With a band name like Jukebox the Ghost, one would assume there is a deep story behind it.
“It’s one of those stories that’s a little more disappointing than it should be,” vocalist and pianist Ben Thornewill admitted.
“We had a previous band name that we didn’t like. … It honestly came down to having something Google searchable,” he said. “Jukebox the Ghost is such a stupid combination of words, so it’s very easy to find.”
Fans can catch Thornewill and bandmates Tommy Siegel and Jesse Kristin this weekend at ALT 92.1’s Furnace Frenzy in Scranton.
The show takes place Saturday, July 21, at 4 p.m. at the Iron Furnaces, 159 Cedar Ave. Tickets to the Times-Shamrock Communications radio station’s concert are $20, and can be purchased at eventbrite.com.
Other acts on the bill include headliner Dirty Heads plus lovelytheband, L.I.F.T., Brother Sundance and Morgan Saint.
The Brooklyn-based trio met in 2003 while attending George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and released their first album as Jukebox the Ghost, “Let Live & Let Ghosts,” in 2008. Although at its inception the group had no idea where they were heading, their individual backgrounds created a unique sound of indie and pop.
“Between our drummer’s punk rock past, our guitarist’s jam band sort of background and I’m a classical pianist, we each have our own sound,” Thornewill said. “I think if we sat down and thought about it, we would have said, ‘This is a terrible idea.’”
Nearly 10 years of touring and thousands of live shows proved that the mashing of genres and musical backgrounds created a wonderful, funky recipe for success. 
Earlier this year, the piano pop outfit released its fifth studio album, “Off To the Races,” and its first single, “Everybody’s Lonely,” achieved national radio play — a first for the band.
“I think every record feels like a reinvention, or it has felt for us,” Thornewill said. “Every time we make a new one, we think, ‘Oh well, now we’ve hit our stride.’ Our song hit national radio success for the first time, and that’s a good feeling. We feel great about that, because we’ve been touring for so long we feel like we’ve earned this.”
“Everybody’s Lonely” pokes fun at songs on the radio that focus solely on love or “drinking too much,” but through poppy piano beats and catchy tunes, it also shines a light on the fact that loneliness is rampant.
“I’ve always had the belief that you can make joyful-sounding pop music with darker lyrics, having something a little more substantial,” Thornewill explained. “And ‘Everybody’s Lonely’ is no exception. A lot of our music you can surface-level jump around and feel joyful, but if you dig a little deeper and process the other layers, there are deeper experiences within the song.”
Much of the layered harmonies and guitar solos on the new album took heavy influences from Queen — a result of the band’s annual October tradition, “HalloQueen.” At these shows, Jukebox the Ghost performs a set of its own songs, and then a second set dressed up as Queen, performing live “as the band.”
These concerts not only pushed the musicians to dig deep into the classic rock group’s sound, but helped them to embrace that sound and mold it into their own. This fall, the band plans to continue that tradition with the fourth annual HalloQueen.
“Fundamentally, we’re a fun band,” Thornewill said. “We’re an entertaining band. Our live shows are silly and self-aware — it’s a party.”

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