Random Records with Steve O

Ghost Mice- The Debt of the Dead

Steve O - June 20, 2014

The Debt of the Dead

So two of the Change the Rotation team (Davey and myself), will be at Plan-It-X Fest in Bloomington, IN this weekend. To celebrate there’s three Random Records, highlighting one of the bands playing each night. In addition to placing the spotlight on some great folk punk records, it’ll be a three day story of my relationship to the genre, through three of the more influential acts. So check in throughout the weekend for some good music (definitely) and good reading (hopefully).

We wouldn’t be here without Ghost Mice. Besides the obvious fact of Chris Clavin running Plan-It-X Records and curating Plan-It-X Fest, Ghost Mice are one of the bands who can claim to have a hand in starting modern folk punk as we know it. For many, it was likely 2004’s The Debt of the Dead that served as their introduction, both to Ghost Mice and possibly folk punk in general. (Their split with Saw Wheel served as my introduction to both. While originally released in 2003, I stumbled upon it probably sometime in 2006.) The Debt of the Dead is classic Ghost Mice, with live staples such as “Figure 8” and “Up the Punks,” underappreciated and uplifting songs such as “The Road Goes on Forever” and “Alas Babylon,” and an awesome cover of the Smiths “There is a Light That Never Goes Out.” Like most Ghost Mice records, the booklet is full of Chris Clavin’s distinctive art and handwritten notes describing each song.

Ghost Mice live

Ghost Mice are renown for their DIY approach, which includes shows in houses, community centers, and other DIY spaces. Back when I started listening to Ghost Mice, Danny of Don’t Panic and me both figured they were a band we’d never get to see live. In 2009 they played in a house in Chicago, and I figured that would be the only chance I’d have to see them. How wrong I was. I have seen them six times since then (including a show in DeKalb that Danny booked), with this year’s PIX Fest making time eight in total. Saturday’s entry to Random Records is much the same way in this regard. While originally thinking I would never have the opportunity to see them live, the number has since inflated quickly. Any guesses about whom I am referring to?

Give The Debt of the Dead a listen here.