Bio

 

Ahh, when did it all begin?  Couldn't one argue that the discovery of fire, the perfection of metallurgy, the creation of the twelve note scale all led to the invention of the electric guitar and the sound discovered by Jimi?  One might imagine that the entire course of evolution has been aimed at the creation of the Hellboys.

In the latter part of the last century, an idea (Guitar Craft) was downloaded to Robert Fripp.  This was before download became a normal way of conversing and thinking, ahh, but we digress.

Robert's inspiration arrived in my span of attention through my wondrous wife who told me that I was going to play guitar with Robert Fripp.  Having been a King Crimson fan since the early days, my response was "Yeah, right."

At my first Guitar Craft course in September 1985, my roommate Harald Rey discovered a guitar chord which evolved from the discovery of fire, the perfection of metallurgy, the creation of the twelve note scale and the development of a new standard tuning for guitar.  This chord was so different, so odd and so powerful that a tune was built around the chord as supporting the musical architecture (you getting this?).  The tune was christened the "Chord from Hell."

Early in 1986, I attended my second Guitar Craft course in Charles Town, West Virginia.  During the course, a trio was formed to play live music at the Iron Rail Bar in town.  Actually, a course challenge was given, "We have a gig and you, the students, will be performing new music at the Iron Rail and the patrons may even turn off the televisions, but maybe not, (etc., etc.)."

I introduced the "Chord from Hell" to the other two guys, Dieon and (very regrettably, I cannot recall the name of the other player, now have we seen him since the performance 22 years ago.)

In the Iron Rail green room, we could hear lots of audience noise, booing, hissing, and an odd ping once in a while that we later found out was peanuts being thrown (in time) at the performers and their guitars.  There were also rumors of shoes flying as well.  As this was going on, the other two members of what would become the inaugural performance of the Hellboys, decided that they would not perform tonight.  They were frightened, as was I.  They were frightened of primarily one factor - Robert Fripp was in the audience and, as the leader of the hecklers, was practicing audience obnoxiousness.  Another factor contributing to our fear was the tune itself - 1:06 minute(s) of just a weird tune.

Inspiration downloaded and the Hellboys got a pep talk - "Listen guys, I'm going on with or without you.  I know why you're scared - the audience, our skills as guitarists, and the tune itself.  Well, let me remind you that the key troublemaker in the audience wrote '21st Century Schizoid Man'.  Do you really think that anything we plan can surprise him?"  At that, they both turned to me and said, "You're right.  We're going on."

We walked on to some expected noise from the audience, announced the tune "Chord from Hell", and found the audience somewhat interested and sitting in their seats as we began the tune.  The tune had enough changes in it to keep the audience interested, and as we hit the last chord (the "Chord from Hell") simultaneously with some previously rehearsed choreography, the audience as one jumped to its feet and a rousing standing ovation ensued.  I looked over to see Robert standing, clapping wildly, and cheering.  My mind went to a new place: "Holy shit, we just got a standing ovation from Robert Fripp!"  Thus my life was changed at that moment; this was the moment of the creation of the Hellboys.

The following morning at the first meeting, Robert asked "Who is responsible for the Chord from Hell?"  I thought, "Oh, great, we're going to be thrown out of the course", so I responded, "There were three of us."  "I have a prize," he said as he pulled out a record album titled "The Great Big World of Noise and Shit" and proceeded to attempt to break it into three parts.  We pleaded with him not to break it and he complied.  Thus my life is changed again; not only did we get a standing ovation but today we won a prize as well.

Non-stop since that moment in the latter part of the last century, the creative process of music and performance has occupied the Hellboys.