BTD Music Interview Review – CALLING ALL GHOSTS! You Took My Soul, But I Kept the Heart by the Greg Walsh’s New Ghosts Band
Written by Matt Zin on February 27, 2023
BTD Interviews Greg Walsh’s New Ghosts band new CD: You Took My Soul, But I Kept the Heart
Hi Greg! Nice to talk with you again. I wanted to dig more into your fantastic album You Took My Soul, But I Kept the Heart
I had a chance to listen to your CD, its rock’in I have to say, you must be so proud of this album.
GREG: Hi Dawn, awesome speaking with you again! I’m definitely proud of the album. But I think because songs were released in small batches over the past four years that I’ve already seen its impact, which has been both beyond my expectations and frustrating. There were some amazing reviews, airplay all over Europe – just recently South Africa – and even an interview with an Australian music show, but all of that doesn’t necessarily translate into sales. Now there’s a renewed push because there’s an actual CD you can hold in your hand and put in a CD player if you still have one (laughs).
Just to give our BTD listeners some heads up, I am going to pull a section from our last interview so those who didn’t get a chance to meet you then, they can get to know you a little bit now.
Greg Walsh believes in ghosts, old and new. “I’ve never seen one, but I’ve never seen Idaho either, and I know it’s there,” he laughs. Up until recently he was the longtime drummer for the Boston band Pop Gun. Today, Walsh is concentrating on his own music, which has yielded airplay not only in his home state of Massachusetts, but all around the country and Europe, thanks to JV Music Services PR maven Joe Viglione.
Glad you believe in ghosts because they are real. I met one for the first time in a house that I lived in back in Ohio. It was a beautiful musical experience. Later when we moved out, we found out that house was haunted, a famous doctor lived there. They have since turned it into a town museum and the ghost story is told repeatedly. Since you have never met a ghost, but you still believe, what is your connection with them?
GREG: I’m just fascinated by them. I religiously watch all those ghost hunter TV shows, but after a couple of episodes it starts getting under my skin and I need to switch over to “The Andy Griffith Show” or something to lighten the mood! If I was on one of those shows I’d be the guy who stays in the van to guard the equipment (laughs)! In regards to the band name, ghosts offer a lot to think about: Do you believe in them? Have you ever seen one? Are you scared of them or comforted by knowing they’re out there? And ghosts can be the metaphorical ones we carry around with us from our pasts. I thought adding the word “New,” as in New Ghosts, added a layer of intrigue to the name. I’m often asked in interviews why “New” Ghosts, so I know it’s working!
I have to say, You Took My Soul, But I Kept the Heart is a compelling and haunting album that showcases your talent as a songwriter and performer, that’s for sure. The album features nine tracks, with a mix of acoustic and electric instrumentation, with lush arrangements that support your introspective lyrics and emotive vocals. What compelled you to write this album?
GREG: Well first, thank you for the kind words. It all started in 2017 or so when my band at the time broke up. I wondered if I was reaching my expiration date for being a “band guy,” and I truly wondered is this it? I always believed that every band I played in was leading up to something. Not necessarily fame and fortune, but at least some feeling of satisfaction I could achieve before I walked away. I wasn’t feeling that. So I began writing and contacted the best studio in the state, Woolly Mammoth Sound in Waltham, Massachusetts. The studio is run by David Minehan, who plays in one of my favorite local groups of all time, The Neighborhoods. He had also just come off a tour playing guitar with The Replacements, so he is the real deal. We’d work together to establish the BPMs for the songs, put in the click tracks or drum loops, and then I’d start with a guitar track and maybe a scratch vocal. Once a foundation started to form, I recorded my drum tracks. From there I started to call friends in to add some different flavors. My go-to guitar guys were my son Dylan and my old Pop Gun mate James Melanson (now Little Billy Lost). And David is always very generous with lending his talents to the bands that record at his studio. He plays killer guitar on “Mr. Fix It” and bass on “Blanktape.”
This album opens with the song, “The New Ghost (In Requiem,)” a haunting short instrumental track, “Counting Down to Zero (From 1),” follows with a frenetic, fast-paced melody that features complex interplay between the various instruments. Other standout tracks include “Blanktape,” which has some driving bass lines, intricate drumming and expressive guitar playing melodies, and “June Gloom,” which features a haunting piano melody and intricate harmonies. Quite a contrast, each song stands so beautifully on its own. Can you share what each one of these songs are about?
GREG: “The New Ghost (In Requiem)” was written when I was recording the keyboards to “Meet Your Maker,” a song from a legendary Boston band from the ‘80s called the New Models. It has a haunting feel to it so it’s a good mood setter for the album. When I hear it, I imagine people crossing over the realm and becoming ghosts, New Ghosts.
“Counting Down to Zero” (From 1) has a doomsday theme. The clock is running out and the end of the world is approaching by way of a world war or alien attack. Meanwhile, during the course of everyday life, you see broken families, bullies, unrequited love, all things that can make you feel like it’s the end of the world. It all sounds pretty bleak, but the lyric “you took my soul but I kept the heart” offers hope, I think, which is why it’s the name of the album!
For “Blanktape,” my son Dylan wrote the music and I wrote the lyrics. We all remember recording our mixtapes back in the day, grabbing songs from our favorite bands and using them to tell our stories. And with Blanktape left, you still have time to tell your story. It’s not over yet.
“June Gloom” is a really heavy song (laughs). I actually wrote the piano riff for it when I was in high school. I was fooling around with it on the keyboard in the studio and my son was like, “What is that? That’s the best thing you’ve ever written!” So I decided to make use of it. I came up with new words to it pretty quickly, writing about when my family moved from Massachusetts to Southern California for my dad’s job, and how isolated I felt when we got there. It was just so different, but eventually I started embracing the differences, like having burritos for lunch every day in junior high, hiking the nearby canyons and catching lizards, and not having to shovel snow. I think that anyone who relocates to a new place, especially as a kid, can relate to this song.
I do have to say, “Blanktape” makes me want to get up and dance… and just jump around. I have to ask, your tracked titled, “Tomorrow In High School (The Sequel)”, what does the Sequel mean?
GREG: That’s a really good question. You stumped me! I recorded the song for a local compilation of bands covering the music of Jonee Earthquake, a local legend around here. He’s a punk-rock pirate with a DIY attitude – one of his songs is “DIY or Die.” Anyway, Jonee didn’t actually write “Tomorrow In High School.” It was written by a guy he knows named Chris Rydell. When Jonee recorded it, he updated the lyrics, and I figured that’s where “The Sequel” comes in. But I reached out to Jonee so I could get the answer for you, and he said he honestly doesn’t know where “The Sequel” came from. So that will have to remain a mystery!
To those who read this… overall, “You Took My Soul, But I Kept the Heart,” is a highly recommended album for fans who love different styles of rock, who enjoy innovative arrangements, expert musicianship, and a willingness to experiment with different styles and sounds.
You can find more music by Greg Walshe’s New Ghosts at:
Catch up on our previous interview with Greg