GuitArt Webzine
 ver. 1.0
 [Spring 2001]

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N-E-W  INTERVIEW for Guit-Artists!
GuitArtists
     Welcome to Guit-Art Webzine (G.A.W.).  G.A.W. is being written to
occupy a void which I perceive as existing in music journalism.  Although
there is no such thing as a truly empty void, the vast majority of *known*
music journalism and discourse is about music which is commercially
important.  Here, we will make a concerted effort to point our readers
toward music they may be unaware of – toward things that they’ve heard
whispered about, but don’t know where to look in order to find some to
sample.
    We will be doing what we can to generate sales for/channel some funds
in the direction of those whom we discuss and spotlight from issue to
issue.  Why?  Because the music and the musicians matter and I, for one,
want to be able to hear more of it and them.
    During the 1980's, I wrote and reviewed for such seminal independent
music magazines as Op, Sound Choice, Option and others. One thing stood out
then and now: there has always been very little dialogue and discourse
about non-traditional players of the guitar and guitar-like instruments; in
particular, those who have been relatively shunned by the commercial
feedbag, by virtue of their having consciously evolved into highly stylized
and idiosyncratic sound artists whose music exists within undefinable,
experimental, or improvisational contexts.  Not much “dancefloor chic”
here.
     Even for those of us who aggressively network, perform, and document
our *Guit-Art* and actively seek dialogue with kindred spirits, it has been
and continues to be a long row to hoe to find any consistent forum for
discussion, sharing, and supportive interdependence.  Here, we hope to
connect people in ways which can permit more paid performance, product
sales, and enjoyable collaboration.
    I have worked and recorded as a guitarist - utilizing extended and
unorthodox techniques, physically-modified guitars, and self-designed
guitar-like instruments - for over twenty years.  During this time, as I
have grown and developed away from influences and into a color-field of my
own making, I have actively sought to find and hear the work of  similar
players.  By this, I mean players who were immediately recognizable
referents, rather than clever copies of extant, popular styles.
 
     Early on, as a fledgling guitarist in my teens & twenties, I enjoyed
Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Terry Kath, Steve Hillage, Steve Tibbetts,
Daevid Allen, Albert Lee, Amos Garrett, Clarence White, Brian Jones, J.J.
Cale, Neil Young, Adrian Belew, David Torn, Allen Holdsworth, Larry
Coryell, Robert Fripp, Richard Lloyd, Jeff Beck, Robbie Robertson, Phil
Manzanera, Robert Quine, Jody Harris, Lou Reed, Steve Howe, Glenn Phillips,
and other players who stretched the boundaries of Rock-and-Roll as I knew
it.
    Having grown up on 60’s Pop and 70’s Rock (Beatles/ Kinks/Stones/
Who/The Mothers of Invention/Grateful Dead/Them/Boxtops/Procul
Harem/Yardbirds/etc), I was first attracted to players who stood out, in
some way, from the fray.  Unique tone, *passion*, and attack probably
snagged me initially.  The whole idea of a ‘guitar solo’ was an awakening
and a challenge.
     During the 80's and 90’s, I became increasingly familiar with and fond
of the work of Derek Bailey, Loren Mazzacane, Fred Frith, Hans Reichel,
Eugene Chadbourne, Nick Didkovsky, John Fahey, Glenn Branca/Sonic
Youth/Rhys Chatham, Richard Thompson, Dot & Betty Wiggin, Ennio Morricone’s
guitarists, Robbie Basho, “Snakefinger” Lithman, the many Magic Band
guitarists, Davey Williams, Rene Lussier, Greg Ginn, Chip Handy, Arto
Lindsay, Col. Bruce Hampton, Henry Kaiser, Mark Ribot, and other
noise/fusion players who stretched the boundaries of what music could be.
     Through discovering these players, I found myself seeking out their
mentors and influences.  Here, I discovered the work of such composers as
Ives, Cowell, Nancarrow, Partch, and Mingus.  >From reading essays and
biographies of these men, I was sent back to obscure ethnic music; in
particular, those of the Asia and Indonesia. .  Interestingly, the deep
roots often pointed directly back at *groundbreaking* contemporary music.
Living in South Korea for four years deeply impacted on my scalar
sensibilities, how I hear melody, and what can constitute a coherent rhythm
within a composition.
    Simultaneously, I was delving deeply into Delta and Country Blues and
grasping what I could about the origins of guitar-style from their
available recordings.  Sleepy John Estes, Lightnin’ Hopkins, John Lee
Hooker, Son House, Robert Johnson, Leadbelly, Big Joe Williams, Petey
Wheatstraw, Howling Wolf & Hubert Sumlin, and many others found their way
into the growing pantheon of players who fit into the huge scheme of
guitar-music as I knew it.
    I began to create and trace *lineages* – making mental notes of what
was copped from whom, and who may have influenced who.  It is an enjoyable
game I continue to play.  For example, I find a *musical genealogy*
connecting Rock guitar progenitors such as Scotty Moore/James Burton/Duane
Eddy/Link Wray with contemporary players, such as Robert Quine/Mark Ribot
(who incorporate many brilliantly deconstructed classic riffs into their
unique stylings) fairly easy to defend.
 
    “Who the heck are you, anyway?”, is a reasonable question which may
form on your lips.  After all, Bret Hart hasn’t ever been featured in
Rolling Stone or The Wire.  Nor will you find a lot of advertising in
popular music media documenting and promulgating the existence of my music
and I.  I’ve never been signed to a major label, and those brave labels who
have taken stewardship of some of my recordings have been small, homespun
operations with little more capital than I myself have.
    I have, been a published writer/reviewer for twenty-four years (The
Racquette, Stella, Op, Option, Sound Choice, OINK!, Gajoob, The Neely
Chronicle,Improvijazzation Nation, Eden’s Own, etc.), have listened to and
written about hundreds of independently produced music releases, and have
self-released 146 cassette albums on my three pre-CD labels (Kamsa Tapes,
O-Right Records, and HipWorks Productions).  I now run a small CD label
(InstrumenTales Records) which offers a wide range of what I consider to be
interesting music from both New England and North Carolina.  Our DUETS
series features collaborations with talented improvisors from all points.
    I’ve been performing and recording original music consistently since
1976 and have formed/been a member of all manner of strange
sonic-groupings, improvisational collectives, artist’s co-ops, and
performance organizations wherever I have resided. My paintings, sculpture,
and books have been shown in group and one-man shows; such as the New
England Open, the Heywood Gallery, The Abattoir, and The Music Connection.
    Through the generous support of Dick Metcalf's Improvijazzation Nation,
as an adjunct, this webzine is allowed to exist.  Thank you.
                                                                   - Bret Hart
                                                                    5/20/2001
GuitArt
 seeks musings, articles, memories, candid views, reviews of
  extant/new recorded works, interviews, discographies, relevant
 links.  GuitArt will *upgrade itself* when received submissions
 warrant.  Ideally, GuitArt will be published quarterly.
There you go.
 Your humble editor's speil and invitation.
 Send your MS Word (.doc) or plain text (.txt) submissions to:
hipworks@mindspring.com 
 with "GuitArt Submission" on the subject line.
 Thank you, in advance, for your interest and participation.
 
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