1. Nov '96 - Al. Morselette and The Hens? "We're like this!"
2. Dec '96 - Holiday Poem #1 - Carting Royalties to the Bank
3. Jan '97 - Hanks Possible Texas Bound!
4. Jan '97 - Shovelling Money
5. Jan '97 - A Massive Injection of Digital Steroids
6. Feb '97 - The Bucolic Sonic Sauna
7. Feb '97 - Down in The Hammer at a Mob Club
8. Mar '97 - Our List of Great Band Names Going to Texas
9. Mar '97 - We Git Real Famous At SXSW '97
10. Mar '97 - Janet Reno V. The Hanks
11. Apr '97 - One Busy Hawaiian Groove Band
12. May '97 - Slimy Two-Faced Yankee No-Counts
13. May '97 - Head Henrys Honcho Gets a Muzzle!
14. June '97 - HenReaders Write Back
15. Sept '97 - Not Much New at Hencorp...Again
16. Oct '97 - One Henry et famille Hits Pennsylvania
17. Nov '97 - The Turnip Truck - Those Other Henrys
18. Dec. '97 - Hencorp Gets Into The Holiday Spirit(s)
19. Feb. '98 - Beck, Morphine, Sheryl Crow and ... The Henrys?
20. March '98 - Hibernatin' Hens
21. April '98 - Memphis Hens R.I.P.
22. Hencorp Gone Bozo
The letters, in reverse:
Hencorp Gone Bozo
July 5, 98
From the Head Offices of Hencorp, Marketing 101 (as in, How Not...) "If A CD is Released In the Forest..." How do you release a record when you're not actually releasing a record? When you don't have distribution in Canada, and you don't have it in the U.S.? If we were to go out today and hustle up some reviews and a few people actually got interested in our product, then those people might end up looking all over the place and they wouldn't find the darn thing anywhere and there'd be a palpable Henfan backlash and we'd be net losers. How smart is that? So this time, instead of doing the full-bore press blitz that's generally expected of us, we're thinking about trying on a little number called the Anti-Campaign. (Thereby leaving open the possibility that we can arrange distribution by the end of the summer.)
This time it's The Trickle, the lengthy Pre-Release. No mailouts with big H medallions or CDs buried in dirt or free chocolate bars or any of that funny marketing stuff. A CD release party? Not on your life. It's too much from the old Me Me Me school. (We like the CD release gigs where the band didn't quite get its product manufactured in time.) So what we've decided is this: we'll sneak out a few advance copies as if we were dealing in tickets for some secret Prince gig at the ElMo, like some insider thing. And give away a couple too (see below!), testing the waters with one toe. At some point, if it's warm, maybe place a classified ad in the Georgia Straight, or do an appearance on Vicki Gabereau's (sp) TV show. Low-key. After Vicki maybe then it starts heatin' up a tad? So we throw a coupla hundred thou (pennies) into a mid-level "release" in the fall, when the kids are back in school. Perhaps we go straight to MTV, straight at the bass and drum scene, straight at Jann Arden or Tricky.
Not yet though. For now it's a waiting game. "Let the Henlistees decide for you," the marketing consultants say. "Let them judge." On that basis, here's what we propose, dearest Henlistee: Five (5) people who correctly answer the following skill(?)-testing question will each get one new CD by The Henrys sent straight to their abode (one per abode), free of charge. Anyone else on this list of loyalists who wants the CD (called "Desert Cure", by the way) gets one copy POSTAGE INCLUDED for a One-Time-Hencorp-Gone-Crazy fee of $9. That offer expires at the end of July. Have we gone NUTS???? (Ensuing copies revert back to the old pail-of-icewater-in-the-face price of $15 plus $2 postage.)
Brace yourselves, here comes The Question: What team is going to win the World Cup? (Okay, like we said above, "skill" ain't necessarily part of this equation.) Now, if you were to say, for instance, that Brazil was gonna win, and there were 30 of you who did, and Brazil won, they we'd have to hold a draw to find 5 lucky winners. So it could be argued that you might want to - just a suggestion - go with Croatia, and be part of a smaller scene. (What do we know?) Entries must be e-marked by noon on Tuesday. Winners will be announced soon after the 12th, we hope. (The only thing is, Hencorp will be closed July 12-19, but we'll try to get our email *non situ* and announce the names of the winning entries during that week.) Good luck, y'all! We'll get back atcha with the results just ASAP! And once you've heard the CD, please hit Hencorp with your savvy marketing concepts for that big autumnal campaign.
A tidbit from the Hencorp Inbox:
>to the henrys,
>my name is jordan r*** and i am the fomer webmaster and editor and chief
>of the memphis henrys's newsletter. first off, i would like to inform
>you that the memphis henrys have broken up, so more power to you. (i got
>into a tussle with them a while back). anyway, i own the domain
>the-henrys.com and i used to own henrys.com until i sold it to henrys
>photo in toronto. since the memphis henrys are no longer around and i am
>under no obligation to keep the domain, i would be willing to sell it to
>you. if you are interested, email me a bid that you could afford. as i
>am in this to make money, i ask that you be fair. i sold henrys.com for
>US$1400, but i know that they are a business, and others might not be
>able to afford that amount. i would also be willing to do websight
>design for you if you needed it. --------------------
Dear Jordan, Tussles 'R' Us! Maybe we can work together! (And I like the fact that you're in this to make money. That's one of the parts we're not proving expert at.) Being an editor AND a chief, I hope you don't find this insulting or anything, but you did say "a bid that we could afford." We were thinking...would you consider takin' $8 CDN for that domain name? We don't really have a budget right now for domain names, but if we were to take a deuce off everybody's pay at our next gig (that is, if we don't get fired, like we did in Hamilton on our last gig, fer bein' too weird - the gig being in Steeltown and all, where they like their geetars twangy)... anyhoo! then we surviving Toronto Hens will cough up the 8 and send it to you in the mail. Please advise re acceptability. Regarding the design of our webpage, we'll try not to take that to heart. We kinda thought it was halfways designed already(!) Talk soon!
A quick reminder, Henloyalists, that we'll be at the Oasis next Thursday April 16, on College just west of Spadina on the north side, starting c. 9:45. Hope to see a few of you there. Yours, The Former Toronto Henrys, now, once again: THE HENRYS(.com?) Happy Easter http://www.irus.rri.uwo.ca/~henry/
This month The Henrys will surely re-emerge, Phoenix-like, onto the world stage. Or perhaps ... might it be more apropos to conjure the image of four grizzly bears with studio tans, pawing around after a recording session, headphones dangling, blinded by the light but still out there getting their first taste of (nightclub) air since the fall? Well, no matter how you slice it, if you venture down Hamilton way on March 27th or 28th and stumble into a club called Mumbo Jumbo, there we'll be, giggin'. Big time! (What exactly IS it with Hamilton? We've been there for non-musical reasons about zero times in the last 25 years, but we do more gigs in The Hammer than Junkhouse.) Email us if you want directions. If you're coming from Europe, the best thing is to fly into Pearson and rent a car from there. HOWEVER, if you place yourself more in the Torontoboundhipster camp, perchance you would prefer a venue such as the Oasis Room on April 16? Can ya make it? For an intimate Thursday night concert-style setting on trendy College near Spadina? Keep in mind the Hens haven't done a gig in eons, we miss you, and we have TONS of new songs. And while we've got you on the line, stay tuned for a pending date at Holy Joe's, which is further downtown, possibly on Wellington. (Criticized in the past for our rude attitude toward Americans, we hope you Yanks are appreciating the new-agey kinda vibe flavo(u)ring this current posting. Galldarnit we love everyone - always did.) Watch out for our new CD this summer, coming to a record store near you. Unless, of course, you live in a place like North America, where huntin' down the CD gets a tad more complicated. It might not be super-commercial music, but wouldn't it be nice if this new CD by The Henrys could win us just *one* of those little ole Blockbuster Awards, like Garth and Nick Cage and Will Smith did the other night? Even though that must be THE HURTIN'EST idea for an awards show the Yanks have EVER - woops!! - anybody on the planet has thought of yet, we'd take one to the podium just as sure as bears come out of their caves come springtime. Your faithful servants, The Hanks.
Beck, Morphine, Sheryl Crow and ... The Henrys?
Q: What do Beck, Morphine, Pavement, The Eels, Sheryl Crow, G-Love, Nick Cave, Radiohead and The Henrys have in common?
A: Well, if you said "Nothing", we'd have to agree, BUT YOU'D STILL GET A WRONG ANSWER! It seems BMG and Musik Express Magazine in Germany are putting out a compilation CD which includes all of the above artistes (plus about 20 other bands, but we don't care about them). They say it will sell 30,000 copies. That's 30,000 Swiss, Austrians and Germans trying to figure out who in the hell Sweet Daddy Siki is. (For those of you who don't know, he lives in Toronto and was a wrestler in the '50s and '60s. Later he got a band going. We named a song after him.)
Last week we spent 5 days in the studio, which represents about 90% of the recording for our new CD. There's organ on it and everything. The studio was pretty good - a bit primitive maybe, what with the woodstove and all, and the strategically placed pails catching drops of El Nino rain as it came through the ceiling. We had some problems with microphone leakage, but as someone pointed out, the greater leaks came from the up above. >From such adversity must surely come an intangible that you don't get in those snazzy LA studios with their fabulous walls and roofs.
We'll be chipping away at the record leisurely over the next little while. Maybe one day we'll put a couple of bars of shaker on a track, take lunch, have a siesta, then check out the morning's effort over a microbrew. Perhaps at that point we'll elect to reconvene a few days or a week later. You know, nothing too frantic.
We're also slowly revamping the website, so if you're out surfing over the next few months, drop in and see the new paint job as it gets applied.
Hope you're all well.
From the Offices High Above Hencorp,
Your friends The (Toronto) Henrys
December 14, 1997
Hencorp Gets Into The Holiday Spirit(s)
A Message from Hencorp
As the holiday season draws ever near
The Henrys can get maudlin, nostalgic - even dear,
In our Yuletide missive of rhyme at random,
We like to applaud the applauders: We thank our fandom
This year it's your invaluable support that we toast
More worthy than Celine's $8 Mill home off the coast,
You've stuck with us through thick and thin
Top of the charts, deletes, and back agin
We're not here to say we're cool
We're just thankful, that's our tool
Sure we could carry on and regale ya
Of indulgence, arrests and backstage saturnalia
Eatin' like Meatloaf, drinkin' beer till we're portly,
But the truth is, over single malt Monte turned 40
So herein we'll avoid the rock and roll myth
It's boring, we've been there, and it's lacking in pith
We do the gigs, we pocket the cash
We pay each bill and take out the trash
And the thing about gigs is, when you got 'em, you got 'em
We were hot in the spring and cooler in autumn
Remember that festival run, culminatin' in Texas?
What an opportunity that was! A schmoozing nexus
Okay, it's true, the gigs did tail off last autumn
But so did U2's and that didn't rot 'em!
It's show biz and you have to roll with the punches,
Take public transit and pack your own lunches
Is this less than you require from your popular icons -
A too-brutal portrait of middle-class siphons
You want your Hawaiians down from the 'hood
Cooler than Toronto's Sook-Yin Lee or Dallas Good?
You need something hipper, right? Cutting edge, tribal?
Kay! How 'bout some vintage Hencorp libel:
(Sung to the tune "Wouldn't it be Loverly?" from My Fair Lady)
We hate you Jersey jerks and we don't careYou sold our discs and kept the money there,Weasels, slimeballs, lowlife Yanks!Oh wooooooooouldn't it be loverly....
And as for you Memphis Hens you took our nameTypical Americans you ducked the blameFinger-pointers, obfuscators, Damien's friendsOh wooooooooouldn't it be loverly....But of course we're above that - we're only kidding!
At holiday time it's love that we're bidding
MikeDaveMonte'n'Don, why, we ain't needy
Just this Feb we'll be trackin' a new CD!
In closing The (T.O.) Henrys would simply say
How much you mean to us in every galldarn way
So onward and upward till the next millenium,
Instrumental, impecunious ... but better 'n any of 'em!
Happy Holidays from your pals The Henrys
November 27, 1997
The Turnip Truck
Dear Friend of The Henrys,
Is it just us, or is everyone who is
a) on the internet
b) born in the U.S.A.
c) in the music business
d) living specifically in or around the Memphis area
completely and utterly insane? First, of course, there's New Jersey. Then we watch a documentary last night on TVO called Paradise Lost, The Robin Hood Hills Murders, wherein the doc maintains some teenagers appear to have killed three 8-year-old boys. The lead teenager is Damien, and he's into Wicca.
THEN, from the right side of the Memphis tracks comes that band called "The Henrys", to which we have previously referred. They're into The Strawberries or George Michael or somebody - we haven't bought their records yet. Anyway, if you search "The Henrys" on Alta Vista, confusion be thy answer, cause let's face it, at that point musical influences don't distinguish one Hank from another. You'll find they even have a monthly "world" newsletter.
So what we have here is not a case of "similar" (see the letter below) band names, we got us a nasty ole problem.
The other day a friend in Amsterdam ordered our CD and got theirs. Hencorp wrote the Memphis Hens what we thought was a well-reasoned note, giving them some background info about The Hens, Toronto chapter, and concluding with a suggestion that "it might be prudent" if we mention on our websites what city we're from.
What comes back? Hooo BOY! CHECK OUT the following, from an
b) musician, squarely in the heart of the
c) USA, and well into the
d) internet (their new web address is www.the_henrys.com)
= very dodgy credentials.
(The followup letter from Hencorp has been incorporated into the text. You will note we maturely resist the urge to suggest what a fall off a turnip truck might actually do to a person's powers of reasoning. Fred starts it):
>For the record, I have contacted you three times in the last two years to
>notify you of our common names. You have never bothered to respond to my E-mails; therefore, I felt that you thought our name similarity was of little consequence.
Hencorp: Well, I actually returned 2 if not 3 of those letters, and they bounced back.
>As for who you are and how long you have been around, I applaud you.
>However, that has nothing to do with us or the current situation.
>If you were trying to intimidate us, you failed.
No, Fred, I wasn't. As I said, I tried to write back to you about this.
I've visited your website. Only recently has it become problematic,
so I went to your new website and wrote the webmaster, suggesting that we identify ourselves by city. I'm sorry you found that so offensive.
>We too have released two discs. While you have been around for ten years compared to our four, that in no way negates our existing for four years. We consider ourselves professionals just as you do; we did not just fall off the turnip truck.
>As I said, we have endeavored to contact you for two years now. It seems you felt it prudent to contact us only when the situation became inconvenient for you.
>I am sorry about the Amsterdam confusion. I will take your suggestion to add "Memphis" to our designation under consideration.
>You know, Mr. Rooke, I was under the impression that music is the cement that holds life together. We as adults and musicians have a bond among one another and we should do whats best for each other and our music. Perhaps I am an idealist.
>I certainly hope we have no further business.
Okay Fred, whatever you think is best. I'm really sorry you misunderstood the intent of my letter. I was never suggesting you fell off a turnip truck.
I really, really wish I could say we made that up, but we simply ain't that creative. Like, these guys should be givingclinics. First, they give you that pseudo-legalese "designation under consideration" stuff and it puts you on edge. (In WEST Memphis they'd have said "I'm gon think on that some.") They follow with the humour of the oxymoron: "we as adults and musicians" (there's no such thing as an adult musician), and then they ironically re-introduce our "prudent" word. Then they pour on all that Dionysian "music is the cement that holds life together" crap. And yes, maybe at that point it starts to suck you in a bit. But just when you're getting all warm and fuzzy and thinking of suggesting some kind of a double bill where all The Henrys, from both sides of the border, join together at the end of the show and play a rousing, arm-in-arm, Bic-lighter, 30-verse version of Knockin' on Heaven's Door ... they go and deliver the capper. The Memphis Hens get up from the bargaining table and walk! They sandbag us with a complete breakdown of communication!
Pure, unmitigated genius. Hats off to those feisty Memphis Hens.
Pray for us.
P.S. Guitar geeks among you will see the (Toronto) Henrys (some might say the ONLY Henrys) in Guitar Player Mag (Jan '98 pg 27), this time avec picture. Do you think they get that mag down Memphis way?
October 8, 1997
Dearth of Henmail lately? Well, there's a corresponding dearth of gigs at this end. Indeed it appears we're over the gig hill, washed up, gigless. (Though you'd never know it from reading the November issue of the high circ. U.S. guit-nerd mag Guitar Player. Next time you're standing around in front of a mag rack (or hangin' out at the reviews page), check out page 158.)
But for all intents, we're short-term toast.
So at least one Hen (et famille) took advantage of the interregnum and headed south, to marvel at the comings and goings of a certain type of northern Yankee, the Pennsylvania variety, countryfolk to that subclass known as the "Record Weasel of New Jersey." (We actually avoided New Jersey as a holiday destination for fear of uncovering some inner leaning toward ultra-violence.)
As we pulled out of Toronto, there should have been a sign on the highway saying "Last Edible Food and Final Cafe Lattes Until You Get Home." No kidding - among those Stateside emporia specializing in fried anything, butter-drenched enriched white-bread toast (we tipped our plate up and let it pool), limpid pasta and burnt Maxwell House coffee, one place alone actually offered cappuccino. Yes! we said, with a lingering dread of some tiny packet of chemicals and a mug of boiling water.
"Cappuccino?" we said to the waitstaff, eager for confirmation.
"Yes, we have two kinds of cappuccino."
"Fudge Vanilla and Chocolate Mint."
Back we sank, our withdrawal-induced depression suddenly clinical.
Order fish down there, as we once did, and you may find it still swimming. Swimming, however, in a melted kilo of butter; a pail-ette of pure-mayo tartar sauce comes on the side. And just in case you're still finding things a little on the dry side, there's a litre-boat of gravy on stand-by.
When they talk about the "Greatest country in the world," they're surely talkin' fat grams.
The vistas and the foliage were much healthier. Photo-ops abounded. There were vintage signs on every other storefront, giant offers to Join the Navy, Deer Hunter bars ... even the corporate home of the Zippo lighter. Chautauqua chats and Allegheny aerial views kept us conscious. There was a terrific Amish-run park north of Mayville NY, from whose lookout one can see Canada. And in Mt. Jewitt, Penn. they had a train-trestle built in 1882, at that time the highest bridge in the world. They used to take coal to Buffalo across that sucker. These days you can walk out onto the bridge and see for miles - we have a picture to prove it. But suddenly, if you're like us, you get so dang scared looking through the gaps under your feet straight down to the autumnal treetops 300 feet below, you end up crawling back to land.
And speaking of crawling, that'll soon be the Hens' posture if we decide to proactively scare up some work. In the meantime, recording plans for January are becoming as solid as the grease-hardened home fries at HoJo's in Bradford PA.
September 2, 1997
News: Not Much at Hencorp
It's been pointed out to us by the legal department here at Hencorp that any further cop bashing should be duly considered (Ref. "Parking Cop Killer," a proposed song title from a previous mailing). Apparently it wouldn't be beyond the proclivities of certain editors, say, or one particular parking officer who dogs us day and night, to interpret things into the Hencorpus thusly, and construct a case for a rap-style m.o. at Hencorp designed to antagonize the Blue Line:
Get Out the Shovel, for instance, could, we now see, have unconsciously been written with a vengeful motive
A Mouse in Sheep's Clothing (a cop put-down?)
Rash (of parking tickets???)
Sawchuk Head and Joe Batt's Arm (clearly, severed cop parts)
Die Fieldmouse (ever heard of one referred to as a "fieldmouse" before?)
Nunc Pro Tunc (a legal defence)
Adobe Abode (the Big House)
Chump Changes (their annual pay)
Riff Raff (us), Muscle Beach (them).
Given our propensity for flirtations with long-term incarceration, from hereon in it is Hencorp's policy to love getting parking tickets and pledge full payment within 7 days of each incurrence.
After some high-level meetings it looks as if The Henrys may be joining up with DROG Records from Guelph (Rheostatics, Skydiggers, Lewis Melville etc) and imagine how good it feels to be among friends after that thing with those particular Yankee ....
We're also gearing up for a recording session this fall, to release a new CD in the spring.
If you happen to crave some fresh produce for lunch this Wednesday (Sept. 3rd), we're playing a concert/farmers' market in Nathan Phillips Square, beside City Hall in Toronto. Sets are at 12 noon and 1:15 and the corn's on us. (One raw cob for every purchase of 30 CDs, no limit.)
See you there, we hope.
Always at this website, or, you can visit the site of the other guys who somehow ripped off our name even though they're kids from Memphis who prob. never actually heard of us:
June 6, 1997
On CBC radio, "As It Happens" recently reported that cows, while being milked, provide more product if music is piped into the barn. Specifically, claims Enright, they'll produce to the song called "Get Out the Shovel" by The Henrys. Plants grow vigorously under the same conditions. And certain vegetables.
Well, speaking of certain vegetables, it would be stretching verisimilitude to say that relations between XXX/XXXX and The Hanks are improving. Okay, maybe we pulled a bit of a Fuzzy Zoeller and mouthed off, e-style, with that "libelous" communique, but not to put too fine a point on it, we ARE getting hosed. It's probably obvious by now that on some minor level we like it. You've gotta know Blind Lemon Jefferson and Robert Johnson weren't getting the limo treatment from their labels, so there's an ancient dues-paying vibe to it all, which helps our cache.
HOWEVER, just to prove we're not obsessive-compulsive, we aim to change the subject. Referring now to some old Henmail at the bottom of your in-baskets, we're proud to update you on a few issues, socio-culturally speaking. Thanks for this goes to our readership, who shall remain herein uncredited for their insights, since they didn't exactly ask to have their work held up before the class. (And we do know that feeling.) Check this out:
Regarding our report on SXSW, the state of Texas, and a certain menu item (the sauce with the funny name), a southern-fried, Texas-based, great-singin' friend wrote back with this info:
Coonass is a 'colorful' southern term meaning Cajun or Acadian. You can actually call a person coonass to his/her face (your coonass and my face) and it's considered somewhat of a compliment! All that originated in Canada anyway, so ya prob'ly aughttta know about it. You know, 'way up at the top of the Mississippi---or where the Miss comes from? See ya subsequently! (Charlie was also the person that '60s Zap Comics cartoon character Fat Freddy of The Furry Freak Brothers was modeled after. That's when he was fat.)
If I don't see you in the near future, I'll see you in the pasture!
About the fissure between band and above-alluded-to US label, and our new entrepreneurial spirit, over the transom at Hencorp came the following comments:
Can't wait to check the CURIO SHOPPE. Keep me posted, and remember - you've still got a friend in NooYawk (maybe just one, but I'm faithful.)jd
Hi Hank!!! Hows it going?????? So glad to hear that you are unfettered and alive flying high over the hen house!! Go Trainrec go!!!! m.
Sure would like to read your views on what to beware of and look for in distribution deals.
What's the bastard's name? e-mail address?
:-) The Johnny Rottens of Hawaiian jazz. Love it. Love it to death. this is great...
Brandish that kona and smite them.
Kind of fascinating to hear about the reaction from the
Land of the Free.
Well folks, thanks. In that snowy land just north of the land of the free, the walking wounded we shall apparently be, making a heroic journey to a couple of gigs here, a demo session there, pre-production for our Spring '98 CD, charity work, etc. We played in Guelph right after an 80-voice male Finnish choir, but apparently they still felt like singing during our gig too, so we gracefully deferred everytime their odd little conductor motioned to us to cool it. We were reminded then why we're an instrumental band. And we almost did a gig at The Stardust Ball, July 11th and 13th at Fort York in Toronto, but had to decline in favour of a recline. There the Hens could have been performing under the same skies as the likes of Steve Earle, Blue Rodeo, Oh Susannah and others. Only diff being we were to play the cool, Mimi-booked stage, and they'd be on some oversized Woodstock Wannabe stage. (Funnily enough, for a gig or two back when we were getting our feet wet as a band, we were called the Fort Henrys. And now we go and nearly get a gig at a real FORT, of all places, one probably meant to fight YANKEES from, and right when we're declaring our own internecine war - it could have been perfect!)
Anyway, now that we're nicely back on topic: What are The Hanks gonna to do about the declaration of war on their ex-North American record company? As it turns out, for the time being we'll be all bark and no bite. We'd LIKE to declare friggin war, that's what we'd LIKE to do. "Yeeeehaw! Look out you ... fine .... gentlefolk, this here's E-WAR! There goes yer rep-ye-tation, squandered fer a few grand, shot all to heck in a good ole Internet E-WAR! Cover your ears, ya lame-spellin' editors, The Hanks mean to ambush us a label!"
Onward ho, Christian Henrys!
But alas, we can't. We've been told so by our esteemed in-house counsel. Nope, not until we take 'em on legal-style first. (Yawn.) Till then, we're muzzled.
Well, we do hope to see a few of you at the Oasis, 10:00 Friday the 13th (40 mins only as part of NXNE); or even better, at C'est What around 10:00 on Saturday, June 21st, for a longer set. If you show up, maybe we can hoist a micro-brew and talk some downhome, ornery, scurrilous, libelous music bidness, jes' fer kicks. And if you need a copy of Chasing Grace, the Henbasement's suddenly brimming.
P.S. Let's hope Rick Danko gets out of Japan someday soon!
May 11, 1997Henrys Probably Off to Court for the Second Time in a Month! Head Henrys Honcho Gets A Muzzle! Could Do Time up in the Big House! Litigiousness Supplants Chuckles in the New Electronic Society!
Judge: "What in the WORLD were you thinking, Henry, when you slandered your old record company on the Net?" Hencorp: "Well, I wasn't really *thinking*, per se, your honour. No, I wouldn't characterize it as 'thinking'. I was just kind of ... you know ... venting. To what I thought was a small group of friends." Judge: "Ten years. Plus $50,000 bucks for stupidity. Next case."
Brrr. Well folks, it seems a certain "libelous" emailing from Hencorp (for your ref., Henrys Free at Last! 07/05/97) made its way onto the Internet at large, to a folkie list in the U.S. The leak sprang through a well-intentioned compatriot whose idea was to keep the flow of information ...uhhh... flowing. Hoping other bands might be able to make their big decisions better-informed in light of our misdirection.
The editor of a folkie mag from Pennsylvania took offence to the Henmailing.
WHOAH MOMMA did this guy take OFFENCE! Harnessing all his scatological ammo, our "posting" was characterized thusly:
"Inflamatory [sic] drivel ... particular feces ... rumor-mongering ... rather presumtuous [sic] ...a diatribe ... innuendo masquarading [sic] as fact ..."
There was more, gentle reader, but even freedom of speech has its limits. (We're now learning.) A shaken Hencorp withdrew. Perplexed, bemused, scratching our corporate noggin on several fronts.
- if we were as cool as the Sex Pistols, would we care?
- how many more records can we sell thanks to this publicity?
- should we hire Howard Stern's press agent to capitalize?
- what's "particular" about the faeces?
- does this mean we should refrain from sending our next CD to this fellow for review? (sidebar: didn't spelling used to be a pre-req for an editor's gig?)
- what weird creature spawned these self-appointed net-nannies, individual arbiters of morality and fair play, and definers of words like "libel"? Will the Hanks be up before THAT court? Rising, trembling, the Johnny Rottens of Hawaiian Jazz, reduced. Standing for what we think is right ... for the little guy. For free speech, and speech free of coprology. (And typos.) For just that *right* amount of (alleged) libel in a posting. Against big business and ferociously in favour of the individual. And where do you think all that good Woody Guthrie stuff will land us?
Right back in the jug. Enjoy your freedom, loyal Henfan, even as we go down fighting for it.
See you in 8 to 10.
May 7, 1997
The best of both (New and Old) worlds!
Whoah! What were they on? A more weasely, slimey, two-faced, Yankee no-count, tell-'em-whatever-they-wanna-hear (still smarting from either the War of 1812 or D. Bailey's 100m dash), non-payin', hope-to-make-a-quick-buck-off-the-Canadian-hosers and then ignore-em-if-we-don't cause we can simply-move-on-to-a-new-group-of-suckers, ornery, inscrutable, two-bit conglomeration with which y'all do surely never wanna make acquaintance.
It was a train wreck, folks, pure and simple. But get this irony: TrainRec just happens to be the name of the indie label that The Hens started in the first place! What goes around comes around. Now that our "deal" with that certain bunch of Hoboken weasels has terminated, the ole phoenix TrainRec has been reborn!
First order of business: gear up the manufacturing plant.
So if you live in North America and y'all or yer'alls friends need some CDs, wait three or four weeks and then c'mon down (electronically speakin') to H*E*N*R*Y*S CURIO COMPACT DISC AND CLOTHING EMPORIUM, where we can get you suited up good and cut y'all a real fine deal, postage in.
P.S. It looks like the newly-liberated foursome might be playing on May 30th at the Rivoli, alongside our pals Phono-Comb. Check yer local listings.
Onward and upward, y'all!
April 25, 1997June is festival month in Toronto and there's one for everybody. This year, it seems, there are a lot - an inordinate lot - betting their artistic reputations and fiscal futures on the inclusion of a certain lyric-liberated Toronto-based Hawaiian groove band:
May 4th @ Mezzrow's, 1546 Queen W. The first annual C'Mon Out To Parkdale and Get Roughed Up Listening To The Henrys On A Sunday Night Festival.
May 6, Henduo at a coffee club on Danforth called...um...Dark...um, we forget. But we know right where it is.
May 29th, Guelph Spring Festival, Rob Piltch/Don Rooke duo.
June 1st, the Guelph Spring Festival. Hens with string section, perhaps?
Friday the 13th of June, Oasis, 10:00 pm. The mighty NXNE. After our triumph at SXSW, how could we say no to this, especially with a crisp c-note dangling?
June 21st, C'Est What. The Downtown Toronto Jazz Festival (peripherally) manages to book an exhausted Hanks.
June 26, Harbourfront. The Power Plant virtually bases its As A Leading Edge Contemporary Gallery The Hens Are The Only Band For Us festival around - who else? We realize, too late for our loyal fandom, that this one is a private affair.
And on and on it goes towards autumn. The bottom line is now transparent: The Henrys will say yes to any lame excuse for a festival offering any feeble amount of pay because, quite frankly, we knead the bread.
March 31, 1997
U.S. decency case casts shadow over website:
THE U.S. Supreme Court begins hearing testimony today on a case with far-reaching implications for the Internet.
The case is an appeal by Attorney-General Janet Reno of a ruling by a lower court that said a website by Toronto-based band The Henrys, the so-called "Chippendale Dancers of Hawaiian Groove Music," countervenes the Communications Decency Act--signed into U.S. law about a year ago.
Reno wants to take it further, saying the website should be shut down entirely and that band members will do time. At its most basic, the case will be deciding the fundamental nature of the Internet. Is this website (with its download-able music samples), and by extension the entire Internet, a broadcast medium which relies on public carriage and is consequently subject to stringent content restrictions? Or is it a publishing medium, shielded by First Amendment free speech protections?
"Our music...I mean, like, our CDs...they ain't free. Not by a long shot. But speech? Speech should be free," said a statement from The Henrys. "I'll tell you one thing, The Hanks ain't into no NetNanny."
Under the law, indecency is much more poorly defined than its counterpart, obscenity. The latter actually uses "Hawaiian groove music" as a defining example, appealing as it does to people's prurient interests, and for being devoid of literary, artistic, scientific or political value.
"Man," said a spokesperson from Hencorp, the corporate headquarters of the band, "we are confused. In this land of individual rights it should be nooo problem for people just to take responsibility for themselves and their kids. If Reno would attend one of our gigs, she'd know exactly where we were coming from and wouldn't want to victimize us any more. By extension, all speech would then be free. Like, how about the late set we're doing at the Reverb Room on April 10, or maybe May 4th at Mezzrow's ... she might really dig it! We'd give her beers. Plus, at Mezzrow's there's a big fish tank right beside the stage which is a real family type thing."
Well, we git real famous down at SXSW, jes like we're asposed to. I mean, with only 600 bands there, how could we not?
On I-35 driving down from Dallas we passed Woody's Dance Club. Woody's might also accurately be described as a two-car garage.
The LBJ Museum was cool! They had a moon rock there that was 3.3 billion years old! Monte tried to touch it, but there was glass in the way. We also had fun at the State Capitol Building. Dave took a whole bunch of pictures of the enormous, ornate wooden door frames with door hinges that had the star of Texas on 'em, a redone (in the '30s) deco floor and the incredible view all the way straight up to the dome. Without a flash, he's not sure how his pictures will turn out.
At a market grill where we ate breakfast, after you make your choice they give you a buzzer which vibrates when your order is ready. One of us said "I'll keep the pager next to my person," at which point the Texas gal behind the counter up and said: "Whatever blows your skirt up."
We visited our old friend Maryann Price (Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks), bought her new CD, and congratulated her on her upcoming marriage. "This is the last time I do this Rookie, I swear!" At a BBQ thrown by her record company, a very pleasant backyard affair, they served beef with a combo apple jelly/horseradish sauce. BBQs are really big in Texas, but then, what isn't?
I asked a feller if he knew where Kenwood Ave. was, and he said, very politely, "I sure don't."
We had dinner with Ron Sexsmith, who once had breakfast with Paul McCartney, who has $642 million. We could make a CD if Paul would give us one-one hundred thousandth of his net worth. The sound guy threatened to cut Ron's power off if his set went too long. We schmoozed John Northcott from CBC-TV at a CDN BBQ, and he took a camera shot of the LBJ/Ladybird notepad we bought at a museum at UTA.
But John was really doing a feature on Crybaby, so he wasn't totally schmoozeworthy. Plus, not that we're bitter or anything, but NOW magazine was already sponsoring Crybaby. (Do they do rockabilly? Cause the Henrys were actually thinking of getting into more of a rockabilly sound.) Anyway, at that point we stopped schmoozing for the rest of the trip, except for once at a breakfast spot.
We met one Texan who told us that for years he's been going out to small towns to record musicians for a folk archives. He, Charlie, once played in a band (Cat Mother?) that was on tour opening for Jimi Hendrix; now he plays bluegrass guitar. When we left him, he said, "See you subsequently."
A few more band names we like:
Fluf (San Diego)
Lolita No. 18 (Japan)
The Sir Finks
Mr. Henry (NYC)
Oh yeah, that reminds us, we did the gig! Well, we sure were glad we went down to Texas to breathe fresh spring air (one day it was 80) and eat and drink and see the sights, cause the gig was actually kinda lame. The sound system was feeb and so was the gear. The people who were in the audience seemed to like us okay anyway, which was nice. We did "The Bunnyhop" for an encore, our new cowboy reggae tune. Two or three folks from our record company even showed up, but I don't think they were able to bring anybody along. They were really busy down there, and didn't actually have any time to get together with The Henrys over the 4 days of our visit. That's what happens at a festival - there's so much to do that you can't fit everything in! At least we talked to them for 3 or 4 minutes, which was nice cause we'd never met them face to face before.
Sociologically speaking, it's interesting to see an industry function like this at work. The festival itself is very proud to sell tickets to fans who can pick between 600 bands over four nights. Of course they can't PAY 600 bands, but each musician, who has made his or her own way there, is given a wristband. Many of the musicians "sleep" four to a room in little apartments and homes around town, with billet hosts who also get a wristband. Some of the homes are in Shantytown. The industry people are fortunate because they stay in really nice hotels like the Four Seasons. But of course it's easier for them - they're getting paid while they're down there checking out bands.
One group we heard about came all the way from Siberia. Before they left for Texas, one of their members fell through the ice. When they got to Austin, their billet host had a heart attack. If it weren't for bad luck, they'd have no luck at all! We never heard about their gig, but we sure as shootin' hope it went well for them.
At a Cajun restaurant the menu offered Fetuccine Alfredeaux. That got a chuckle. Also Catfish Poboy, L'il Buzzard, Corn Doggettes, Blackened Catfish with Coonass Sauce(?), and Cajun Popcorn. We thought maybe the "n" in "Coonass" would be pronounced Spanish style, with that little squiggle over it connoting a "nya" sound. We asked the waitress for clarification, and were surprised at her very literal pronunciation.
At a lot of these places that sell booze there's a sign that says y'all get 10 years up the river if you bring yer firearm in with you. Maybe this has some relation to the origin of the term "Wanna step outside?"
We had two excellent meals at Guero's on South Congress. One was a breakfast, and we saw the singer Robin Holcomb, her husband Wayne Horvitz, and their little baby there, too. We gave them a Henrys CD - our final schmooze. Mike said they were probably happy to have another beer coaster.
Anyway, that's it from the Texas file. If anybody needs a new T-shirt, Dave got about five.
By the way, The Henrys are at Harbourfront this Sunday (March 23) from 2 till 5. It's free (plus we get paid rill good) for the entire family!
See you subsequently!
P.S. To anybody new on this list, it amounts to about one letter/month, always about the comings and goings of the Toronto-based band The Henrys. Write to email@example.com if you want your name removed. Thanks!
Based solely on their corporate nomenclatures, The Henrys are looking forward to rubbing shoulders with the following bands during our upcoming trip to Austin:
Box the Walls
FambooeyGreazy MealGus Gus Reykjavik (Iceland)JennyanykindReckless Lester and the TumbleweedsLikehell
Merchants of VenusMog Stunt TeamMumbleskinnyThe Negro ProblemNerf HerderOf Montreal (Athens, GA)Bambi Lee SavageTexas Meat PurveyorsTiny White BaptistsThe Velour MotelThe Wilde Oscars
and our personal favourite:
Jesus Christ Superfly
We're also going to eat at El Patio, where, according to this excellent pinhole camera website (http://www.bga.com/faganphoto/pinhole.html):
"the Joseph familyhas been serving up great
hot dishes since 1953.They serve saltine crackerswhere others might give youordinary tortilla chips."Had the record company supplied us with the limos and laptops we requested, we would dutifully have maintained an online diary. Instead, regrettably, the reportage will be limited to a diary of our lone star state activities for your leisurely perusal post facto.
The Henrys (Int.)
February 19, 1997:
The Henrys' Texas Roadshow is preparing for our grand tour with a couple of warmup gigs in Hamilton, two nights back to back, just like Rod Stewart must do before his big tours. The difference, of course, is that when Rod goes on tour he really works hard cause he needs the bread. When we go to Texas, it'll be one 40-minute set surrounded by five days of "Hey! Lookie yonder pardner, ain't he'all Laaahl Lovett? This here beer's on me!" etc. Of course we're not in the kind of physical condition that affords a Rod, or a Mick, the stamina to work night after night after night.
So we'll be gearing up at Cafe Neon, down there in the Hammer, Feb 28 and March 1 at 10:00 pm. If you want to go, take the Main East exit off #6 and go 5 stoplights to Caroline St. It's on your right. Guaranteed fun for the whole dang family!
February 4, 1997The Henrys are holding court at Ted's Collision this Sunday Feb 9th, 573 College, 10 pm, so c'mon down if you're suffering from SAD (Seasonal ? Disorder) and need a bucolic sonic sauna. (Or if you're feeling charitable: Ted might kill us if nobody shows up.)
Next week is the Folk Alliance. As previously mentioned, we'll be at The Rivoli on Feb 13, one set at 9:30 pm, 332 Queen St. W. Other bands after, incl. Bob Snider and the Angstones.
And for anyone keeping track, 2 new gigs: Mezzrow's May 4th for The Hens, and an acoustic guitar duo - Rob Piltch and Hank Rooke himself - has just been added to the Guelph Spring Fest on May 29th at the Bookshelf. (The Henrys are at the festival that Sunday night, June 1.)
January 17, 1997
The Henrys' mainframe computer is going in for a massive injection of digital steroids on Monday; consequently, we'll be offline until the end of the week (Jan. 24th). Upon re-emerging, we'll have a new address.
Business will then continue at its usual brisk pace. The website address stays the same. Sorry for any inconvenience this might cause.
January 10, 1997
Like the rest of Ontario, The Henrys are digging themselves out this morning. The only diff being, we're shovelling money, not snow, what with all these-here gigs a-comin' (in Toronto except where otherwise noted):
Sat. aft, Jan 18 the Half-Hens (guitar duo) at the 12th Fret Guitar Store way out on the Danforth
Feb 9 at Ted's Collision, 573 College St., Little Italy
Feb 13 at the Rivoli, 334 Queen W. as part of Folk Alliance
March 12-16 at SXSW, Austin Texas
March 23 (afternoon) at Water's Edge Cafe at Harbourfront
June 1 (the underbelly of the otherwise upstanding) Guelph Spring Festival
When I was driving down to Austin
I met a man he was from Boston
You know it really was exhaustin'
That was driving down to Austin
Hanks possibly Texas bound!Shopping list:
4 matchin' silver-tip-collar cowpoke shirts
4 pair matchin' turquoise snakeskin cowboy boot
4 Stetsons jes like Junior Brown wears (and that guy in Wilco)
Harry Dean Stanton issue Bolo string ties
To Do list:
put the cowhorns back on the Cadillac! Yee haw!
Will the lyric-liberated prefab four actually accept this no-dough invite to the SXSW music fest in Austin? Fighting off record company indifference, exorbitant airline and hotel rates, tax, coupla hun for work visas, food costs, Lone Star beer overdraughts, redneck insurance...Stay tuned for the fiscal vicissitudes of this l'il ole humdinger.
And speaking of wasting dough: The Hencorp email server seems to have been bought out, meaning that all our fine letterhead - not to mention the email address that currently appears on several hundred thousand copies of our CDs worldwide - is soon to be as useful and purty as an armadillo at a ballet class. Alternative suggestions for servers welcome.
Also from the Int. Henrys file: The annual Folk Alliance event is in Toronto this year and the Hens seem to have weaseled their way onto that bill too, on Feb 13 at the Rivoli. (Perish the thought that we rassle us a payin' gig in '97.)
Happy New Year...Y'all!
As another year draws to a close
The Hanks are in their typical repose
Counting dough, monitoring sales
Carting royalties to the bank in pails
At times like these we can't help think
Of the people with less to eat and drink,
Whose slipping sales would make us wince:
Snoop Doggy Dogg, the Junkies and Prince
We offer to them, and others afflicted
Whose royalty cheques sank more than predicted
To cover a Hen-tune (if it's within your reach)
Try Rash, Die Fieldmouse or Muscle Beach!
Turn your attention away from the mirror
Remember the generosity that some of us preach -
Please work The Henrys into your Grammy speech?
A:Multi-platinum sales, mega recording contracts, stadium tours, international media frenzy, Grammies, libertine backstage action, deli trays, limos, good reviews, ridiculous amounts of pocket money, adoration, mosh pits, makeup, personal trainers, brokers, lawyers, drivers, chefs, paparazzi...and above all... top 5 billing in the Toronto Sat. Star TV Weekly Holiday Season article "Hints for Inscrutable Teens Top 10 Cds" (!)
Wow, folks, the air is rarified up here. We feel like Adam Duritz - Courteney's on line one, Jennifer A's on 2, Mary Louise is at the door, can't write music cause we're all freaked out by the adulation ...
Hang in with us, please. No gigs for a while cause we're trying to sort out this crazy fame thing.
photos by DR