyphic 3D glasses, Sex Wax, Tiki bars, absinthe, doin’ the Watusi.
**As a side note, drummer Norman Cabrera has worked as a make-up fx person on many a genre flick. His credits include From Dusk Till Dawn, House on Haunted Hill, Kill Bill, Hellboy, and Drag Me to Hell. You can check him out on IMDB by clicking here.**
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