Hunkasaurus and His Pet Dog Guitar, MUSEA and the Artists Against Corporate Art

Sometimes I think about how many artists are going by the wayside because they cannot get support for their music. I'm sure there must be thousands if not millions out there who have real talent, just were/are not "radio friendly". This is unfortunately one of the failures of the capitalist music industry; artists that are already playing the sounds of what is popular are what is promoted because companies are in it to make money and sell music, not promote good music.

For years there have been people who's felt that this is a bit of a backwards idea, believing instead that anyone who wants to make music or art should be given a chance to get their message out their. The Beatles tried to make this a reality with Apple Corps, stating:

"...We want to set up a system where people who just want to make a film about anything, don't have to go on their knees in somebody's office... We've already bought all our dreams. We want to share that possibility with others" - Beatles Press Conference Announcing the start of Apple Corps 1968 (http://www.geocities.com/~beatleboy1/db68.html)

Although, outside of Apple Records, the Apple Corps. Project was generally considered a failure, it was a noble effort none the less at helping artists gain exposure a little easier.

I believe in this idea that all artists/musicians, not just those who are "the next big thing" should be given an opportunity and think that the Internet is the way we can make this a reality. That was one of the primary reasons I started the Soul of Rock 'n' Roll, to help promote artists based on their music, not their selling power. The Soul of Rock 'n' Roll is still in its infancy, but growing stronger everyday, hopefully helping to make a artistic world where everyone has a chance a reality.

I pretty sure Tom Hendricks believes in this idea about music and art as well. Not only is Hendricks making some great music in his own right under the name Hunkasaurus and His Pet Dog Guitar, he has spent the past 15 years running MUSEA, a publication dedicated to independent music and art.

MUSEA, as posted on their site, is a: "... monthly newsletter that is leading the ART REVOLUTION AGAINST the handful of CORPORATE ART AND MEDIA CONGLOMERATE WEASELS (there are only less than 9 now) who control virtually all of the arts and media in the U.S.; and we are FOR the best of all the "Indie" (independent) artists outside of corporate art." - (http://www.musea.us/newdex.html)

I've been saying for years that outside of a choice few, much of the music on the radio sounds exactly the same as everyone else, or the same as artists who've come before, and that far too much music is "made to sell" as opposed to made to be music. It's great to see a publication like MUSEA out there supporting independent music. Hendricks takes it further than that though and also supports independent art, writing, films, poetry, painting, even news... a really wide range of media. There is also a fair amount of information on the media conglomerates, art monopolies, the lack of independent news, the need for an artistic revolution and a bunch more random topics. The wide range of material really make it an interesting publication to read.

I may not agree with everything MUSEA publishes about the artistic world (it's perhaps a little cynical on first glance...necessary and very truthful, but a little cynical none the less), but the cause is a good one: encouraging creativity, supporting independent art and working towards an artistic world not ruled by capitalism or corporations.

Definitely a publication worth supporting and checking out if you're like me and think that the music scene (or any artistic scene, or the world as a whole) is getting a little too commercial and corporate.

MUSEA seems like a great pursuit on it's own, but as I said, Mr. Hendricks is a musician as well.

Hunkasaurus and His Pet Dog Guitar may be a mouthful to say, but Hendrick's music is about as stripped down as possible, consisting of just Tom playing an old Silvertone acoustic guitar and singing the music that he likes. The music ranges from covers to Hendricks originals with a range of stylesl... even some artistic spoken word pieces and protest songs... all just with vocals and acoustic guitar.

He calls it anti-band music, a term that works well because it's so stripped down, spontaneous and separated from the overproduced melodramatic tracks that are pushed on pop radio. It's a return to a more pure musical form from long before commercialization took hold of popular music.

Hunkasaurus and His Pet Dog Guitar have two complete albums available for download, for free, that have a good mix of styles, both covers and originals, and are worth checking out. Beatles songs like "Misery", "There's a Place", "I Will", and "Help"; the Rolling Stones "Not Fade Away"; covers of Buddy Holly, Herman and the Hermits and the Monkees; even "Secret Agent Man" all seem to take on a different character than their original versions in this minimalist format. It's almost like listening to them in their infancy, like these songs were just written a few minutes prior and this is the first take. It's a very intimate style.

The Tom Hendricks originals are pretty good as well. The early rock and roll flavored "Shake, Shout and Go"; the sweet, yet somewhat bluesy sound of "140 mph"; the driving instrumental "Full Steam"; the folksy protest song "AOL Can Go and Tank Tomorrow" and the rockabilly "Play that Country Music" were a few of the songs that stood out in my mind. They are all deceptively simple, yet compelling, spontaneous feeling and fun.

That is what I think I like most about the music of Hunkasaurus: the spontaneous and fun feel throughout all the songs I've heard so far (both the covers and the originals). It's almost as if you're just sitting in the room listening to him play; it's charming and just sounds so natural, honest and authentic... AND throughout all of it, even on the more serious songs, you can tell that he's having fun, loves what he's playing, and just loves making music. That type of feeling is something I appreciate, because music should be fun.

Overall, I'm glad that Tom Hendricks emailed me to check out his work because not only do I think his music is great, but his dedication to fighting corporate rock and the commercialization of music is commendable.

Keep up the good work Tom "Hunkasaurus" Hendricks.

Make sure to check out MUSEA, the publication of artists against corporate art, here on their website: http://www.musea.us/newdex.html

There is also a MUSEA Blog located here: http://musea.wordpress.com/

Hunkasaurus and His Pet Dog Guitar have their own site dedicated to Tom's Hendricks music here: http://www.hunkasaurus.com/

Also, if you're even down in Dallas Texas, you can catch one of Hunkasaurus and His Pet Dog Guitar's free shows in a variety of unique venues including inside the Ticket Box Office of the Inwood Theatre. Check out pictures from one of those events here: http://www.glanger.com/clients/ModernLuxury/NightLife/TomHendricks2/

- The Soul of Rock 'n' Roll is a division of Fifth Column Media - www.fifthcolumnmedia.com -