Michael Harrison Berg of Van Ghost was a musician in high school, but as an adult swapped his onstage pursuits for backstage ones. For over 10 years the Chicagoan has been managing bands and promoting concerts like the North Coast Music Fest and Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Fest rather than making music. But when a band he poured time and money into imploded, he sought solace in songwriting and awoke the musician within.
Van Ghost built an impressive local profile through a tireless work ethic and the broad appeal of their infectious hooks and burly musicianship. They’ve amassed a devoted local following opening for diverse artists like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s, Drive By Truckers, Grace Potter, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, John Oates, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and Tim Reynolds.
“I didn’t plan my future,” Berg says of the surprise turn his music business career has taken after those initial private and therapeutic songwriting sessions. “I found inspiration in writing a song and I took that inspiration and multiplied it. I found I could deal with demons through music.” Berg has found that he is as comfortable operating under the spotlight as he is behind the curtain. With Van Ghost, he sets out to inspire music fans the same way other artists have inspired him – one song at a time.
In mid-July, Van Ghost released The Domino Effect (Dustimmoff Music), a focused pop-rock album with smart hooks, cocksure classic rock swagger, and refreshingly optimistic lyrics. Take a listen below…