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Rod Lemish was up late one night watching the Discovery Channel.
A show came on about the Cocos Island, a Mecca of sorts for treasure hunters that lies in the mid-Pacific off the Costa Rican coast. The show centered on a Spanish galleon that was wrecked near the island one stormy night in 1690.
“I thought (Ghost Galleon) would be a great name for the band,” Lemish explains. At the time his former band Mayhem had dissolved. He and Mayhem ex-mates Brian Carpenter and Wayne Lemish still wanted to perform and record music together. So the Ghost Galleon name became their new moniker.
“Mayhem played basically the same style of music as Ghost Galleon currently does – classic, modern and alternative rock,” Rod Lemish says. “We performed our last show in November 2000 after two of the members left the band for personal reasons.”
The Lemish brothers, who play guitar and bass, and Carpenter, on guitar, recruited drummer Troy Hixson and singer Ken Gipson to round out the new band’s line up. They could have stuck with the Mayhem name, Lemish says, since three of the band’s original members still performed together. But “the name, Mayhem, didn’t really fit the type of music the band played,” Lemish says. “Everyone thought we were a metal thrash band. So when we re-formed, we changed the name. Ghost Galleon seems genre neutral.”
Currently Ghost Galleon are enjoying considerable success in the region. The band is booked at clubs and bars in Fort Wayne and vicinity all the way through January of next year. This summer they will again play at the Magnum Opus event at Martin’s in Garrett. Lemish anticipates the August 24 event will again draw a large crowd. “When the crowds are large, the excitement is high and the adrenaline rush standing on stage and performing at these types of events is unbeatable,” he says.
“We think that Northeast Indiana has a lot to offer – great clubs, huge crowds and loyal fans, Lemish says. “We like to play music that our audience can dance to, recognize the song and maybe even sing along. We play the kind of songs that stick in your head all day long and make you want to dance.” Galleon plays a huge list of covers that ranges from Kiss, AC-DC and Journey tunes to newer hits by Rob Zombie, Puddle of Mud and Incubus.
Although most of the members of Galleon grew up on classic rock, they still appreciate modern songs and artists. “We don’t think classic rock is necessarily better than new songs, but maybe more complex and challenging to play,” Lemish says. “The three-part harmonies and dueling leads of a band like Boston are definitely more personally rewarding than a simple drop-D power chord song with growling vocals.”
Into the mix of classic and new, Galleon throw their original songs.
The band’s song “You’ll Never get It,” available under the “listen” section of their website, www.ghostgalleon.com, shows a well-polished band that features performers who evoke a sound and style that incorporates echoes of classic rock with a modern, edgy appeal.
Lemish says Galleon have several originals written and plan to both write and record more. The band intends to release a CD later this year, Lemish says. As far as record company interest in the band, Lemish says Galleon has not been courted as heavily as other local bands. “We are content with playing the local/regional scene. We all have deep family roots in northeast Indiana. But if we had the chance to record and tour on a national level, I think we would all love the opportunity.”
Galleon members “think it’s great that the recording industry is recognizing our local bands and hope they continue to do so,” he says.
He definitely feels, however, that much more so than when he and fellow Galleon members were the ages of some of the local bands record companies are noticing, it is easier for a band to get more exposure and recognition.
“Fifteen to 20 years ago it seemed that the only way to get noticed was to move to L.A., Seattle or New York. Now it’s easy and relatively inexpensive to record your own CD and place it in front of millions of listeners through companies like mp3.com,” Lemish says.
Ghost Galleon, through their web site, is attempting to make their mark and grab some of that attention-grabbing muscle the internet lends to original music. The well-structured site features most of the familiar links and content found on band sites. It gives viewers a glimpse into the lives of each performer, lets you listen to the band and even tells what kind of drinks the members like. “Some members of the audience regularly buy drinks for the band at the shows,” Lemish explains. “We found it easier to post it on the website so that they know and can remember what to get us.” Lemish prefers “gin, lemon and 7-up.”
The website also features four downloads of guitarist Brian Carpenter’s original songs. The songs, which come from Carpenter’s self-titled album, “are about Brian’s life experiences and have a kind of style similar to ‘Poison’ ballads with ‘Bon Jovi’-style vocals,” Lemish says.
“Brian is a fun-loving kind of person. He takes music very seriously and likes the 80s. We like to joke with him about the girls loving his hair. We call him our ‘chick magnet,’ ” he adds.
Ghost Galleon perform at Checkerz on June 21 and Peanuts Too on June 28-29. On September 7 they will perform at The Bear Night at Martin’s in Garrett. Check the band’s website for more scheduled performances.