It Has To Be That Way



The Final Six and the Sevens Show Ever
August 11, 2018
Bennyfit 7
New Dodge Lounge
Hamtramck, MI


As Loud As We Could
Six and the Sevens (2011-2018)

The first Bennyfit took place on May 7, 2011 at the New Dodge Lounge in Hamtramck. Reeling from the recent death of bandmate Ben Borowiak, the incredible evening featured found a packed house of friends, family and bandmates enjoying sets from Ben bands, including a stripped-down Press Club (featuring Chris Brosky and Joseph Karam) and an evening-ending set by Spitting Nickels (John Bissa, Chris Brosky, Jamie Gawecki, Dennis Miriani and Eddie Baranek [on Hammond organ])—along with dozens of others who crashed the stage to close out the show. Every indication was that this was the last we’d see of these bands.

But Lorenzo DeLuna was in the audience that night. A triple-threat musician, he took one look at the Hammond and knew he had to have a piece of it. By August of 2011, John, Jamie, Joe, Dennis, Lawrence (and Lawrence’s friend, wunderkind guitarist Mike O’Brien) were jamming on a regular basis, leading to the first Six and the Sevens’ gig at the New Way Bar in December 2011.

Dennis moved on to other responsibilities before too long (a recurring theme for the fifth and six members of the band), but 2012 brought lots of gigging and Six and the Sevens’ breakout record, “Songs About Girls.” The record, a diverse collection of previously-unfinished Spitting Nickels’ ideas, McCarter/O’Brien soundscapes and Karam chord ménages, features cover portraits of happy volunteers taken at 2012’s Dally in the Alley.

As was so often the case, changes were around the corner. Lawrence and Mike announced their departure from the band. Fortunately, Chris Brosky wanted back in, and the Press Club/Spitting Nickels DNA (Bissa, Brosky, Gawecki and Karam) began to reemerge.
Early 2013 found the band in an almost-comical search for a fifth member. One memorable gig at The Ritz featured a keyboard player that didn’t know any of the songs, a one-armed Joe (the other was in a cast) and Joe’s brother, Mark Karam, in an early appearance as a sixth Six and the Seven. If you’re counting, that’s zero keyboard players and approximately 2.5 guitar players.

But it turned out for the best. By mid-July, uber-blues guitarist Carlton Washington and aux percussionist/third vocalist Stephen Yagley joined the band and its second record “Not What Ships Are For” was released by the end of the year. With six standout tracks (“Round and Round,” “Now Fall,” “Green,” “As Loud As We Can,” “Drawn Onward,” and “To Find A Way”) NWSAF was a more focused effort that harkened to the band’s blues-rock roots and foreshadowed its power-pop future.

Inevitably, the record release brought a lineup change. Washington and Yagley moved on and original Spitting Nickel Bruce Farrell joined in the fun. He was that perfect last ingredient that made the whole soup come together. Six and the Sevens now had a classic rock and roll roster (Bissa/bass, Brosky/guitar, Farrell/guitar, Gawecki/drums and Karam/keys) with strong three-part vocals from Brosky, Farrell and Karam. The band’s first appearance at a Detroit x Detroit (in 2014, as The Knack) cemented the lineup and a musical direction that fully embraced mastery of three-minute power pop songs and left blues-rock behind.

The next two years brought six new recorded songs (the 2016 maxi-EP “It Has To Be That Way”) as longtime producer Jim Diamond decamped to France and the band began to work with Zach Shipps. IHTBTW is the band’s tightest record, with highly-tuned songs and crisp production.

The band is extremely proud of the 29 songs on the three records released in those four years. Certainly, it’s a recorded output unequalled by a local Detroit band in the same timeframe. The band is equally proud of a track record of participation in Detroit’s live music scene. They appeared at in four Detroit X Detroits (as The Knack, Edwin Starr, Was Not Was, and the Romantics); four Races for the Cure; two Loving Touch tribute nights (as Led Zeppelin and Talking Heads), most Hamtramck Music Fests, two Hamtramck Labor Day Festivals, two Dally in the Alleys, one Brochella, several DIYs and Pig and Whiskeys, Opening Day, every Bennyfit—and had a regular slot at the Cadieux Café for Thanksgiving Eve. Many great local musicians joined Six and the Sevens in the studio and many more joined on stage as backing vocalists, horn sections and on harmonica. Special recognition to Mark Karam, who played guitar (and bass) in way more than a handful of shows and delivered a big smile and extra sizzle every time he joined the band.
Six and the Sevens began to slow musically in 2017. Three new spouses, three new kids and massively increased work responsibilities made finding time to make music a greater challenge. Finally, after an appearance at 2017’s DIYFest, the band resigned itself to the inevitable.

Six and the Sevens are absolutely thrilled to be playing once again and for the final time on August 11, 2018 at the final Bennyfit (returning to its original home, the New Dodge). The first rehearsals immediately reminded the band why they poured so much into this project for six-seven years. There is a lot of magic in these songs, these performances and the friendships that were made through the years.

Thanks for sharing the magic with Six and the Sevens.

Six and the Sevens
John Bissa, Chris Brosky, Bruce Farrell, Jamie Gawecki and Joseph Karam.

Emeritus Six and the Sevens
Mark Karam, Lawrence McCarter, Mike O’Brien, LeeAnn Smith, Carlton Washington and Steve Yagley.

Eric Abbey, Jeremy Abbey, Ed Baranek, Eddie Baranek, Jarrod Champion, Tony DeNardo, Skip Denomme, Jim Diamond, Matt Doppel, Steve Gamalski, Chelsea Giannetti, Julia Hickling, Bill James, Kristin M Karam, Jennie Knaggs, Charlie Miller, Dennis Miriani, Chrissy Morgan, Tony Paris, Roderick Jones, Mike Pascaretti, Zach Shipps, Bradley Stern, Doug Thomson, Justin Walker and members of the Miller Lite Shaker Can and Uranium Clock Bucket Drum Orchestras everywhere.