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The best kept secret in music


"Darkest Hour- Ghostwriter- End Of The West"

Steve Schecter, a.k.a. Ghostwriter, is a one-man band with a switchblade growl and a taste for punk-fueled country, rockabilly, and blues. The aptly named Darkest Hour is an intense and angry trip into Schecter’s raw outsider observations. He sings, plays guitar, banjo, and harmonica, keeps foot percussion, and makes one hell of a nasty racket. Dissatisfaction, delivered with barb-wired honesty, runs through most of the album from “Cooked“ to “Kinship to Truckers.” But Schecter actually gets somewhat “poppy“ (a relative term) on “S.O.B,” and the banjo-driven “Circus,” a nice change of pace, is thoughtfully delivered. Call it "Sunday Morning Coming Down" for folks looking for something a little more primitive. --Andy Turner
- Pop Culture Press #64

"Ghostwriter Darkest Hour- End Of The West, 2007"

This is a one man show hailing from Texas. Like alot of things in Texas this guy aint messing around. They call it folk punk , but I call it one pissed off guy doing a one man show thats rough and tuff raw acoustic type music. This guy aint singing kumbya by no means.

This cd brings you 10 songs of what I just described above. Man are these lyrics dark. Not in a goth type way but in a way of being really down and fed up with bullshit in everyday life. Songs like Clock, Human Life and so on gives you the idea.

As far as the music goes its good. Its raw and what you would expect for this type of thing , but that doesn’t mean its not done well cause it is. I’m sure this guy is even better live cause although the disc is good this is the sort of thing you would want to see live. I can picture him in some bar or coffee house in Texas playing away on a regular basis.

If this sort of thing is your cup of tea go out and get this cd you wont be sorry you did.
- Mass Movement Magazine 04/07/04

"Ghostwriter- Darkest Hour- End Of The West"

GHOSTWRITER- DARKEST HOUR- END OF THE WEST- Speaking of one man bands (see above) but where Celestial explore the jangly side of the rock scene , Oregonian Steve Schecter (who had spent many years in Austin, honing his craft ) likes his music raw n’ raspy . He recorded this 10 song record in his house. He sounds pissed and it sounds like he’s got plenty to be pissed about and trust me Steve, I am not going to be recommending the Celestial record to you anytime soon. This guy’s gutteral croon woulda made a good vocalist for Portland’s own I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House if lead man Mike D. had died or something (and if the band didn’t already break up…and, by the way, there is a song on here called “S.O.B.” ). But no, Mike D. is still alive and well and Ghostwriter seems to be doing just fine. In the opener “Cooked” the guy seems at the end of his rope while on “Clock” he complains about being “stuck in some warehouse’ (and if you’ve ever worked in a warehouse then you’d know what the hell he’s talking about). He slows things down on the bluesier “Sailing” while he gets more singer-songwriter (and melodic ) on our ass in the Woody Guthrie-ish “Blue-Eyed Girl.” If you give Ghostwriter just a few minutes of your time he play his ass off for you and make you a fan. Just give him some time……come on, do it. - Dagger Zine 03/24/07

"Sound Picks 11/09/06 Ghostwriter at Beerland"

GHOSTWRITER Nov. 9 - BEERLAND- The Creepout Showcase at Beerland is billed as a night of one-man bands, but don’t tell that to Steve Schecter (aka Ghostwriter). He seems adamant that he’s not a one-man band but just a solo artist. I’m inclined to let him call himself whatever he wants, because, frankly, he scares the hell out me. Imagine Scott Biram with a grittier, dirtier voice and even more fuck-the-world apocalyptic attitude, you might be close. With his abrasive strumming and even more abrasive lyrics, if Schecter ever actually teamed up all hell just might break loose. Thank God they’re one-man ban…er, solo performers.

Banjos have rarely received such a beating as on songs like “Preacher’s Daughter” off of 2004’s Road Angels and Torrential Rain, and Ghostwriter’s latest album, Darkest Hours, continues to plunge oblique depths both psychological and social. His gruesome and grudging blues rants are minimal, but howled out with a ferociousness and dark lyricism of Nick Cave left to flail at his demons alone. There’s rarely any let-up to Ghostwriter’s punishing ferocity – perhaps the one thing that separates him most from Biram – but if you can stand the fury, the sound is unforgettable.
- Austin Sound

"True Business: The Blue-Collar Blues-Punk of Ghostwriter"

True Business: The Blue-Collar Blues-Punk of Ghostwriter
by Zoe Nicol

Local musician Steve Schecter, stage name Ghostwriter, is the best blue-collar blues-punk performer who hasn’t been snagged by a mid-sized label. If you haven’t seen him yet, you should. His newest album, Darkest Hour, and recent tour with the Legendary Shack Shakers are bold testaments to his authenticity and craftsmanship amid the explosion of blue-collar genre musicians. By combining the instruments of blues and the unrelenting observations that characterize punk, his work bends and blends the two genres into an uncompromising and sometimes unsettling reflection of inner turmoil and cultural expectations. Performances are raw with passion, focused on discontent with work, relationship anxiety, personal flaws and failings, and yes, even a song or two about drugs. Although sometimes described as a man who’s music lends justification for heavy drinking and personal annihilation, Steve’s actually an incredibly easygoing guy who was perfectly happy to sit down with me over a cup of coffee and share a few stories about his journey to Austin, touring, and his recent albums.

Steve freely admits that in his early teens all he did was listen to music, canvassing hometown Portland music stores for everything from rock to jazz to blues. Like a fair number of people, his early explorations were of record shop used bins, picking albums based on what instruments were involved, and seeking genre-specific indie labels that had a knack for recording good musicians. Eventually his behavior prompted his father to suggest Steve learn how to play. Little did his father anticipate that the purchase of a ‘little crappy electric guitar’ would result in several albums, an independent label, and 15 years of touring throughout the United States and Europe.

At age 16, after playing primarily house parties, he and two friends walked into their “local dive bar, punk club,” Satyricon, (operating since 2006 as Loveland) to perform during New Band Night. The young band, Darwin’s Grab Bag, composed of Jeremy Terry, Dana Shepard, and Steve, “failed absolutely live; the crowd sometimes heckled; and the best shows were mediocre.” Out of the whopping three venues that allowed Portland locals to play, X-Ray Café was second on their list of stops. There the band improved…as did the audience reactions. From 1996-2002, Steve regrouped with Jeremy in End of The West and Dana in The Standards. But those were yet to come and just shy of three years from the start of his first performance, Steve packed his bags and headed to Austin.

Believe it or not, the draw to the Texas capitol was not our temperate summers. Austin musicians like the Bad Livers, Scratch Acid, Butthole Surfers, and Joe Ely inspired 19-year-old Steve to hop a train to check out the city. Suffice to say, immediately thereafter he returned to Oregon long enough to pick up his vehicle and pack his bags, officially relocating to the land of live music.

As a guy who loves to travel, it’s natural that most of his songs are written while riding the blacktop. “Most songs are created while on tour; I’ve always liked to travel…it happens a lot to guys who do a lot of traveling…being on the road eight or nine hours a day.” Just a glance at his tour list on his website, reveals an obvious love affair with touring. A 2005 month-long scamper in England and Germany yielded a new and enthuastic fanbase -one reporter quoting being “awestruck” by his performances. Although the Midwest has been a staple of his tour schedule, a recent tour of the more picturesque West makes return tours highly likely. Developed through long hours on the road, his intimacy reveals itself not just on stage, but transfers to his albums as well.

Without a doubt, Ghostwriter’s albums have benefited from the lack of over-production that assails so many of today’s releases. The simplicity and “droning,” as Steve refers to it, gives each song ample room for anarcho-cowpunk and blues ballads to get into bed together. Both of his last two albums were recorded using only six microphones and a ½” four track tape machine. Do the math and you’ll quickly come to the conclusion that Steve’s instruments: banjo, harmonica, electric guitar, kick-drum (with attached tamborine, two mics, and a pedal or two), outnumber the recording devices.

His first official Ghostwriter production was in 2003 titled As I Go Alone, and you’ll be lucky if you can find one of the 500 copies in print. His second work, Road Angels and Torrential Rains, was printed in 2004 and is summed up in the liner notes in Steve’s typical bare-bones style:

Tracks: The Story.
1-3: It’s about a guy who likes to drive. He’s mildly separated or discontent with varying levels of anxiety.
4-6: His imagination kicks in. Loose plans of leaving bring hope, but fear and uncertainty remain present.
7-8: After much contemplation he go - Austin Sound Nov. 06

"Music Magnified: Ghostwriter with the Rod Shot Band and Bloodshot Bill"

Music Magnified: Ghostwriter with The Rod Shot Band and Bloodshot Bill

By Simon McCormack

Monday, July 17, Burt’s Tiki Lounge (21-and-over); Free: Ghostwriter (aka Steve Schecter) began playing as a one-man-band in 2002 after endless lineup changes to his former band, The Standards, became an intolerable inevitability. Judging from his angry, loathsome tracks that draw equally from folk and punk influences, Schecter seems like the type of person who doesn’t put up with too much inconvenience in his musical career.

Utilizing a hollow-bodied guitar, banjo (that he regularly strums the shit out of), harmonica and a homemade percussion device, Ghostwriter has a vicious undercurrent of self-hatred and pain that seeps into every song.

While perhaps some of Ghostwriter’s lyrics--such as the line, “I want to destroy human life and then maybe I won’t feel so uptight”--are meant to be taken with a rather large grain of salt, the dark melodies and frenetic pace of the music is all it takes to convey the dark emotion the words (tongue-in-cheek or not) try to express. Schecter seems to have little interest in pleasantness, musically or lyrically, and he makes no effort to make his tunes polished or slick. Instead, it’s Ghostwriter’s brutal honesty that gives it its most tempting charm. Life isn’t always fun and games and Ghostwriter intends to highlight the darker aspects of it in the hopes that people can get their fill of sunshine elsewhere.

- Weekly Alibi

"Ghostwriter 'Road Angels & Torrential Rain' (Travel, Murder...)'"

- Label: 'END OF THE WEST'
- Genre: 'Alt/Country' - Release Date: 'April 2005'

Our Rating:
Anarcho-Cowpunk Ghostwriter (aka Steve Schechter) recorded this CD virtually live at a friend’s house in Austin Texas, and the result is a raw blast of primitive rock’n’roll. Playing all instruments himself, mainly guitar, harmonica and some banjo (but not played like you’ve ever heard before!) it is harsh and unforgiving, challenging and authentic in a way that The White Stripes could barely dream of.

This was recommended to me on the basis of an intense and moody live performance that saw an unsuspecting, trendy London audience being reduced to open-mouthed shock and awe. It sucks its lifeblood, in vampiric fashion, from early rockabilly and delta blues but the performance owes a debt to the likes of The Fall, The Cramps and vocally, Birthday Party era Nick Cave.

‘Desolate’ is just that, ‘Preacher’s Daughter’ employs that aforementioned steely banjo and contains the closest to a chorus/hook - albeit one that sings of a preacher’s daughter impressed by the narrator’s chemical intake. ‘False Hearted’ is a snarling and spitting rendition of a traditional ‘hate ballad’ and probably the best track on offer.

Overall, it is perhaps too one-dimensional, too unrelenting and would undoubtedly benefit from some light and shade but it would be great fun to witness his apparently black-suited, mean, moody and hair-raising live set! - Whisperin And Hollerin

"Ghostwriter- interview"

Interview by Ben Lybarger. Rock N' Roll Purgatory, Oct. '05.
The first time I listened to Ghostwriter I was driving home late at night from Columbus to Cleveland on Rt. 71. I let the CD "Road Angels & Torrential Rain (Travel, Murder, + Loss)" play all the way through three times. There was just something gripping about it that reflected both the oblivion and the possibilities of the open road. As the title suggests, there is a certain amount of anguish in the vocals, which are delivered like an abrasive scrape across the gut. Ghostwriter's dark Americana further proves the notion that the one-man band is the purest form of musical expression. His lyrics come off personal, compelling, and literate. It is definitely not easy listening as he almost pathologically rants and raves, exposing his skeletons and pulling you into the strange world of a perpetual outsider that embodies the American spirit at its most gritty, true, and vital. Part John Wayne, part Charles Bukowski, Ghostwriter is a storyteller who creates a solitary aura that reminds me of doing shots alone in a dark corner bar on a weeknight. He sets to music the subconscious of a nation, and it is good music at that - BL

RRP: How did you arrive at the name Ghostwriter?
Ghostwriter:: I like the definition, anonymous or un-credited. Also, I like that it sounds dark and solitaire.

RRP: Can you talk about the progression of bands you’ve been in? What was the sound and feel of bands like Billy Swamp, The Standards, and End of the West, and what propelled the evolution towards a one-man band?

Ghostwriter:: The Standards was kind of a rockabilly thing and was around the longest. End Of The West formed out of the ashes of the Standards. It was still rootsy but with a little darker take, similar to the stuff I’m doing now but slicker. Billy Swamp was a drums and guitar duo predating both of them. For years I hated this band but now it might be my favorite. It was really raw and there’s a lot of similarities between Billy Swamp and Ghostwriter songs. Both use pretty simple instrumentation, not a lot of changes or solos, and can seem kind of ranty. If there was any one thing that drove me towards playing alone it was constant changes in line-ups. If five years the Standards went through five bass players and three lead guitar players plus a couple fill-ins. It was ridiculous. The first one-man tour I did was an accident really. It was booked for End Of The West and both the other guys flaked out with pretty short notice. At the time, I chose to play the shows solo instead of canceling the tour or looking for fill-ins. I felt really defeated and it was just something to do, but it ended up being a good thing.

RRP: Who is Cole Stephens?

Ghostwriter:: He’s an alter-ego singer-songwriter of mine. My full name is Stephen Coleman Lile Schecter. Cole Stephens is just the first half backwards. I used to play solo acoustic gigs under that name when the Standards and End Of The West were around. I guess I’ve always had an aversion to using my own name.

RRP: Your bio says that you hopped a train and left Portland at age 19 to arrive in Austin where you still reside. What made you want to leave Portland, and what made Austin seem more desirable? What were your ambitions then, and how have you achieved them to this point? (And did actually “hop” the train?)

Ghostwriter:: Austin looked like a good change and even then I was aware of a lot of great bands and songwriters from Texas. I only figuratively ‘hopped’ the train, I bought a ticket. I’d lived in Oregon my whole life and just wanted to try something new. Austin was my only destination. I didn’t plan to stay for nine years but it worked out that way and I still like it here. My ambitions have always centered around playing music so I think of it as a success. I’m playing music that I like right now and I‘m able to book tours and sell albums. I used to compare myself to other musicians and think that their success meant I hadn’t achieved something or that I should be thriving for a “next level.” Now I think just having gigs now and planning them for the future is as much as I could hope for.

RRP: Your bio also says that you have gone on six national tours, focusing on the East coast, Southeast, and Midwest. It seems like you avoid the West Coast where you came from. How come?

Ghostwriter:: It’s not intentional to avoid the West Coast. The Western half of the states is a lot more spread out than the Midwest and East. I started touring in the Midwest and then spread to the East Coast first. It’s a goal of mine to play some shows out West soon, but lately it’s just been easier to continue touring in places I’ve already been.

RRP: Let Them Eat Lead touts you as the “most punk rock motherfucker” in Austin. What’s your appraisal of the punk scene there, or the music scene in general?

Ghostwriter:: Austin has a lot of great bands. There’s always a thriving rock - Rock n' Roll Purgatory Oct. 05


2006 Darkest Hour (the last adventure is here) -CD
2004 Road Angels & Torrential Rain (travel, murder &loss) -CD
2003 As I Go Alone (songs of love & significance) -CD
2005 Ghostwriter/Walin' Elroys Split 7" ep. Rock n' Roll Purgatory Records
2005 This Is Punk Rock Blues- Compilation on Punk Rock Blues records, London.
2007 Attack of The One-Man Bands- Compilation on Rock n' Roll Purgatory

There has been college, community and internet radio play off the Darkest Hour and Road Angels & Torrential Rain CDs. Songs include: 15 Minutes, Desolate, False Hearted, Sailing, Blue-Eyed Girl, Cooked, Human Life, Driving. Cities include: London, Irvine, Austin, Boston, Knoxville, Portland, Rochester, Richmond, NYC, St. Louis, Cleveland.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Ghostwriter was born Steve Schecter in 1976 in Friend Oregon, a rural communty east of the Cascades and south of the Columbia Gorge. His first bands emerged in Portland in the early nineties at places like the Satyricon and the X-Ray Café. Upon turning 19 he hopped a train headed for Austin with a guitar and a backpack. Between 1996 and 2002 Schecter formed and fronted the bands Billy Swamp, The Standards, and End Of The West along with periodically performing acoustic under the alias Cole Stephens. In the fall of ’02, at a time when his peers were consumed with careers of more supposed validity, Schecter started playing solo as Ghostwriter. Although his music has been described as bleak, self-loathing and even apocalyptic; Ghostwriter’s musical irreverence is a welcome change to the perfected sub-genres and posturing of rock ‘n roll today.

The 2006 release “Darkest Hour” (the last adventure is here) is the third in a series of self-released analogue recordings including 2003‘s “As I Go Alone (songs of love and significance)“ and 2004‘s “Road Angels and Torrential Rain (travel, murder and loss)”. A Ghostwriter track was included with the ranks of T-Model Ford and Immortal Lee County Killers on ‘This Is Punk Rock Blues,’ a 2005 compilation released on London’s Punk Rock Blues Records as well as the 2007 2-disc compilation 'Attack Of The One-Man Bands' on Rock n' Roll Purgatory Records.

Ghostwriter has toured eleven times in the United States and twice through the countries of England and Germany. He recently toured as the opener for the Legendary Shack Shakers and Dex Romweber (Flat Duo Jets) prior. He's played in festivals from Sleazefest in Chapel Hill, NC. to Not The Same Old Blues Crap in London.

In February 2007 Schecter returned to Central Oregon where he continues to perform and record as Ghostwriter. In July of 2007 Ghostwriter and San Antonio's no-wave blues trio Boxcar Satan are making a collaborative record for a Dogfinger/End Of The West release.