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Myspace fan base, sold out shows

ANNA BLOOM, Of the Record staff

Epitaph Records signed I Am Ghost on its fifth show as a band.

Drummer Ryan Seaman had just joined, but the Long Beach band had been playing to packed theatres and nightclubs since nearly its very first gig.

"[I Am Ghost] played their first show in front of 1,200 people with a band called Tsunami Bomb and then the buzz began picking up, and then two shows later, they were selling out shows themselves," Seaman says.

"Record labels didn’t know where this band came from but they were selling out shows, and they were interested."

When Epitaph Records executives signed the band, they became one of the first bands to win a contract because of Myspace, Seaman explained.

Seaman, graduate of Park City High School’s class of 2002, had not joined just any band, but something of a Myspace phenomenon: his fellow band mates had met on the Internet social network and after posting their songs on their page had already attracted more than 30,000 fans according to Seaman. In fact, he says, the band was selling out shows before he joined.

"Myspace has definitely become a source to find new music," Seaman says. "And now that’s how record labels are finding bands, too With the power of the Internet, it’s easier to get signed than it’s ever been people 3,000 miles away can hear your music."

The band was the brainchild of lead singer Steve Juliano who began attracting musicians to the I Am Ghost page with banners reading "need guitarist," and "need bassist" a little over two years ago from his personal computer. The band assembled, the members formulated a dark, punk-meets-metal industrial sound that has hints of classical music (there is a violinist in the group.) In addition to video clips, songs from their first and only album thus far, "Lovers’ Requiem" can be sampled on their Myspace page and on their Web site, http://www.iamghost music.com.

In 2006 the band flew to the United Kingdom at the behest of British punk rock magazine Kerrang!, who sponsored a punk band tour to various universities throughout Scotland, Ireland and England.

"I couldn’t even tell you what was going through my head," Seaman says. "I just knew I never wanted to go overseas unless my music took me there and then once we were there people were recognizing us in the streets we were like rock stars over there."

Now I Am Ghost is touring the United States and this time with an Internet-ready bus. They will be stopping in Salt Lake City Friday night to play a gig at In The Venue. Their Myspace page shows the band now has more than 100,000 fans. Seaman reports they average sometimes as many as 200 to 300 virtual "add as friend" requests a day.

The music video for the second track on their album, "Our Friend Lazarus Sleeps," was just recently released on MTV2.

Though Seaman has been a part of a handful of bands since his graduation five years ago, he says he is particularly looking forward to playing with I Am Ghost. He can remember when he headed down the valley to hear his favorite bands not so long ago.

"I’d go to shows all the time when I was in Park City," he recalls. "To think that I’d be doing this one day is kind of beyond me."

But not too far beyond.

Seaman, a self-described "band geek" in high school, has fought hard to make it in the music business, managing to find himself a summer full of gigs on Warped Tour, one of America’s leading concert tours aimed at the youth market.

On a month-long break during the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympics his senior year, Seaman toured with a high school band and got noticed by an all-woman band called the Eyeliners, he says. The summer after graduation, the Eyeliners invited him to Warped as their drummer.

He moved to California afterwards, and joined a group called Fear of You, before joining I Am Ghost.

"I think in a sense people [from Park City] would be surprised that I’ve gotten this far with music, but basically, everything I’ve done after school, all the hard work I put in, has led up to now," he reflects. "I just felt like I was the perfect fit for this band."

In The Venue is located in Salt Lake at 219 S 600 W. Doors for the concert open at 6:30 p.m. this Friday, March 9. Visit SmithsTix.com for more information on tickets, or call the venue at (801) 359-3219.


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