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I Am Ghost

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First, back in the early flush of punk, there was the alluringly spooky Siouxsie and the Banshees, followed quickly by the reunited second go-round of the Damned, when singer Dave Vanian's comic book interpretations of Dracula and other horror-themed subjects were the band's primary focus. Then, in the mid-'80s alongside the multi-genre flowering of goth culture, there was both the hard-edged and punky Los Angeles "death rock" scene established by .45 Grave and Christian Death and the goofy, glammy London Batcave scene exemplified by Alien Sex Fiend. After that, goth-punk largely went dormant for a number of years until the unabashedly gothy My Chemical Romance and the Dresden Dolls burst onto the scene. Suddenly the mixture of goth's camp, lurid romanticism and the equally self-involved concerns of the contemporary emo scene was a logical one, and into the breach stepped I Am Ghost. Formed in Long Beach, CA, in 2004, I Am Ghost take their sartorial cues from the velvet, lace, and lotsa eyeliner end of the goth continuum, and their musical ones from the more progressive end of the post-hardcore and emo scenes. Forming around the nucleus of singer Steven Juliano and violinist and singer Kerith Marcantonio, I Am Ghost quickly added guitarists Gabriel Iraheta and Timoteo Rosales, bassist and keyboardist Brian Thomas, and drummer Ryan Seaman to the lineup, creating a signature blend of punky aggression and ethereal dreaminess. In time, Marcantonio and Thomas would tie the knot, legally becoming the happy couple of Kerith and Brian Telestai. A homemade demo CD called We Are Always Searching was sold at shows and shopped to labels until the stalwart punk indie Epitaph signed I Am Ghost in 2005 and reissued a remastered edition of the album in a new sleeve. Somewhat incongruously, the band also played the Vans Warped Tour that summer. I Am Ghost's second album, Lovers' Requiem, unashamedly described by the band as a rock opera, was released by Epitaph in the fall of 2006. It was followed in 2008 by the more accessible Those We Leave Behind. ~ Stewart Mason

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