Written by: Anastasia Pantsios
Once upon a time, rock & roll was strictly a young man’s game — but that was a very long time ago. These days, a passion for playing has carried musicians through years in which their music has been seasoned, acquiring depth and experience that enriches it.
Ohio’s 6 Turning 4 Burning, who call themselves “Hellraisers from Cleveland, Ohio,” is a relatively new band made up of three musicians seasoned by life and driven by that passion for music. Drummer Jim Dudash and guitarist Doug Bukovac have been crossing paths for years, sometimes playing in bands together, sometimes meeting up at jam nights, playing a wide variety of music including rock, blues, and country.
In recent years, the idea occurred to Jim that maybe they should start a band doing original material, stretching their creative muscles more. “I loved the way Doug played guitar, so we started going to jam nights at some of the local clubs, but we weren’t meeting the right people. No one was working out. Doug said we have to find a bass player who sings and has a PA.” Soon after that, they met a singing bass player named Walter “Wally” Spisak, also at a jam night, but by that time Doug was busy playing in other bands. Wally recalls, “At some point during COVID, the creative spark took off, and Jim and I got together with a number of guitar players, but they couldn’t contribute anything as far as creativity. We knew Doug was the obvious solution.”
Once they’d persuaded Doug that he was their missing piece (“I had to call and beg him,” Jim recalls), the trio began getting together for jam session rehearsals, and, as Wally says, “Things evolved. When things are happening telepathically, it’s a high. It was clear we had something special.”
“To improvise with these two is a joy,” adds Jim.
The songs that emerged, spurred by ideas Wally brought to the sessions, were driven by things he’d experienced and/or observed. One of the most intriguing is “Release Me,” which he says came out of his experience living in a haunted farmhouse. “I lived on a farm that was tremendously haunted,” he says. “‘Release Me’ is about a ghost girl that followed me around. We left the home because there were bad vibes and moved to Cleveland.”
Relocating due to bad vibes also drives “Help Me Through This,” which Wally says is “about leaving a place and coming to the conclusion that this is not the location: I need a more positive place.” And “It’s Over” deals with the cost of drug addiction of “someone you’re close to who can’t break the habit.” There was this riff that needed a story to go along with it. In the song we have a fast passage and a slow, gloomy passage. It
represents the effects of cocaine.” “I did my research without experimentation!” Wally adds, laughing.
The trio started to record at legendary SUMA Recording, crafting fleshed-out tunes from the songs Wally was writing, laying down
rhythm tracks. Finally, they added the guitar and vocals under the guidance of Beau Coup vocalist Frank Amato at his Amalon Recording
Studio, where he produced, mixed, and mastered the record. Frank also contributed harmony vocals, as did his wife Lisa Dillon Amato and Theresa Rose who’s sung with bands such as Wish You Were Here. Michael Tyler provided keyboards and Paul Christensen (formerly with Michael Stanley’s
Resonators) contributed a sax solo on “So Deep.”
Given the musicians’ years of diverse experiences, musical and otherwise, it’s no surprise that the nine tunes which make up their debut album are also diverse, encompassing a host of influences such as metal, Americana, and blues. The album is a musical journey through their lives, bringing
together all their separate strands into one crowning achievement, with more to come.
After a run of shows promoting the album, they’re already looking forward to the next phase.