Henry Kaiser began playing guitar the year I was born, and yet in 2012 we find ourselves together enrolled in the clip happy, diaphragm-collapsing, speaker-busting curriculum of Nikola Tesla High School. German luthier Ulrich Teuffel’s extraordinary Tesla guitars (which, in form and function, pay homage to electric pioneers Leo Fender and Mr. Tesla) provide the glue. Henry and I have had quite a lightning ride in the past decade with our Teslas; bringing them together might be a world first and is certainly a highlight in my path.
I was instantly struck, listening side by side, at how similar, how simpatico, our Teslas are. I was afraid to admit I’d only changed on mine two of the strings in ten years, and those because they broke. Henry relayed something to the same effect about his seven-string. Instant bond.
In preparation for this recording, we played a downtown Santa Cruz gig for a free-spirited contact yoga class. Classic California. Even in warm-up mode, it was infinite possibility, the chance to make audible pure potential for deep exploration, mining our histories, our present, and creating a more positively energetic future.
The music sequence alternating amplified and unamplified sounds shows how detailed and nuanced the Teslas are across all dynamic extremes, across physical and emotional yowls. Electricity of the utility company kind was a constant, but more excitingly, our internal combustion kept the coils buzzing.
I hear surprises and comfortable structure in equal measure on this recording. Insects, swimming, the history of guitar vocabulary, fun, calisthenics, Tron, a dash of controlled chaos, hints at our influences, and what seem to me until-now-unheard combinations. Henry is a very generous creative partner and it was so easy to transcend the mundane with his support.
We’re from different backgrounds and a generation removed. These distinctions are unimportant to our goal, however: rise way, high above and beyond, infusing the halls of our alternate educational housing with the sounds of excitement, joy, and nothing less. My younger self would have dug this school, and thankfully I can share it with him, and you. Thanks for listening.
Peace and Love,
Henry Kaiser- six & seven-string Teuffel Tesla electric guitars with a hint of Niwa
Killick Hinds- quartertone seven-string Teuffel Tesla electric guitar
Recorded May 30th, 2012 at Wise Acres, Bonny Doon CA by Sandor Nagyszalanczy
Mixed and mastered by Killick Hinds at H(i)nds(i)ght Studios; track order & Lamarck/question mark comps by Henry Kaiser
Design by Killick Hinds; modern day photo by Delene Porter
special thanks to Suzy Norris & Fred Carlson