Hemingray 9 is where my head is at when a cigar box guitar is in my hands. Although H9 is just one of several noms de plume (guerre?) from past voyages into the creative bayous of the mind, it is the one that melds the outsider in me with that which is twang. This voyage, musically speaking, began back in the early 1970s with the bass guitar. This in turn evolved into the 6 string guitar, and then into stringed instruments in general. After much gigging (and garage time!), this foray eventually lead to a disillusionment and a virtual abandonment of the guitar sometime in the mid 1980s. To which I can only cite “nil novi sub sole.”
At this time, among other diversions, I sidestepped into the hobby/business of dealing ancient coins; became a student of the Qabalah; studied tarot symbolism; and had an overall revival of my roots in surrealism via poetry and art. A baroque period followed which saw much soul searching, not to mention the publication of my poetry and art. Then, branching out even further, I delved into the neo dada/mailart scene. In a direct response to this I created the group “Group 362 Dada.” This group was used as a vehicle for my more absurdist output. Since its inception Group 362 has published several zines in the found art and surreal genre and, among other things, was involved in a small way in the fluxus performances of the San Francisco neo dada movement. It has also developed an audio arm under whose auspices I record H9 tunes.
And what of the cigar box guitar? Well, eventually, after much coaxing by a longtime friend and former band mate I began to pick up the guitar again. Although my hands enjoyed playing, my heart remained distant. It seemed to me that there was an ethereal sound hidden somewhere in the wind that I just couldn't quite put my fingers on. Then I came across the cigar box guitar. And after hearing the transcendental twang of a major third on the high string that only the CBG can produce I was hooked. I also discovered that there was a small community of people making haunting noises using just these boxes with sticks and strings. This revelation tied together my love of nonsensical dada and futurist noise (see Schwitters & Marinetti!) with the moving melodies of guitar (see The Ventures & Robert Johnson! ).
So, please check out my first release "Snakes 'n' Turpentine" and the latest “Cactus Fiend.” Both are mash-ups of the sounds in my head, located somewhere between the South Pacific and the Southland, the lo-fi and homemade, and the “subtle and the gross,” all channeled through various wires and wood.
hope you enjoy!