Bio Photo

I used to compose my band bios in a third person voice, as if I were an outside party. And, like so many other musicians, I started out dreaming of an ideal "family" of talented collaborators. The closest I ever came was my first psychedelic band Fuzz Beloved, wherein a brilliant guitar player and myself (on bass) co-wrote songs. For my subsequent groove project, Ludivine, I ended up composing and recording all the instruments myself, save for the drums. This latter approach has remained the pattern ever since--not by design necessarily, but through my own insistence on quality. Why didn't I pursue a more collaborative path? Maybe my own musical vision and what I heard in my head across the entire compositional process was just too, well, insistent. So let me be more accurate in saying this has never been a "band" as much as solo project: the flower of my own evils, as it were.

I began the project in 2003, after taking a certain hiatus from music, when I was inspired to return to the heavier sound of Fuzz Beloved, combined with the r&b rhythms of Ludivine. I dusted off my 8-string bass, found a competent rhythm section, and we started working on songs I had put down on a 4-track cassette machine. Soon afterward, I brought in a green but talented keyboard player to complete a 4-piece ensemble wherein I could switch between guitar and 8-string bass on stage. At that time, the band was called "Imogene"--a name I later decided wasn't doing credit to the music. We attempted a rather eclectic approach, doing acoustic, mellow electric, or heavy sets, depending on the venue. The first album, which I later rereleased as HWE "Drops," spans a range of approaches from funky to heavier avant-psych, and looking back on it, I would say it is the closest to a mainstream, radio-friendly sound I have endeavored to date. The album gleaned copious international press praise, and we eventually toured the UK in 2005.

Band members changed at various points afterward, but I was working steadily with a self-taught drummer from El Salvador, who showed a terrific natural feel for groove-oriented music. We carried the project through the next two albums, recorded concurrently. The first was a heavier album, called simply "Heavy Water Experiments," which pursues a darker sound than the previous album and features the 8-string bass a bit more. It is still, nevertheless, eclectic and includes a few mellower guitar tracks. This release also enjoyed much international praise, including a feature in Classic Rock Magazine. We did a US tour in the summer of 2006, and then I took an ensemble overseas again that fall to play a string of dates in England and then a few more in Holland and Belgium. The other album, "Get Drowned," is essentially a collection of my older acoustic compositions, for which my drummer was good enough to help contribute beats and percussion. I didn't get around to releasing the album (digitally) until 2011, and I only ever performed most of these songs live with my early ensemble. Still, this is an album that deserves recognition, even if it is somewhat peripheral to the heavier thrust of HWE's sound.

In the wake of overseas touring--and organizing a couple underground music festivals in the California desert (which later became the "Clean Air Clear Stars" festival), I was becoming weary of trying to make my mellower vocal style cut through the heavy music we were doing on stage. Although my attempt to marry the two is convincing enough on the first three HWE albums (as well as the more recent 7" single), I was ready for a new approach to our live shows. Initially, I experimented with passing the torch to a female singer, but it was only when I sat down to write melodies for her voice that I accidentally discovered a new aggressive approach to my own vocals. I was also ready for something more aggressively psychedelic in general. I wanted to continue with the groove-oriented, dark/heavy sound, but I was ready to pull out all the stops--and create something listeners would either love...or even hate. This new sound is represented on the current HWE album "Philosopher Queen." Perhaps, this should have been the sound for Heavy Water Experiments all along, though I know my past supporters would defend my older recordings. In any case, this is my attempt at achieving a sublimely "heavy" sound, but without any "metal" trappings. And using the term "psychedelic" has also been problematic--when it so typically carries a retro/revivalist connotation. Thus, I might prefer to describe it as "heavy art rock" instead. As an example, the discriminating underground music journal LA Record reviewed the 3-song demo of this new material (somewhat amusingly) as follows: "The ability to coalesce so many obscure and wonderful influences into such a cohesive mixture requires a level of geek cred that borders on inhuman." See for yourself...and thanks for reading.