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Interview - Thane Farace (Ghost Of War)

Interview with Thane Farace from Ghost Of War
by Deaddie McConnaughy at 06 November 2014, 12:40 AM

GHOST OF WAR is a Heavy Metal band that is local to my neck of the woods, hailing from the highly historic town of Gettysburg Pennsylvania. These guys are just down right bad ass, and it is my pleasure to introduce you all to Thane Farace, founding member and guitarist. Being as this is our first real discussion with him, I spared no questions. Everything from the early days up to the new release. Enjoy dear readers, and if you haven't heard their music yet, get your asses out there and check it out. YOU WON"T BE SORRY!!

We are sitting here with Thane, the founding member and lead guitarist of Ghost of War, Thane, how are you doing today man? I’m great man how are you doing? I’m doing alright, nice day out, cool, not overly hot, you know I love that.  I guess we will start from the beginning since this is the first interview we have done, why don’t you tell me a little bit about how Ghost of War got started.

Well, me and Ronnie Peterson, being in multiple Baltimore bands and surrounding area bands for years just decided after playing some shows together that we wanted to form a band together.  We didn’t really have time our existing bands we were playing in so we decided to do a Ronnie James Dio tribute band, this is back before Dio died.  We got together, we got a few other musicians with us and put together a band called Holy Hell, you know Holy Diver, Heaven and Hell, and it took off.  It took off, it really did and it was, when Ronnie James Dio actually died, people came up to us and said “Dude you guys gotta capitalize on it”.  No we don’t have to capitalize on this he is our hero so we stopped Holy Hell at that moment, we refused to make money off of Dio’s death, that is not something that I would ever want to do.

Right, I can see that.

So we wanted to continue playing together, we decided to get a little marketable with a name and an image and we wanted to write music anyway and being from up here in the Gettysburg area we decided on the name Ghost of War, the battlefields and all the different stuff we could add into the image and the hard work and everything that relates to the band.  That’s basically how Ghost of War got started, we were a Ronnie James Dio Tribute band and we became Ghost of War when Ronnie James Dio died, that’s how we pulled it together.  As far as the other members we have had several member changes but we resorted to guys we had played with in the past that we thoroughly enjoyed doing stuff with and the current lineup is very powerful, we are actually in the writing process of our Sophomore album next year, it is tentatively to be called Parade of Human Suffering.

Nice, I like that, it’s a cool name.

Thanks

Definitely, so how long did it take you guys once you founded Ghost of War to get that first CD really going in the process of recording and all that stuff?

Well we formed the band in late 2009 and by the spring of 2012 we were in the process of recording and we released it on September 22, of 2012.  Now that was kind of strategic it was 11 days after the 11th anniversary of 9/11.

There you go.

So we tried to use the numbers in that, and of course the album has 11 tracks on it so we kind of like that number and put it all together.

You know it is really cool when bands do stuff like that, give it that meaning cause then people figure it out and go wow that is so cool.  So when did you officially release Only Death is Real?

Ok that would have been on September 22nd 2012

Ok and when it first came out how did it do, how many copies did you sell right away, or did it take a while to build up sales or was it like an instant thing?

Our first show, our CD release party, I think we sold a hundred and some discs that first show and since then we have sold over 4,000 copies of the CD and that’s roughly two and a half years, that’s doing pretty good and we are independent still, we have had some indie labels interested in us and we really haven’t found the right deal for us yet cause we are on over 200 different sellable formats online, we get a statement every month about our online sales, we are doing very good with our digital sales, we are doing good with our physical sales and we keep 100% of the profits now, we don’t have to pay a label, now we are looking for maybe a distribution deal with a bigger label to get us more into the world market, but anymore, I know a lot of guys, national guys that are signed that are not getting what they should be getting from their record sales.

Yeah I know bands get ripped off all the time.

They get ripped off all the time, they will take your merch, they will take everything and you just become a touring guy that, you know it makes it tough on you.

Now how about a manager, do you guys have an official manager or do you handle it yourselves?

We have been handling it ourselves, I do 99% of the booking with the band, my wife Jen helps us out immensely, Ronnie does a lot of the stuff with us too, between the three of us it is pretty much handled between the three of us. Now that’s another thing, if the right guy comes along and wants to jump on the bandwagon and push us we are definitely always looking for more help for the band, you know but having a guy on the payroll right now is, again that’s another head to cut the, keep the touring expenses up.

Yeah because stuff is expensive, you know you have to get yourself an RV or a bus or something like that and that stuff is very expensive.

Fuel in those alone, like we are getting ready to go to Ohio and just to get up there to Tim Ripper Owens  club  Rippers Rock house, we are playing there next month, just to get up there is $360 bucks just in gas and tolls, you know what I mean, you gotta get everybody to the club. We are trying to cut corners where ever we can.

Now you guys are sponsored by Jägermeister, now tell us a little about that, how did you come about the sponsorship, like how long into the project did the sponsorship come up?

I have actually been working with Jägermeister with the last three bands I have been in since 2006 and I kept in contact with them when I left the previous bands I have been in and basically told them what I have been doing and they like the way I promote and they have always been interested, hey your next project let us know what’s going on, it is a very lucrative sponsorship with them, they are a very tough company to get in with and if you are new trying to get into the ballgame with them, they put a lot of, they want you playing more, they want you doing a whole lot of things and they really are not taking a lot of bands now, they have released a lot of people for, you know not holding up their ends of the bargain and stuff, but it is a great company to work for, my wife Jen does promotional model stuff for the also, they got a brand new, I gotta plug this for them also, they got a brand new app for your iPhone or your android device that’s called Jager Bonds. It’s a neat little thing, you and your friends would download the app, you would create a bond amongst you and your night out on the town, the pictures that you take during that time and upload to your Facebook or Instagram, two or three of you in the bond it becomes a neat little video at the end of the night and there is soundtracks you can choose and Ghost of War is one of the soundtracks that you can choose on the Jager bond now, so that is really cool.

That is really cool, I know back when I actually drank, Jager bombs were my thing, I mean we would get that big ass bottle of Jager and like a whole case of Red Bull and pound it and when that one was gone the one who was the most sober would go out for the next bottle, we could put it down, I love the Jager bombs, I kind of over did it though. So as far as touring goes, I know you guys tour around a good bit these days, how does that affect your personal lives, you said you have a full time job and stuff like that so how does balancing the different bands because I know you are also in Rabid Assassin, how does balancing your different bands, your job and your personal life all affect each other.

lt’s tough and a lot of it has to do with, you know, working for a company that has a lot of vacation time or however you want to deal with it.  You know juggling multiple bands isn’t that hard when, for me doing all of the booking, if I see that, a lot of times I will take Rabid Assassin out and open up for Ghost of War, if the guys want to play out I will just double bill myself,  and just work harder.  And also when those guys, we got a schedule that is an online database that we keep if somebody wants off a day they let me know because when I am on the phone with a promoter I can’t say oh let me get back to you in three days after I check with them and see if all of the guys can do it, instead it’s hold on yeah we are available that day to play and if the guys in Rabid Assassin want to play that day I have it all in that database and I can continue booking things.  It makes it easy on me doing it that way.  My suggestion to people would be to either not buy a house and not have a lot of bills if you want to tour continuously or get yourself a job, hold it, get your toys, go out and do your thing and try to budget it all together so that you could, my job is really lenient where I can work Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday and then take off Friday and then work Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday and take a vacation day here, I get 160 hours a year so it makes it easy to piece together 4 or 5 day runs and stuff like that.

Now where all have you guys toured at yet, have you reached the west coast yet, I know you, you have been to Florida this past summer.

Yeah we went to Florida on Monster Energy’s Welcome to Rockville, we’ve been up as far as Utica now Midwest we went to Ohio and that area, I go out to for Namm Metal Jam with Neil Turbin and do stuff with him, but actually the entire band is going to be going in January out there so that will be Ghost of War’s first trip out to Anaheim and LA area so we will be out there in January.  We are looking to do more stuff like that again, it is financing it, you know and strategically not zigzagging and losing your butt playing here and four hours later there, trying to put together a tour that is feasible, you aren’t going to go out on the road and lose your rear.

I know we mentioned briefly before the new drummer that you brought on.

Yes Doug Readmond

So as far as that goes with the sound and writing the new album, I mean what do you think is going to be the difference in the direction as far as the sound goes, do you think it is going to have to change up a bit with the new drummer, cause I know that no two people really play alike.

Exactly.

But where do you see it going for the next album with the new drummer

Well I see it becoming a little more, the new drummer we got is a very metal drummer, he is a very speedy double bass guy.  We definitely wanted to step up our Sophomore album from our Freshman album cause we gotta put out something better than the last thing, you know and I have heard from a lot of people it is going to be hard to top that album because it is so diversified it’s got so much stuff on it so we are currently writing thrash stuff that is more thrashy, ballad stuff that is more ballady, acoustic stuff that’s you know just trying to get the whole fold, The new stuff is just blistering its, Doug’s feet are just very fast so he is a very hard hitter creates a lot of sawdust (laughing) the guy is a monster

I do too when I play, sawdust everywhere.

He is a monster player he goes through some sticks and heads but I mean he is a very pounding drummer and we are really looking forward to going to the studio next year with him.

So as far as all of that you are still in the songwriting process.

Yeah, just on the digital handhelds we write on yes

What can you tell us about the writing process you guys use? I mean it is different for everybody.

Generally what happens is I come up with the riffs and then I will get together with the drummer and throw the riffs at him and I might be chuggin a part and he might start flapping the double bass a bit and it might make me want to speed pick a little and basically we do, Lamb of God termed it, it’s called farming the riff, we take the riff and we, I’ll put it together and  he will influence me, he’s like dude, dude do that again I gotta change my part now, we’ll take that one part and by the end it will be three different parts now and then you put your bridges then you sit down and that song needs a great breakdown so we put this really moshy breakdown part in there we’ll basically get it the way we want it then we take and record it and create an mp3 mail it to Ronnie and Gary, the bass player and the singer and then basically those guys take off and put their stuff down.  We’ll show up for instance four of the songs off the first album I had never heard the lyrics for, we were playing with Paul Deanno down at Bourbon street and Ronnie came in and I was standing on stage for the first time hearing the lyrics for when we were opening for Paul Deanno and the hair is standing up on my arm, you know it was like wow dude that was really cool.  So that’s how we generally do it and it works really well that way so we will get a finished product drums and guitar, send it out to out bass and singer they will put their stuff together we might be like, let’s make a double chorus here , let’s do this but it is very minute stuff that we change.

How often do you guys get together to practice?

With playing a lot, a lot of times it is on the off weekends, that’s the only chance we get to do it.  Most of the time it’s get some stuff together, send it out to them and at sound check try something new.  We do take off December, January and February every year for writing purposes and basically that is when the album gets written. You know and throughout the year we will come up little stuff and we’ll piece it together over a couple shows, but for the most part it’s pounding that stuff out over those three months, You know when the winter months are here it’s a good time to do it.

Yeah.  So how about touring overseas, has there been any thoughts about touring overseas?

We have and we are currently talking to , I think the first chance of us getting overseas is maybe playing for our troops, so we have really been in talks with, we are big supporters of the Wounded Warrior Program and our military and we got some talks going now about going over to some hostile areas and playing for our troops now it is not all etched in stone yet so I can’t elaborate any longer, more on that but that is probably going to be our first chance to get overseas, is going to be doing some stuff for the troops then I would love to bust into Europe and the Netherlands and some great areas over there where metal is really big.  I did have a chance to go over to the Head bangers Open Air, Neil Turban wanted me to go over there and play with him this year and financially I just couldn’t afford to do it but I may do that with him next year.

That would be a cool experience!

Yeah, very, very good

I mean god those festivals over there they have are huge.

Metal is very big over there

Definitely, So you were in the guitar contest and you won right?

Yes sir

Now what was the name of that, I can’t remember

It was the Guitar God down at the Blue Fox in Winchester, Virginia,  There were players from Virginia, DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia in this competition, very good players, it was massive, I went down there and played my Epiphone guitars and I did a very good job and wound up taking home almost $2000 in cash and prizes.

Yeah plus you got the guitar god title.

And now I have to go defend it next year

So how does that feel, winning that out of all these other people that have been playing.

It was awesome, when they announced it the guy that finished second place, when I saw him play, I’m like phew he’s good you know and I love watching great guitarists, I am a connoisseur of great guitarists, I love watching them and there are millions of them in the world and when I am watching this guy I’m, all these guys are great, but this guy is going to give me a run for my money, you know what I mean.  And when they announced him as, they did third place , then second place,  and when they announced him as second I kind of knocked myself down, I’m like ahh I couldn’t have won it, there’s no way, no way no way and when they said my name it was kind of like that warm hot flash kind of feeling and I walked up and I was like I almost had happy tears, I was like thank you guys so much this is great but I, it was really something I poured my heart out on it, we had to do a two minute solo to start it with,  then we had to play to a prerecorded backing track and improvise to it then they ran you through 4 styles, country, blues, rock and heavy metal and they wanted you out of your element they wanted to see what you could do with it and it was to a live setting  and to me watching the whole thing that second phase with the improvising to the different styles was what got to a few of the guys you know what I mean

Cause it can be difficult if you are not used to playing those different genres.

You know metal and metal is primarily a minor playing style and when you go to country music you are looking at all major scales, it is more of a happy feeling You can’t sit there and shred pertrucci over and over yeah so it makes it tough. Yeah but it was a lot of fun and I thank my wife for entering me in it and nominating me because it was very financially fruitful for us.

That’s good.  So you personally who are your main influences?

My first guitar influence ever was Brian May from Queen.  I got heavily into him when I was growing up and with the guitar in the 70’s, then Eddie Van Halen came out, love the guy, Randy Rhodes came out, Tony Iommi of course he was always there with black Sabbath but Randy came out and I rediscovered Tony Iommi after Randy died. Then I really remember I used to look at guitar player magazine a lot and this guy Mike Varney had a column called Spotlight and I remember this guitar player coming out in a band called Steeler with Ron Kiel his name was Yngwie Malmsteen.

We all know that name.

He changed the world for me then after Yngwie I got into dream theater real hard and to this day probably the guys that I like the best is probably like John Petrucci, Paul Gilbert, of course I do like Yngwie’s playing and I always will, Ritchie Blackmore is a great player you know there is just a ton of great guys out there. Jason Becker, God I wish he would have never developed Lou Gehrig’s disease, but he was a monster, just more of the fluid schooled players, the metronome guys, I like that kind of playing.

So I guess back to the new album for a little bit, how did you come up with the concepts you are working on now for the new album?

The first four songs that we wrote for the album you know we are really trying to, the first album, Only Death is Real is primarily lyric wise written about Ronnie’s mom on her death bed. And this time around cause that was the dominant thing that was happening during  that time and was a wakeup call for us, you know cancer and all those different things, The Absolute Nothing is about cancer, only death is real, the beautiful lies is about when Ronnie’s mom was on  her death bed and she told Ronnie about this beautiful lie that has been kept from him his entire life that she couldn’t go to her grave knowing which was the fact that the father that he grew up with was not his real dad, so a lot of really heartfelt stuff was on that album.  This next album there is one song about the, is about the death of Ronnie’s wife’s brother that happened,  it’s called Shadows of a Memory, but some of the more newer stuff is really digging into what’s going on in the world now, you know the ugly truth, first was Beautiful lies and now it’s the ugly truth and Parade of Human Suffering is kind of about the Hope and Change that really isn’t that hopeful, there is a lot of crazy stuff with the world right now  and we are piecing all of that together  and how it is affecting our lives, it is the dominant thing that is happening right now.

Yeah because it is affecting everybody.

Every single one of us, people’s heads getting chopped off, and you know nobody cares about nothing until people, you know then all of a sudden everybody’s tune changes about it, who knows by the end of the album there may be some new world events that happen that affect us that may be injected into that record too you know.

Well, I kind of winged this whole interview and I have kind of tapped my brain out at this point so that will be it for today, I want to thank you for talking to us.

Thank you.

Do you have anything to say to the people who are going to be reading this on Metal Temple?

Yeah, Just if you guys are young bands coming up never give up, keep doing it, go for your dreams and don’t care what anybody thinks, just keep doing it.  You know, that’s what I have done and have done it for many years and never have made a living at it I don’t know if I ever will but I really don’t care about that, you know the thing is I want to get my music and my thoughts out there and just go and enjoy life as much as you can while we still have a chance to.

Exactly, I agree with you on that!

Thanks a lot man!

Thank you for your time sir.



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Edited 06 June 2020
 

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