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A Conversation with Johnny Baab of Ghost Hounds



The Ghost Hounds know how to rock with the best of them. Proof is in the pudding as they’re touring with the Rolling Stones. They’ve also opened for Bob Seger and ZZ Top.


Ghost Hounds is a rockin’ blues band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and they know how to let it all out. They are a band that shines on stage and on their new album 'A Little Calamity'.


Prediction: This is a band that’s on a meteoric rise.


Ken Wallis interviewed guitarist Johnny Baab for the radio show Blues Source International. The following are excerpts from that interview.




Ken Wallis

We've got a brand-new album in our hands right now and it is The Ghost Hounds. It’s a terrific cd and joining us to talk all about it is guitarist Johnny Baab…Johnny thanks for coming on the show.


Johnny Baab

Hey thanks so much for having me here I really appreciate it.


Ken Wallis

The album is called A Little Calamity. What's the significance of that?


Johnny Baab

It's sort of an encapsulation of the band which is not necessarily a bad thing…maybe a little chaotic but always an adventure.


Ken Wallis

And how would you describe your music for folks that haven't heard you yet?


Johnny Baab

I would say it's like a modern classic rock-blues… a little bit of country in there… lots of blues…


Ken Wallis

That's what I just love. Where did the band name come from?


Johnny Baab

Ghost Hounds is kind of a tip back to the legend of Robert Johnson. As the legend goes, he sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads and in exchange for his ability to play guitar and sing…he always sang about having hellhounds on his trail so the name ghost hounds came up and it's a nod to the roots of the music we play.


Ken Wallis

And this is your second album correct?


Johnny Baab

Yes that's correct


Ken Wallis

Do you feel it's different from the first album? is it an outgrowth or is it just something completely different?


Johnny Baab

I think that there's no replacement for miles and hours…so between the first record and the second record we played a bunch of shows and we just had a lot more time playing together and I think there's a natural evolution musically…just the more miles you put on so I really feel like the second record really represents our sound. I think we've kind of come into our own with that and that's just again a testament to just getting to have that musical conversation over and over again with the guys and everyone in the band. I have immense respect for them as musicians…they're all great players and just getting to play with them over and over again I think really helped us come into our own.


Ken Wallis

There's six of you in the band…who's in the band and what instruments do they play?


Johnny Baab

We have Joe Munroe on keys and Hammond B3…Blaise Lanzetta out on drums… Bennett Miller on bass…we also have a few backup singers with us, we have Kamilah Marshall, Kenna Ramsey, Amy Keys… they're wonderful additions to the band…they've been great energy…we have Thomas Tull on guitars and he's our principal songwriter…just an immense talent…and also me on guitar…and then we have Tré Nation on vocals…I have so much respect for the guy. When he opens his mouth man everyone stops what they're doing…he has just got such a great voice.


Ken Wallis

You mentioned the songwriting…how do you guys go about selecting your songs and who's the main force behind the writing and the composing of the music?


Johnny Baab

Thomas is the driving force of the songs…he writes them and he works with a guy named Kevin Bowe …they write together… but Thomas and me play guitars together all the time…we'll just get together and jam and he’ll show me an idea he has and I get to see it evolve…as he's developing it… so he's really the driving force for us and man he's such a visionary in terms of when he writes a song, and you listen to the lyrics you can really picture the story that's happening…it's almost like a movie…so definitely he'll bring it to us, and then the flavour comes in when you have Joe on keys and Blaise on drums. It's a lot of fun and it was a lot of fun to make our recent release because we just tracked everything live…we just got in the room, and Thomas brought us these songs and we just played them and they came to life, and it was a really fun process.


Ken Wallis

How'd you guys originally get together?


Johnny Baab

Ghost Hounds was a band that Thomas founded years and years ago out in L.A…and he got busy with other things, he was doing so the band kind of dissolved and he wanted to start it back up. The old lead singer introduced me to Thomas and we just hit it off, and we were like, should we try to make some music that we want to hear? I've known Blaise and Bennett for the better part of the last decade from being players in New York City, so I called them up. I thought we would have a good time…they're my good friends and Joe came in and then Tré. Funny story about Tré… I actually found him on an Instagram story…I saw about a 13 second clip and I was like that's the guy. I ended up finding out who he was and it turns out he actually lived around the corner from me in Brooklyn…I said hey man why don't you come over and let's jam and if you're interested… this is what I'm trying to put together with Thomas, and I introduced them and from there…just no looking back…kind of real organic because everyone kind of knew each other, so it was like a real organic come together.


Ken Wallis

I love all of the music but one of my favourite songs has to be The Good Old Days. I really like that one. Do you have a favourite?


Johnny Baab

I'm definitely biased both as a guitar player and as a music nerd but one of my favorites is A Little Calamity…the title track of the album. I also love Good Old Days…it makes me feel very appreciative of what's going on and helps me stay present and appreciate things that are happening. Also, Half My Fault is one of my favourites…I really think that song came together in a really beautiful way and I'm really proud of it.


Ken Wallis

You mentioned Robert Johnson and his deal with the devil…I watched your video Between Me And The Devil…what a cool video that is.


Johnny Baab

Right but I wouldn't want to hold the snake though…that's the only part I was a little nervous about.


Ken Wallis

You guys really are shooting towards the top obviously and now you're involved with The Rolling Stones. Tell us all about that.


Johnny Baab

First and foremost what a tremendous honour…we did a show with them back in 2019 and we have five on the books right now with them. After everything that's happened the past year and a half with Covid and the pandemic…we're excited to come back and play shows. We experienced a huge loss with the passing of Charlie Watts…he's a legend and the backbeat of the best rock and roll band of all time, and I'm excited to be a part of this tour because they are paying tribute to him and that's also a tremendous honour, and obviously when you lose a legend like that it's tough to move forward from… but I saw that they played the first show and they really paid tribute to him…so it's going to be an honour to be a part of that experience.


Ken Wallis

How did you guys originally get the gig with the Stones?


Johnny Baab

When we recorded the first record …as we finished it we went out and did a small appearance with Brett Michaels out in Green Bay Wisconsin and we video recorded it…we were scrambling to get that footage done so we could submit it and get it to the Stones and it just barely slipped in there…then we got the call one day…what a tremendous honour… we were freaking out.


Ken Wallis

I think it's a sign you guys are going places…there's no doubt about that… your music is great. Again, the album is called A Little Calamity…where can our listeners get a hold of the album?


Johnny Baab

You can hear it on all your streaming platforms…Spotify…Apple Music…Amazon Music… also if you go to our website we're going to be doing a pre-order for vinyl coming up and I believe there's some physical copies also. If you come see us at a show we'll definitely have some at the merch table as well so you know you can get all your Ghost Hounds goodies there.


Ken Wallis

I sure hope I get to see you guys live one of these days…any plans on coming to Canada?


Johnny Baab

I don't know if we have plans yet with the border stuff with the pandemic so we're still trying to figure that out but I’ll tell you what, when we do I expect to see you in the front row my man.


Ken Wallis

You can count on that I'm gonna be in the front row and I'm gonna enjoy it because you guys are fantastic…I really enjoy your music and I really enjoyed talking to you Johnny…thanks so much for coming on the show.


Johnny Baab

Thank you so much for having me and just so you know I'm on if you're looking at the stage, I'm always on the right side of the stage so make sure you get on that side of the pit.


Ken Wallis

All right count on it!





Website: www.ghosthounds.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/GhostHounds

Twitter: twitter.com/ghosthounds

Instagram: www.instagram.com/ghosthoundsband