Haunting, emotional, honest, technical, heavy – all are words that can be applied to Grand Rapids hard rockers Life Size Ghost. Since the band’s formation in 2007, founding members Talitha Snowden (vocals/keyboards), Curtis Hendershott (guitar), Erik Ryden (lead guitar), Brian Thomas (drums), plus recently-added bassist Jeremy DeHaan (also of Lansing band Herd), have been wowing crowds in their hometown, in Michigan, and beyond.
Life Size Ghost formed in 2007 in Mt. Pleasant. “We started playing college parties and gigs regularly at the local bars,” says Snowden. “All of us have a strong passion for music and have made it a priority in our life due to pure enjoyment.”
The band cites blues and jazz music, plus Pink Floyd and Incubus, as major influences and that makes complete sense when listening to songs like “In Your Sleep” and “Lonely Light” from the three EPs released so far. The inventive, progressive psychedelia of Floyd merges seamlessly with the contemporary metal of Incubus, while the purity of jazz and the blues shines throughout.
That energy and quality can be heard in abundance on each of Life Size Ghost’s releases: 2010’s Where We Started, 2011’s The Realverb Sessions EP, and 2012’s Magnify EP. The band has played Nashville, Austin, Brooklyn and Chicago, opening for artists and groups as prestigious as Candlebox at the Emerald Theatre in Mt. Clemens (where the band played in front of approximately 700 people), Company of Thieves (signed to Wind-Up Records), Freezepop (appeared on Guitar Hero 2), Oh My God, Evolove, American Opera, Great Lakes Myth Society, and the Hounds Below (featuring Jason Stollsteimer of the Von Bondies).
In March 2011, Life Size Ghost played on two of the Planet LA Records showcases in Austin, TX, during South by Southwest. The following month, the band opened for Washed Out at the Ragbag of Jollification tour hosted by the Cartoon Network's [adult swim] in Lansing, and it played the main stage of Michigan Rock ’n’ Brew in August 2012 on a bill that also included the Toadies, Helmet, the Hard Lessons, Dirty Americans, the Muggs and Downtown Brown.
“Playing down in Texas during SXSW was a great experience for all of us to be around a strong, supportive music scene,” says Snowden. “The Emerald Theatre was a memorable moment due to the amount of new people we got to play for. Ragbag of Jollification was also a fun experience.”
In addition, the band earned first place in six separate categories in the 25th Annual Review Music Awards: Best New Artist of the Year, Most Innovative Artist, Rock Keyboardist, Female Rock Vocalist, Rock Guitarist and Blues Instrumentalist.
It is this series of impressive live shows, plus the excellent recorded output, that drove Yahoo! Voices scribe John Vasquez to say, "Motivation is not something you see from many bands around the area, they are dedicated to bringing you an excellent piece of original work every time you see a live performance, they give you what you pay for at the door, and then some. It’s remarkable the standard they are setting for up and coming musicians, to wrap so much beauty and intelligence in their songwriting capabilities, it almost makes you wonder when time will take and sweep them away from us, in this small chunk of the world… Life Size Ghost is proving that with enough heart and soul, you can create an unbeatable sound. Talking with the band members recently, they told me they are stretching their legs, trying to bring new cities and fans closer, they are very personal, talking with a genuine tone remarkably every time I see them. In the music business these days, this is something hard to come by, people forget who they are, but not this band, there live performance can be felt strongly, with heart, soul, a mixture of feelings, it really makes you step back and think."
Meanwhile, Dwayne Hoover of Kalamazoo Local Music said that, "Don’t just take my word for the fact that LSG is kicking ass. Last year they scored a sponsorship from Sparks Energy Drink which landed their single “Where We Started” on the Sparks Digital Playlist. This past June that same single made its way on to the all-female compilation She Got Next 2011. They also landed first place in six separate categories in the 25th Annual Review Music Awards: Best New Artist of the Year, Most Innovative Artist, Rock Keyboardist, Female Rock Vocalist, Rock Guitarist and Blues Instrumentalist."
With so many plaudits singing Life Size Ghost’s praises, it was no surprise when, in 2010, the band received a sponsorship deal from Sparks Energy Drink. As a result, the "Where We Started" single was featured on the Sparks digital playlist, as well as on Block Starz's all-female compilation She Got Next 2011.
The past five years have seen Life Size Ghost grow from a local bar band to a nationally recognized hard rock machine. In Snowden, they have a charismatic, alluring front woman capable of holding a crowd in the palm of her hand. However, it would be a mistake to think of this band as “just another” female-fronted hard rock group. This is a band with a sound of its own, with a technically magnificent set of musicians and an arsenal of great songs.
Not only that, but they are currently writing new music and continuing to play live. Our best advice would be to get out and see them now while they are still playing in relatively small venues. Get with the program and catch up with those three EPs, hide yourself away in your bedroom for a few days to soak in the tunes, and then buy a t-shirt. You won’t regret it.