Why Ghostwriter Writes and Records in a Flash
One and Done
True to his bluesy style, Steve Schecter, aka Ghostwriter, borrows his touring philosophy from a stranger down in Birmingham, Alabama––a man who asked the one-man band about going on the road as a solo act.
“I said, ‘Oh, I don’t have any friends I like to travel with,’” says Schecter. “But he knew I was lying about that, and he said, ‘You travel with friends when you have to, and you travel by yourself because you want to.’”
The solo-flying troubadour will be hitting Medford to drop some stripped down rootsy blues on Johnny B’s on July 30th. With just a guitar and a kick tambourine, and some occasional harmonica tossed in for flavor, Schecter packs a powerful punch as Ghostwriter. Crafting simple blues riffs into raging, soul-clawing tunes that rattle to the core, Schecter lays the fear of the devil on thick with roaring vocals so rough you’d wager he could crush gravel in his throat.
Before going it alone, Schecter played in bands through the ‘90s when post-punk was at its height, but roots rock was starting to seep into the culture.
“Flat Duo Jets was one of the bands, Bad Livers––stuff that was in that kind of weird post-punk noise scene, but they were these guys doing really rootsy music,” says Schecter. “It kind of opened me up to some of that.”
Though according to Schecter, blues and punk aren’t too far off in spirit, from the raw one-off recordings of ‘70s punk rockers to the screaming vocals of post-punk bands like Mudhoney. “All those things were just direct emoting,” says Schecter. “I guess the difference is, if you look at the blues, there’s more of an attempt to get people to dance.”
Schecter also draws from the ethos of old blues musicians in his approach to both live performance and recording.
“Older musicians just played better. They recorded live more often, and they played live sets that were like eight times as long as people play now,” says Schecter. “I used to think it was some anomaly or some weird thing that music you hear from the ‘50s or ‘40s or ‘30s was so incredible, but the more you read about it and discover, they were just harder working.”
Ghostwriter tracks (recorded by Schecter under his label End of the West) evidence a classic approach to recording, valuing “a good take up front” over complex back-end producing. This goes hand-in-hand with the artist’s one-and-done approach to songwriting.
“If an idea comes you just have to write it down and that’s it,” says Schecter. “The best stuff is like, it comes to you and within the afternoon or the following day, it’s done. If it takes a lot longer than that, it’s just like you lost the opportunity. Lyrics and melody, they come and then you have to access that and just go. The longer it takes me to finish, the worse that one will be. And the ones that hold up just happen quickly.”
Ghostwriter with Half Way and Step It Up N Go
9 p.m., Thu., July 30
Johnny B’s, 120 E 6th St., Medford