Ghosts' Pettigrew gets new lease of life

By Victoria Barker

FOUR years ago, British musician Simon Pettigrew was on top of the world.

His indie-rock outfit, Ghosts, had made it to BBC's Sound Of 2007 list, which ranks the top 10 acts to look out for every year. But a legal tussle with their record company, Atlantic Records, meant Ghosts' success was short-lived.

The quartet were forced to stop making music for the next two years, and soon dropped off the radar. Speaking to my paper from Phuket where he was on an "extended holiday", Pettigrew, 31, said the legal battle left him at the lowest point of his life.

"It was the most frustrating and depressing experience," he said with a sigh.

"We started writing songs but it was never quite right... I'd even lost the child-like joy of going to see a band and getting carried away."

But all that changed after a trip to Singapore last month.

Here to visit his younger brother, model-host Oli Pettigrew, the guy, who was born in Hong Kong before moving to a London suburb at age seven, ended up making his first stage debut in almost two years at live-music venue TAB.

"We were there for somebody's birthday and a Ghosts song came on... I thought it had been set up. Then, someone suggested I play a few songs," he recalled with a laugh.

"(Performing) is kind of like riding a bike. It all felt very natural and it reinvigorated my enthusiasm for playing," he added.

The experience also resulted in Pettigrew scoring a five-night residency at the venue. He will play a mix of songs from Ghosts' 2007 album The World Is Outside, covers and new material there from tonight to Saturday.

And fans of Ghosts will be glad to know that Pettigrew and a couple of his former bandmates, drummer Jonny Harris and bassist Robbie Smith, are keen to give it another shot.

"We feel like we've got a fresh purpose," Pettigrew revealed.

Though there is no timeline for its release, the guys have been writing songs for a new album.

"We also don't feel the first album got a fair run in many parts of the world, so we might promote that one as well," he said.

"Or, we can just combine the two and make some kind of freakishly good super album."

Catch Simon Pettigrew at TAB at Orchard Hotel's Galleria from tonight to Saturday at 9pm and 11pm.
Admission is free.


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