Piano-centric indie-pop upstarts Jukebox the Ghost have had a pretty swell year. The trio’s recently issued second album, Everything Under the Sun, helmed by Peter Katis (Interpol, the National) has gotten sterling reviews across the board; they played their single “Schizophrenia” on Late Show With David Letterman; and they toured with Guster and Barenaked Ladies before embarking on a headlining jaunt that brings them to town this week. It’s sort of a homecoming gig—the band got its start in D.C., but lived in Philly for a couple years. Two-thirds of the trio—singer/guitarist Tommy Siegel and drummer Jesse Kristin—recently relocated to New York City (boooo!), though singer/keyboardist Ben Thornewill still lives here (for now). But with all the time they’ve been spending on the road of late, Jukebox basically has no home. We caught up with Kristin from a tour stop in Alabama to play “Fill in the Blanks.”
My favorite thing about Philadelphia is: Kenzinger.
The strangest thing that ever happened to me in Philadelphia is: We found a slug on top of our espresso machine in the kitchen. I ran away because I have an intense fear of slugs, and I’m sweating just bringing it up.
I decided to leave Philadelphia and move to New York because: I needed a change of scenery. And because of the slugs.
Our live show is not a success unless: I am the center of attention.
Our band name rules because: It’s terrible.
The one thing that must be provided for us backstage is: Gum. We have a Tumblr blog where we review gums. We’re gum snobs, gum hipsters. And now we’re asking for gum. I think it’s in our rider.
The best gift I’ve ever gotten from a fan is: Ed from Barenaked Ladies, who is now a fan of ours, during our final show with them he gave us the gift of flashing us onstage. He had a robe on and he came out slowly and we didn’t know what to expect, and all of a sudden he opened the robe. The crowd couldn’t see but we could. It was terrifying. It was the best gift and the worst gift all at once.
The strangest question a fan has ever asked me is: “I really like your cologne, what is it?” It was a combination of Old Spice, Tiger Balm and sweat.
When we met David Letterman he said to me: “Love the drums. Thank you sir.” Our only interaction with him was when he came over after we got done playing. To Ben he said, “Hey look out, look out. Heads up, heads up!” and to Tommy he said, “Nicely done.” I think he says the same thing to every band, though.
The one song I didn’t write but wish I did is: “Martha My Dear,” by the Beatles.
The funniest thing one of my bandmates ever said to me while we were playing live was: “You’re fired!”
The thing I’ll remember most about making Everything Under The Sun is: That Tuesday nights were chili nights in the studio. Every Tuesday, without fail, Peter Katis would make us chili. It was pretty spicy, but the most special thing about it was that we had the guy who recorded Interpol and the National cooking chili for us.
The single best thing about being in a band is: No homework.
The single worst thing about being in a band is: The drummer.
My most treasured possession is: My tattoos. I don’t want anyone to steal them.
If I was caught by the tabloids canoodling with a celebrity in a bar, I’d want that celebrity to be: Morrissey.
I first realized I was musically inclined when: I’m musically inclined? I’m the drummer!
The first record I bought with my own money was: Dookie, by Green Day.
PW's Music Issue 2014