"Power Through Terror represents the means by which the people in control of our world obtain their power," Great American Ghost frontman Ethan Harrison says of the title of his band's forthcoming album. "When we were writing the record I looked around and saw our world leaders using their media mouthpieces to sow war and fear to make people believe that they needed those leaders in order to be safe. I saw child sex rings being uncovered and then completely ignored and under-reported after their ring leaders 'committed suicide.' It was disgusting.
"I felt frustrated with people being brainwashed to give up their rights to officials that deal with fear. That's where the title comes from — it's power being obtained through terrifying acts."
Harrison's outrage plays out on the ferocious new song, "Altar of Snakes," a standout cut off Power Through Terror, which is due February 14th via Entertainment One and available for pre-order now. Check out the single and its music video above.
Below, we interviewed Harrison for our "Breaking the Law" series in which we interrogate artists about all manner of infractions, accidents and misdeeds. Find out who his favorite outlaw is, what law he'd overturn, what superpower he'd want and more.
WHAT LAW WOULD YOU OVERTURN IF YOU RULED THE WORLD?
ETHAN HARRISON I would return voting rights to felons. I can only speak to issues that pertain to the United States since I am a citizen of this country, but we as a nation have a massive incarceration problem. With that problem comes a much larger number of people that even though they have "paid their debt to society" are for some reason still punished upon exiting our already crippling justice system. Losing one's voting right due to a crime takes away a person's right to make their voice heard even though our system has deemed them "reformed." This incarceration problem also disproportionately targets people of color. It's an unfortunate fact. With that fact, it allows a country with foundational race issues to oppress further and silence a portion of their population that is statistically treated less fairly inside of the same criminal justice system that is designed to strip them of their right to a voice. This should be stopped.
IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE SUPERPOWER THAT DEFIED THE LAWS OF NATURE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Easy, teleportation. Cuts out the travel time of being able to fly or have wings or whatever, and yet you're still getting places.
WHO'S YOUR FAVORITE OUTLAW, FICTIONAL OR REAL?
Jimmy "The Gent" Conway from Goodfellas. Pretty sure he doesn't exist in the same way as he did in the film, but he was always my guy growing up. Never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut.
WHAT'S THE WORST FIGHT YOU'VE BEEN IN?
I've never been in a fight.
WHAT LYRIC WOULD YOU MOST WANT TO STEAL?
"Forgiveness is an empty promise" — Reign Supreme. Fucking Christ, that's such a great line.
HAVE YOU EVER STOLEN OR QUOTED A LYRIC IN ONE OF YOUR SONGS, INTENTIONALLY IN TRIBUTE OR BY ACCIDENT?
Definitely! I have quoted other songs and would never try and hide it. When I was growing up, I always loved hip-hop, and I especially loved when artists would use one line from another artist's song but in a different way and say something different. Something about that always stuck with me — a way to pay tribute to something that touched you.
WHAT'S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU'VE ENTIRELY IGNORED?
"Have a backup plan in case this music thing doesn't work."
WHAT'S THE WORST TROUBLE YOU'VE ENCOUNTERED WITH YOUR BAND?
We were stuck on a mountain in a snowstorm once while on tour with Left Behind. Being from the east coast, where people use salt, we had never encountered the love of "snow chains" that the West Coast has. We did not possess those. We tried to cut through Lake Tahoe to get through to California and our van made it about halfway up a mountain before it just stopped moving. We waited there for two hours with my foot on the gas to keep us from sliding down backwards until an Uber came and got us, brought us to a gas station, where we spent $300 dollars (because capitalism) on snow tires. We got 'em on the van and drove ourselves up to a safe spot on the mountain. We loaded all the gear into the van to lighten the towing load and then pressed on. Got to the top of the mountain and the snow got even worse. I remember sitting on an 8x10 as our guitar player rode the barricade on the side of the road to make our way down. One thousand foot drop on the other side of the barricade. It took four hours to make it five miles. When we got to the bottom the snow had calmed down a little and so I took over driving. Five minutes into the drive I lost control of the van and hit a giant rock. I still have flashes from that night. I'm stressing myself out just talking about.