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Rising Stars: Meet Ghosts on the Wall

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ghosts on the Wall. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Ghosts on the Wall is an Indie Rock band from the Canton area of Baltimore, MD. The group began as a solo project by Johnny Burke in January 2017. Johnny was a staple in the Fells Point music scene for years playing lead and rhythm guitar for bands such as Invisible Republic, The Reverend Jack Starr Band, and The Mayan Factor. After tragically losing two key bandmates in his main projects, Johnny took some time off but slowly developed songs for what would become Ghosts on the Wall. He saw this band as a way to put out his own material and bring together friends and bandmates he enjoyed playing with over the years.  The current lineup consists of Johnny Burke on lead vocals and guitar, Kevin Riordan on bass and Kevin Messercola on drums.

The name “Ghosts on the Wall” came about while working on material for their debut EP; Johnny and his wife Kara’s newborn son Little J would be fixated on this one spot on the wall in their Canton home. This phenomenon extended to their family dog Jenny as she would also stare at this same spot on the wall. While Johnny was plucking the guitar one day in their living room, Kara jokingly suggested the name, and it stuck. Considering Baltimore’s rich history and its fair share of ghost stories, it seemed a perfect fit.

The sound of Ghosts on the Wall can be described as guitar-driven Indie Rock with Blues, Classic Rock, and Country elements. Johnny maintains that the band’s influences include the likes of Bob Dylan, Dire Straits, Pink Floyd, and Eddie Money. Ghosts released their first single, Way too Far, on their own label KB Productions in the spring of 2017 to positive reviews. That same year in the fall, the band released their first EP, Intelligent Fool, to a packed house at the Fishhead Cantina in Baltimore. Currently, they are developing their 3rd release in their studio while occasionally playing a local live show. They pride themselves on being able to rock a 4 hour set of covers ranging from Classic Rock to Country or delivering an hour set of original music that will leave crowds wanting more!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Getting any band off the ground is almost impossible, and the older you get, the harder it becomes. Throw Covid in the mix, and you are lucky if you ever get the chance to play live again or release any material; being able to do those two things alone is a win. I feel very fortunate that when the dust settled after Covid, I had bandmates ready to get back to work. The musicians in my circle are extremely good at what they do. I am lucky to not have to find people I do not know or audition people. Over the years, the relationships I have formed with musicians have allowed me the opportunity to continue pursuing music. It is still extremely hard though. We have to fight to get on shows and into venues, the market is extremely competitive. There is so much great talent, particularly in this area. We also have to fight to get people in the crowds and get our music heard. But the fact that we are doing it is what matters the most. The fact that some people like what we are doing makes me feel good. I am blessed to be able to make music with people I truly care about.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
What sets us apart from others is how we craft our songs. So many bands write great songs, and we give all respect, but in our little bubble, songwriting takes absolute priority. If it doesn’t hit us the way it needs to, we will work at it until it reaches the point where we are excited to play it. That goes for every song. We do not have throwaway tunes or time fillers. We like to ensure that every song is given complete priority until it is finished, which it rarely is.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
I define success as being happy at what you do. Each member has a career or profession outside of music that allows us to play music. I am a teacher by day, which allows me to focus on music and live shows during the nights, weekends and summer months. We are responsible individuals careers-wise, but we have spent years honing our craft as musicians. It is not a weekend thing for us but a lifestyle thing. Music is a part of what we do. The reality is that music does not pay what it used to, including live shows. So we have to supplement and hope for something to break one day. If it doesn’t, we are okay plugging away and will continue putting out the best possible music we can.


  • $500-$2000

Contact Info:

Image Credits
All images and information is owned by myself, Johnny Burke.

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