The Midnight Ghost Train
On August 1st 2007, John Goff was pronounced dead. He died in his small house in Abilene, Kansas from a severe asthma attack. This was the influential event that caused John’s best friend, Steve Moss, to start The Midnight Ghost Train as a eulogy to John. “Something had to be done,” Steve says. “John’s memory and life has to be remembered in some way.” Moss then moved to Buffalo, New York planning to form a band, cut an album, and start touring. This was the idea and drive that fueled The Midnight Ghost Train’s engine.
As soon as Moss arrived in Buffalo he began to recruit members for the band. The original lineup consisted of Steve Moss on vocals and guitar, and friends Toby Cole on bass, and Jake Levin on drums. They weren’t yet sure on what direction they wanted to take their sound, and what genre to ordain to, but they knew their lives needed to be dedicated to music. Moss is a big early blues aficionado, so it was inevitable that the music would have strong roots in the blues. It was the hard rock side of their music that was most surprising since the band was not influenced by too much heavy music. “When I’m on stage I love to bang my head and feel the power of the roaring amps and drums behind me. It wouldn’t feel right any other way.” Steve says.
When it came time to record their first EP, The Johnny Boy Ep, the band replaced their bass player, Cole, with Keith Harry-Carrey. This record was very diverse in sound. Ranging from heavy rock, straight blues, and even acoustic and piano driven songs. Once the record was finished, Moss started to book their first DIY U.S. tour. They had no idea how to do it, how they were going to afford it, or how to be successful at it, but they knew they needed to be on the road, live for the stage, and give up everything for it. Before the tour started, Keith was replaced by Moss’ old friend Brandon Burghart, because of Keith’s complications with being on the road. So Burghart, Levin, and Moss took off on the road in the summer of 2008, and started the first TMGT tour.
After two full U.S. tours drummer Levin was asked to leave the band, and bass player Burghart taught himself to play drums in order to fill the void. The bass was then filled in by friend Odie Lallo, this was the lineup for TMGT’s 2009 summer tour. On this tour they were playing brand new songs, and started writing what would become their first full length record. After this tour the band decided to relocate to Kansas, which is the home state of Burghart, and where Moss lived for seven years prior to the band forming. They felt it be best (and cheapest) if they recorded their new record on their own. So they got a house out in the country (outside of Topeka, KS), built a studio in the basement, and began recording and producing their 2009 self-titled release. Odie had medical complications with his hand, so he could no longer play with the band. As a result, Moss recorded the bass parts for the record. The album “blends gospel hymns of the sermon, down tuned rock and roll riffs of southern rock, and dark delta blues” -Metal Underground. The band wished for it to portray the honesty and passion of their live shows, which so many have come to admire.
After this release, it came time to get back on the road, so they had to find a new bass player. This is when they came across Topeka native David Kimmell. After so many band member changes and hard strips, the lineup was complete again. Burghart, Kimmell, and Moss, went back out on the road for a long period of touring. In 2010, they went on their first European tour, in which they were met with great success. They returned to Europe every year after that.
The Midnight Ghost Train released their second full length album, Buffalo in 2012. It was rated “Greatest Stoner Rock Record of 2012” by Heavy Planet magazine. It was by far the best work from TMGT to date. The album was recorded and mixed completely analog at Chase Park Transduction by David Barbe. This explains the powerful and organic sound displayed on the album. TMGT recorded all the songs live in the studio, as to replicate the intensity of their live shows that they are known for. Buffalo is faster and more driving than their previous releases. The album was released by Louisville label, Karate Body Records. Soon after the release, bassist Kimmell left the band. The next year would be spent trying out different bass players on the road. In April of 2013, they played the Roadburn festival in Tilburg, Netherlands with friend Joseph Hester on bass. Shortly after, they released TMGT Live from Roadburn 2013, on Roadburn Records.
In May 2013, they found bassist Mike Boyne from Lafayette, Louisiana. He was the perfect bassist for TMGT. In 2014, TMGT signed with Austrian metal label, Napalm Records. This was a big step for them. Napalm released TMGT’s third full length album, Cold Was The Ground, in February of 2015. They returned to Chase Park Transduction for this one, and once again they recorded live on analog tape. The songs are more uptempo and structured than Buffalo, and engineer Dave Barbe had more influence on the production of the album. Overall a more mature and listenable album. The album single is titled BC Trucker.
No matter how big or small the crowd is you will never catch TMGT playing any less than to the best of their ability. Their live show has been reviewed as being one of the best of all times. So much soul and energy is put out when TMGT takes the stage. They play every show like it was their last, leaving buckets of sweat and blood in their path. This is not one of those bands that just stands around. This band makes sure to give the crowd what they deserve. They will take you for a ride, and you will not be able to look away. Their live show has become the pinnacle and well sought out experience of this band’s existence.
With nonstop touring in both the U.S. and Europe, TMGT now currently spends eight months a year on the road, playing as many shows as they can book.Their main goal is to spread their music through touring and hope to leave their artistic impression on the world. In 2010, Moss’ father and mentor died of a heart attack. His last words to Steve were “Don’t ever stop playing music no matter what. Push it as hard as you can.” These are the words that the band lives by. The Midnight Ghost Train will never stop, just continue to grow bigger and pick up speed. They will continue to tour, make records, and never fail to impress their fans and the world with their passion for music. The Midnight Ghost Train has given it all up for the stage. “We ain’t ever gonna stop, we’re just getting started,” says Steve Moss. This band is the ultimate eulogy for John Goff.