Machine Go Boom Reunite to Debut Unreleased Material, Play Halloween Show at the Happy Dog

click to enlarge The band plays the Happy Dog on Oct. 30 - Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo
The band plays the Happy Dog on Oct. 30

Reuniting after ten years, Machine Go Boom will debut an album of unreleased material — When We're Ghosts — and play a show on Saturday, Oct. 30 at the Happy Dog.

MGB, which was awarded a handful of Scene Best of Cleveland nods in the mid-2000s and landed its song "800 lb. Gorilla" on's list of the most important songs in Cleveland history, last played together at Pat's in the Flat's in 2009.

Their first album, Thank You Captain Obvious, was put out on local record label Collectable Escalators in 2003 and the band followed it with their 2007 eclectic, beautifully-written second full-length release Music for Parents. But it all ended pretty quickly after that.

“We played any and every show we could for years and we kinda burned out,” says lead singer Mikey Baranick. “There were some songs which felt a little stale and we were getting real testy with each other. In hindsight I’m glad we stopped, I think Brian, Carrie and I are better friends for it. Our friendship is really the core of the band.”

Halloween always seems to have carried a certain resonance with the band. Thank You Captain Obvious displays a jack o’ lantern on the cover and the album features songs called “Scary Costume” and “Lil’ Devil.” On this new one, they have a song called “Body Costume” and a song about chopping one’s own head off called “Chop Chop."

“Halloween is the most wonderful time of the year,” says Baranick. “Skulls, zombies, monsters, gory imagery littered on suburban lawns with children demanding excessive treats and then vomiting from over indulgence. It’s the only time America experiences itself for what it truly is. It should replace the 4th of July. Also we like dressing up funny.”

The album consists of all songs which were left somewhat incomplete but intact, yet never released all those years ago. The tracks were recorded by local engineer and proprietor of Zombieproof Studios, Paul Maccarrone. Although most the ‘meat and potato’ tracking was completed by Maccarrone years ago, Baranick enlisted the help of friends and fellow musicians Dan Price and Davis Straub to pull the album together.

“We have a stockpile of old songs recorded we never released,” says Baranick. “They just never fit quite right with the songs on our previous album, even though they still have the sort-of-lo-fi sound as those. This collection of songs work together as a whole really well I think. Half of the songs were left unfinished so we went back and added the missing counter melodies and touches they needed. There’s one song available for preview online now.”

The track “50 Years” is reminiscent of Guided By Voices with its broad acoustic guitar sound and distorted vocals.

When We’re Ghosts sounds like a Machine Go Boom album, and not just a bunch of ‘leftovers in the fridge’ complete with toy keyboard sounds, infectious melodies, groovy musical interludes, sardonic lyrics, and the classic MGB giant drum sound. It’s still them.

MGB has had some lineup changes over the years, but for this show the band will consist of Brian O’Connor on bass, Carrie Bukala on keys/vocals, Baranick on guitar/vocals, Dan Price on drums, and Mike Uva on guitar/vocals.

“We got together in late 2019 with the idea of playing a reunion show just for fun,” says Baranick. “Then COVID happened and the world shut down. I kept writing at home, we started messing around with new stuff outside in my backyard when the weather warmed up. We’re back together and are planning on putting out some other stuff we never released, along with new songs down the road. We don’t have any other shows planned yet. We wanna’ do shows sparingly so we can concentrate on our families and other interests at home, we also don’t wanna’ burn out like we did last time.”

When We’re Ghosts will be released digitally through Just Because Records on their Bandcamp page and on a limited cassette run Sat. October 30th at the show. Pre-orders are available now. Baranick said that the show is a costume party and that masks are encouraged, “both spooky ones and safety ones” and indicated that they will be playing mostly “the hits” with a couple songs off of the new release.

Also on the bill for the show will be fellow Cleveland power-pop punks Cheap Clone and Slug Fest. Happy Dog is currently requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for all ticketed events/live shows.
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