Now, time to venture down an offbeat path, with a band called The Ghastly Ones, likely most people never heard of this band or their style of music, but this month marks the 20th Anniversary of the release of “A-Haunting We Will Go-Go”. They emerged from Van Nuys, California, to some from the grave, playing a variation of surf and garage rock, with a horrorbilly and gothic theme, hinting back to the mid-60s black and white b-movie horror films. Their scene generated the hearse hauling, graveyard strolls, talk of creepy forgotten mansions and go-go dancing girls in in the fall of 1996. Sadly, the group parted ways long ago, and while the internet states it’s only temporary the last know album from the came in 2009 called “Gears N’ Ghoulfinks” an EP, though the last full record in 2007 “Unearthed”. So why this macabre version of the surf rock music, well it had more to do with Quentin Tarantino and his film Pulp Fiction (1994) and the usage of Dick Dale’s (aka: The King of the Surf Guitar) Misirlou (1962) among other surf tracks on the soundtrack, that gave inspiration to these musicians.
This launched a revival in the long since absent genre and culture of years 1962 to 1964, The Ghastly Ones filled it with a strange twist. The band consisted of guitarist Dr. Lehos, drummer Baron Shimmy Shiver (who did a track for SpongeBob ScaredyPants (1999)) and bass Sir Go Go Ghostly. However, a further breakdown of the band members is definitely required, because this revelation going to pique your attention. For example, ‘Dr. Lehos’ portrayed by Garrett Immel a special effects makeup/ movie monster creator done over 90-horror films such as Cabin Fever (2002) and Army of Darkness (1992) while ‘Baron Shivers’ actually Norman Cabrera with 17-horror film credits all in special effects such as Annabelle (2014) and the makeup dept on Scarecrows (1988). In fact, the band’s name taken from director Andy Milligan film of the same name created in 1968, and while the band wore costumes the individual that discovered and placed them on his label and boarder distribution through Geffen Records, was none other than Rob Zombie who dressed as Dr. Diablo and his wife Sheri Moon as a Go-Go Ghoul. Rob’s label (now defunct) Zombie A Go-Go records label which released 11 albums of other quirky and unique bands.
I actually discovered The Ghastly Ones music from a Various Artists CD called “Halloween Hootenanny”, their track called Banshee Beach (later located on their All Plastic Assembly Kit (2005)), as a fan and collector of Halloween (my other passion aside from Horror Films) I try to get each album of horror psychobilly.
‘A-Haunting’ is a relatively short album consisting of many tracks never achieving the 3-minute mark and a series of unusual corny story tracks, that try to convey a story of the band visiting a lab of the mad doctor Dr. Diablo, but none of it taken seriously, just like the b-movie their band name comes from. The music though does entertain, at times a punk energy of the late 70s, with instrumental tracks, and groovy themes, but a fun closeout song called ‘(Everybody’s Doin’) The Ghastly Stomp’. ‘Ghastly Stomp’ the second track gives homage to The Haunted Mansion, while the tenth song ‘Diablo’s Theme’ features references to The Munster’s theme, but that occurs with the other songs (not all) referencing something in the horror culture or genre.
1. An Invitation – 0:32
2. Ghastly Stomp – 2:27
3. Hangman Hangten – 2:30
4. Thunderhead Listen – 2:14
5. Pacific Ghost Highway – 0:48
6. Haulin’ Hearse – 2:22
7. Lonesome Undertaker – 2:36
8. Mysterion – 3:20
9. The Boys Go Creeping – 0:51
10. Diabolo’s Theme – 2:08
11. Action Squad – 1:51
12. Deadbeat – 3:05
13. Spookmaster – 2:32
14. Doctor Diabolo Speaks – 0:57
15. Attack Of Robot Atomico – 3:03
16. Los Campiones Del Justicio – 3:42
17. Hollywood Nocturne – 3:16
18. Surfin’ Spooks – 1:34
19. A Final Warning – 0:24
20. (Everybody’s Doin’) – 2:39
Therefore, simply if you don’t care for either surf rock or Rob Zombie endorsed items then this won’t interest you, however if the possibility of trying something new does then this serves as a ghoulish adventure. However just one problem, the album is out of print and not the easiest thing to find (unless you’re open to paying an outrageous price for it online). You can find it on YouTube as a full album and while the band still obscure to many, their song ‘Ghastly Stomp’ is featured in Night of the Demons (2009) which shows the continued influence on those enjoying the macabre.