Quite a few modern day rock bands like to list hip emo bands as prime influences, but judging from their impressive instrumental chops, these guys are no strangers to the proggier side of things. Social Ghost is one of the few bands to proudly proclaim their admiration of such challenging-yet-melodic bands as Rush and The Police. And the Orlando, Florida-based group has something in common with these aforementioned zillion-selling acts – they manage to create a massive sound with only three band members (and like the others, their bassist doubles as lead vocalist).
Comprised of singer/bassist Van Lugo, guitarist Neight, and drummer Jeffrey Alan Wright, Social Ghost is turning heads with their recently released album, a release that manages to balance the tuneful with the tricky. Social Ghost has already played sold out shows at some of Florida's most celebrated venues, including the House of Blues and the Social, as well as festivals like JRR-B-Q, Warped Tour 2006 and Earthday Birthday 13 at Orlando's Citrus Bowl. Additionally, Social Ghost has supported such renowned acts as Shinedown, Staind, Rob Zombie, Mudvayne, Plain White T's, Nonpoint, and Alice in Chains, the latter of which the group has served as direct support for their recent acoustic tour. Jim Mallonee, VP of Booking for Live Nation, witnessed a Social Ghost performance during their stint supporting Shinedown, and raved, "I was frankly flabbergasted when I witnessed their show, and kind of pissed off that I was in the dark about these guys until that point."
Although considered a new band to many, Lugo and Neight have been almost life-long friends – having first crossed paths in the 5th grade. “We immediately formed a bond through mischief,” explains Neight. “We started to watch MTV - emulating and singing Rage Against the Machine, Green Day, and
Pearl Jam in class. Growing up in that time period was a really big part in us picking up instruments – Van picked up a bass around age thirteen, and a year later, I followed. We jammed almost everyday, and at age 15, I moved to West Virginia with my parents. We stayed in contact and Van continued with a band of his own. When I was 20, Van called me one day and asked me if I wanted to move back and join his band. Without hesitation, I sold all my stuff and moved back down. We went on for a few months with that band, but Van and I started moving in a different direction musically. We disbanded that project to begin work on what is now Social Ghost.”
The move has certainly paid off for all parties involved, as several songs from the EP have become local rock radio favorites. ORock 105.9 put the anthemic “Tomorrow” in Mel’s Nightly Battle for listener votes. The song won 10 consecutive nights beating the likes of The Killers, Sick Puppies, Angels & Airwaves (twice), Stone Sour, Seether, Blue October, Pucifer, and Biffy Clyro. This success has placed “Tomorrow” in regular rotation. WJRR has also featured “Tomorrow” on their Native Noise series.
And the group has already built up some impressive ‘road miles.’ “Touring was an amazing and inspiring experience,” says Neight. “It's everyone's dream just to meet their idols - Alice in Chains. But to perform on the same stage every night, drink beers with the guys, playing to sold-out auditoriums, have the guys play pranks on us - there are no words that I can express how great that feels. Something I think we learned from Warped Tour was how important the band-fan connection is.” And what can fans expect from a Social Ghost performance? “Tight, precise performances. Better than the record. And, you can meet us at the merch booth!” With a goal of “World Domination – to
put rock n’ roll back on top,” the lads certainly have the right attitude, but also have the tunes and chops to back it all up.