Recently it was announced that the local band Silverghost broke up. To my knowledge, no one has really reported on it in any detail (although I’m not really knowledgeable to begin with). Since no one that is talented or informed has taken the initiative to give any coverage beyond the basic announcement, or to try to summarize their endeavors, you’ll just have to settle for the work of the creepiest of internet creepsters.
What struck me the most about them is that when two members left the band early on, and they were replaced by pre-recordings, the band didn’t catch much flack for it. I don’t know how well that sort of thing is received in other parts of the country, but I was expecting them to get a lot of criticism of using pre-recorded audio in their live performances. Performers who play along with pre-recorded material are often called “schticky” or “hackey”. Personally, it doesn’t bother me so long as there’s some live element other than just singing going on.
There were those who criticized them for playing local shows too often, but I never really saw a problem with that. I took it to be a sign of ambition. They wanted to reach as many potential new fans as they could. The real problem was that they didn’t venture out to metro Detroit venues that all their friends didn’t already go to. It might have been unhip in their social circle to play outside of Detroit, Hamtramck, Ferndale, The Berkley Front, and the Crofoot, but if you’re willing to play nearly every weekend, why not take a chance on a place like The Token Lounge, or the many places out in the farther stretches of our suburban sprawl. That might have lured in people who otherwise never would have heard of Silverghost. Perhaps the dudebros don’t know any better because they’ve never been exposed to better music.
Announcements of a local band breaking up always invoke different reactions than a national band breaking up. When a band with nationwide radio play breaks up, it’s usually after interest in them has noticeably waned, and many of their fans will later come to the conclusion that the breakup happened at roughly the right time. With local bands, it typically happens after only a few releases. It can feel premature, and we’re left wondering what else they would have created if they had stuck it out a while longer. We feel invested in a local band in a different way than we are with a band from out of state. We think back on their early performances, and tend to feel that by being a witness to their beginnings, we somehow share in their triumphs. (Keep in mind I’m talking in generalities here. This post isn’t supposed to be all weepy and gay)
We’re often told that when a band breaks up, it’s because of creative differences. The truth is that the reason is usually differences of ambition, or slowly changing levels of commitment. Some band members don’t have the ambition, or won’t take the risk to the routine of their life by touring out of state, or won’t follow through with their previous intentions to do so. Another member(s) of the band will come to the conclusion that their current project won’t amount to being anything more than a group of weekend warriors, and will leave to pursue something else.
We shouldn’t expect to hear the details about why Silverghost broke up. After all, we’re not entitled to know the intricacies of the interpersonal dynamics of Marcie and Deleano. Regardless of whether or not they split with acrimony, they both probably realize that it’s not in either of their interests to publicly air any drama (if it exists). Letting the public see the dirty laundry just gives people like me the opportunity to make light of it.
Until someone that’s actually qualified sits down to write the story of this band from beginning to end (something akin to this, an earnest attempt to tell as much of the story as possible), you’ll just have to settle for this pathetic excuse for a eulogy.