Before Ghost Town Silence, the five piece group The Rebel Set formed in 2005 when lead singer/guitarist Tom Gilliam and vocalist/upright bass Gavin Spencer enlisted members Jason Johantges (rhythm guitar), Adam Kempf (drums/trumpet) and Ken Hall (keyboards/trombone) to join. With the releases of their 2008 debut Ghost Town Silence and the 2009 follow up Across The Relentless Sea, The Rebel Set saw their live performances at the local establishments filled to near capacity. Their fanbase followed them to every place they played at. In 2010, Gilliam mentions while we met up recently that they were at their highest point of being together. It was hard to not mention The Rebel Set as being one of the most popular bands in town.
With all of the work they were putting in around that time, life began to start take over. What was pretty standard of playing on most weekends now transitioned-with the band performing a few shows during the year. Most of the members starting having their families grow larger when children started coming. Johantges made the move to Marysville and has been the most recent to have a baby. Overall-the band started to shift their focus onto their other responsibilities.
Even with all of the changes happening with each member of the band’s lives, they continued to get together and write music. In August of 2013, The Rebel Set went into the studio to lay down some songs at In the Red Recording, hopeful to release a full-length. The first five songs were mix, mastered and put on CD while the last half was still being worked on. In November while the band was taking a break from recording, Hall made the decision to leave the group to concentrate more on his newborn and his other bands-Human Cannonball and Shrug. With his parts already done with the first five songs, the second half of the full-length was up in the air.
“(Hall) committed to doing the rest of the album,” Gilliam mentions. “It was just the other five or six songs were in various levels of completion. We just let him go.”
The Rebel Set decided to release the finished five songs now planned on being released as an EP titled Shadows. Right as they were getting prepped to set up photography with EP cover, the band faced even more roadblocks. In 2010, a Tempe, Arizona band that also went under the name The Rebel Set bought the naming rights to trademark themselves. The signing of Burger Records, supposed radio airplay with their music overseas, and an upcoming tour propelled the group to send a message to Gilliam requesting him to change his band’s name. It was also mentioned that legal action would be taken if the adjustment wasn’t made. The Dayton group could have gone to court and fought to keep the name. Gilliam and the band instead opted to adjust the title.
“It just seem that the time was right for one anyways,” Gilliam said. “There were all these signs that were saying ‘do it’”.
No longer being allowed to be called The Rebel Set, the band went to work on configuring a new name. While Gilliam went to work scrolling through the internet, other members began logging down names. Along with it being the title of their first album and Gilliam simply liking it, Ghost Town Silence had some history. It was also a lyric in the song “130” and had a huge part to do with the cover. The choice of Ghost Town Silence was chosen by the band during a practice down in Spencer’s basement. Before he could declare the name to be a contender, Spencer uttered the name out loud. Ghost Town Silence was greenlighted from that moment on.
The other business that needed to be taken care of was the departure of Kempf in June of last year. With accepting a new job occupation, the need to fill in the holes became menacing. Lucky for Ghost Town Silence, the empty roles that Hall and Kempf held in the band were quickly filled with Nathan Warden on keyboards and drummer Brian Winter. Warden has been already playing at times with the band, but Winter was brand new.
No longer does the looming cloud of uncertainty covers the band. Gilliam indicated that there was times when the band’s status as active was seriously in doubt. All was not lost in that time, though. With the somewhat hiatus that Ghost Town Silence was ensuing, Gilliam took his passion for photographer to another level. He started snapping pictures of a variety of subjects; raging from landmarks to various events. Today-Gilliam currently is the founder of the well-known account DaytonGram. Sharing the Dayton, Ohio area’s past, present and future through photography & community (aka Instameets).
With Winter and Warden being integrated as full-time members of Ghost Town Silence, the duo have brought new life into the band. Gilliam mentions that has soon as the EP Shadows is released, Ghost Town Silence will be moving on. The band has been currently working on new material. With a name change, new members, and an upcoming slot in the upcoming Sideshow festival-it will start a new era.
Shadows is now available at http://ghosttownsilence.bandcamp.com/.