The Sinister Six (USA)
James Burdyshaw (aka Brother James) was already a fixture in the Seattle music scene by the time the Sinister Six got underway in 1992.
He had been involved with the mid-'80s trio 64 Spiders, the late-'80s Subpop group Catbutt with members of the U-Men and Girl Trouble, as well as the short-lived, early-'90s garage outfit Yummy.
Brother James founded the Sinister Six with vocalist Doug White, bassist Mark Ferkingstad, and drummer Erik Hildahl. Together the new quartet found themselves under the influence of various garage band luminaries -- the most mentionable being The Sonics, who'd preceded the Sinister Six by three decades on the Northwest scene. Drawing their name from The Amazing Spider-Man comics, the band's first release, the single 'Go Away/Keep My Cool', appeared in October of 1992 on friend Blake Wright's Empty Records label. The imprint was known for championing Northwest punk rock, and their roster included bands such as Dead Moon and Gas Huffer. 1,600 copies of the debut were printed up and showcased a hard garage rock style intertwined with a handful of blues elements. Brother James had released records with Blake Wright on prior occasions (Catbutt and Yummy released 7"s).
The Sinister Six followed this effort with another single, titled 'Pain in My Head/I Can Only Give You Everything', for Get Hip Records in 1993. The group also visited Seattle's Egg Studios, where they recorded their full-length debut album Outta Sight. Famed underground recording engineer Conrad Uno, known for his work with such acts as Mudhoney and the Posies, was involved with the record along with producer Tom Price, the veteran guitar player of the U-Men, and the Monkeywrench. The Sinister Six had a long-standing relationship with the two gentlemen, especially with Price, with whom Brother James had worked in Catbutt. Empty released Outta Sight! on September 14, 1993. Independent label Bag of Hammers released a single from the full-length dubbed 'Out of My Way/Deloused'. The following year, the Sinister Six produced their second full-length record for Empty. The album, titled Nobody Rides for Free, was released in May 1994. The recording included material from the Puget Power IV compilation, as well as the track "Keep My Cool". Nobody Rides for Free was followed by a large-scale European tour that summer in order to promote the album.
The Sinister Six reconvened with a re-tuned lineup. Doug White and Brother James were still in the band adding new bassist Erik Stockinger and new drummer Erik Peterson. The group recorded their third full-length record Sinisteria! in the summer of 1997 and remained true to the original intentions of the band's sound. The revised lineup cut one more single, 'Unlucky/Status', for Get Hip before splitting up a short time later.
Twenty years later, Doug, Brother James & Erik Stockinger are back with new drummer Jeffrey Warden playing shows in 2017 on the West Coast!
(Photo: Jim Tillman)