One Girl, Two Cities

Q&A with Gus Watkins of Ghost Army

genrebeastThis is the first of a 5 part series of interviews with Gus Watkins, a local music artist. He is a member of five different bands, all with different members, all of whom are releasing a CD over the course of their collective residency at Gamut Gallery this summer and fall. They’re calling the series of shows Genrebeast.

The Genrebest manifesto is as follows: We believe music is about art movement, not genre; community, not scene; playing, not partying.

Ghost Army kicks off the residency April 23 with their album release of Sleepywood Dojo. Mrs. and Black Widows will perform as well; more information follows the interview.

Q. Who are the members of Ghost Army, and how did you come together?

A. Gus Watkins: drums, Merritt Benton: basses, Chad Stanley: guitars and vocals. Ghost Army probably began as a dare over Jameson shots, but we don’t really remember.  We were inspired by the weird instrumental improv stuff that was going around in 2010 and 2011. We’d hear that a lot at places like Nick & Eddie (RIP), but we wanted to create something a bit more rock oriented, and premeditated. Plus, we all wanted to be in a project that took us outside of our respective comfort levels.

Q. Describe the musical intention of Ghost Army in twitter terms, 140 characters or fewer.

A. Psychedelic math-punk trio.


Q. What does Sleepywood Dojo mean?

A. Sleepywood Dojo is the name of our recording studio. We accidentally pulled an Abbey Road. But the space has become like a fifth Beatle to us.

Q. Simba, Timon, Pumbaa. Which member matched each character and why?

A. We consider ourselves apolitical.

Q. After a show at which restaurant can people most commonly find you?

A. We’re not allowed to eat after midnight.

Q. What is one of your hidden talents?

A. Reading the fine print in warranties.

Q. Which 3 bands or artists would be in the lineup of your dream show?

A. Nomeansno, Queens of the Stone Age, Mogwai. We’d be the opener.

Ghost Army

Ghost Army (L-R): Merritt Benton, Gus Watkins, Paul Stanley

Q. Besides rehearse, what do you to to prepare for a show, both mentally and physically?

A. We perform group stretches. I am not joking. There’s always a group hug before we go on, too. It helps to just come together and remind each other you love each other, and once all the organization is done and practice and postering and artwork, you got into this for the love of music and the trust in each other that you could do it together.

Q. Tell us a little about Gamut Gallery and how you ended up with the residency.

A. I have long been interested in shows in alternative spaces. I’ve been playing bar shows for a long time now — and they can be a lot of fun —but I wanted to see what happens if you take music out of the bar setting and put it into an art space, where being inspired by something beautiful is your main goal. At a bar your main goal is to drink. At bars, the music is a commodity. At an art space, the music can be so much more than that. So I emailed Gamut and they were gracious enough to email me back. They’re a really amazing team, and I’m constantly learning from them, and they’re already pushing me to do better, and more.

Many thanks to Gus for taking the time to connect, and I look forward to our progressive interviews. Click here to purchase tickets to Ghost Army’s show on April 23, featuring Mrs. and Black Widows at Gamut Gallery. When you purchase the CD with your ticket, you’ll receive $5 off the cost of the CD. Save the following dates for the other Genrebeast shows:


July 30: Patch

September 2: Qaanaaq

October 29: ACTN

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