When it comes to Maine-based bands who are making waves not only at home but also around the country and world, The Ghost of Paul Revere certainly needs no lengthy introduction. Made up of Sean McCarthy (bass and vocals), Max Davis (banjo and vocals), and Griffin Sherry (guitar and vocals), this popular group will be taking part in a special 4th of July virtual festival in a few days and so I thought it would be timely to check back with Sherry to find out about his band’s participation. And along the way, I learned so much more than I was expecting. He ended up calling me on June 23rd from his Portland home.

Q: I checked out your website this morning to see how you guys are doing during this COVID-19 mess and discovered that you’ve been active — especially on the digital end of things. How’s that working out for you?
Sherry: You know, it’s been good, actually. We were supposed to leave for a little more than a month over in Europe right before this all started, … so we kind of had to reinvent the wheel a little bit. We’ve all been trying to keep our heads up and do as much work as possible, which has been good. (That) translates to a more digital presence than we’ve been used to. But, yeah, I think that over all — seeing everything is still so unknown now that we’re almost four months into it — every day is kind of a learning thing. And we’re moving forward with these drive-in shows, and we’ll see how they go. We’re the first ones to do it so it’s going to be a learning experience, for sure.

Q: Hold the phone! I’ve not heard about this “drive-in show” project of yours.
Sherry: Oh, yeah, so we announced a couple of weeks ago that we were doing four nights at the Farmington Drive-In — that we organized with the drive-in and we sold all the tickets ourselves and we sold all four nights in a couple of days.

Q: Now how does this work?
Sherry: There will be 60 cars allowed and each car can have four people in it. … Each car will be about 10 feet away from the others so everybody has their own space. We’re also not doing any merch. All our merch sales will be done through an online portal that will be shipped to people’s houses in July. … That’s a no-exposure program.

Q: That’s nice.
Sherry: Oh, and the Farmington Drive-In built us a stage in front of the screen, and the show’s sound will be broadcast on the radios in people’s cars. We’ll also have video that will be projected behind us on the movie screen.

Q: Oh, my Lord, that sounds so cool!
Sherry: (Laughter) But it’s been just par for the course for this whole quarantine, because I’ve certainly never had any experience with streaming music and creating on such an intense and rapid scale. I had to learn how to do all of that stuff, and now it’s great because I feel very comfortable with it. I feel like I’ve got my livestream to a really good spot where the quality is where I want it to be. But it’s been a couple of: “This is the problem; we need a solution, and let’s figure it out,” which is kind of my favorite way to work. These concerts are going to be a great lesson in how to figure out the logistics of all the stuff. Hopefully it’ll be something we can translate to other drive-ins around not only the state but the country, because there are about 300 drive-ins left in America.

Q: That’s an ambitious undertaking, Griffin.
Sherry: Well, right now it looks like that might be the only avenue for us to recover. We lost at least 90% of our income. We don’t have anything on the books for the rest of the year, that’s concretely going to happen, except for one show in Ohio at an outdoor space. So, we have to just double-down and figure out what to do in this situation. It’s forced us to adapt which, thankfully, everybody’s been keen to do.

Q: I’m very pleased and surprised by this drive-in movie project, but the reason I called to set up this interview was to ask you about a virtual gig on the Fourth of July that I heard about on WBLM. Could you talk a little about that, as well?
Sherry: Sure, the Fourth of July is a benefit day in support of a couple of things, Feed Maine is one of them. The big heavy-hitters behind it is the PSO (Portland Symphony Orchestra) who can’t do their usual live concert like they usually do. I’ve heard it’s a 24-hour livestreamed event with a lot of different bands, and we’re happy to be a part of that. So, as with a lot of these online festivals, we’ll be recording a set from the State Theatre and broadcasting it and sending it out.

Q: So how can folks view this special festival?
Sherry: It’ll be on a lot of different platforms. The Symphony Orchestra’s social media pages and you can find it on our Facebook page, for sure. You can tune in on that day, and also, as with most live things on Facebook, you can go back and watch it after the fact if you miss it. I’m not sure what our set time is, but I’m sure we’ll announce that as soon as we know, … and that announcement will be on our website, too.

Q: Just out of curiosity, how’s it been for the other members of the band these last few months?
Sherry: We hadn’t played music together, or really even seen each other, for three months. Especially for Sean, Max and I — we’ve known each other — and hadn’t really gone for long periods of time without seeing each other, for 30 years …

Q: Wow!
Sherry: … so it was a really good feeling to get the band back together and play those songs. I’m also really excited that we’re now allowed to be together. We’ve been really conscious about following every quarantine rule very strictly, just for everybody’s family and for us. But also, for just trying to set an example for other people and specifically other bands to show that there are ways to comply and still do this.

Q: Now I know the three of you are performing but will you be joined by the other two members?
Sherry: Yes, they are all full-band shows so there will be Sean, Max and I. And we just went and grabbed Jackson (Kincheloe) from New York and Chuck (Gagne) will be on drums.

Q: Is there anything, Griffin, that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article?
Sherry: I would say to definitely be on the lookout for more Ghost shows outside as we kind of figure this out and we grow with these experiences. But also I think this is a great time if people want to support their favorite music or favorite band — especially here in Maine because we have a lot of small, working musicians that are trying to survive. It’s a great time to go and buy a T-shirt from your favorite band or buy a CD or vinyl from Bull Moose — just supporting the artists and musicians in your community is really important now.

Lucky Clark has spent over 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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