Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Book Update and Sheri Van Decar of Human Head Transplant


First apologies for not posting last week. I have been knee deep with the editing process. The editor has done an excellent job in focusing on continuity and cleaning up the grammar. This week we will be fusing the chapters together and doing the final edit before sending it off to layout.

The book release date has been set.
Date: Saturday, October 10 2015
Location: Mutiny Information Cafe 2 S Broadway Denver, CO 80209
Time: 6 pm
Special musical guests TBA

The artwork from the book will be exhibited and avail for purchase.
If you wish to preorder the book, you will receive extra goodies. You can do this by visiting 

From here on out, I will be posting excerpts of interviews.

Sheri Van Decar of Human Head Transplant 

About the time the music scene started to splinter, evolve, and exponentially experiment, Human Head Transplant (HHT) arrived to fuel the continued potentials of avant-garde in Denver. Although they were lumped as an industrial group, their early sound escaped any firm genre boundaries.

Their ambitious aesthetics appealed to the fans desiring a soundtrack that did not adhere to cookie cutter 4/4 tempos, structured riffage and solos, and perfectly timed endings. Vocalist, guitarist, and trumpet player Sheri Van Decar has categorized their melee as, “ … a melange of sound and a vehicle for expression and personal evolution!  A right ol' eclectic mix!”
Their compositions combined live instrumentation layered with electronic textures ranging from keyboards and drum machines to samplers and analog equipment mashed together long before computers simplified such tasks. The group both seduced listeners with soothing synchronizations and chaotic layers, which evoked disconnect and alienation.

The band often performed in appropriate settings, such as art galleries, junkyards, and converted warehouse spaces in desolate areas of downtown Denver. Their most infamous appearances found them opening for Einst├╝rzende Neubauten in 1986. Meanwhile, Beach Blanket Bingo, their alter ego, satisfied their cravings to play pop.

While my friends eagerly dropped hits of LSD in preparation for their shows, I tripped, minus the narcotic haze, because the shows alone were such a heavy encounter with arrayed visuals and dizzying soundscapes.

Human Head Transplant. Original photo by Nancy Kennedy
Brush and ink drawing by Bob Rob (Medina)
How did Human Head Transplant (HHT) come about?

It was early 1984, and I was starting to listen to so-called industrial music, and my friend Jonathan Garcia told me, "Sheri, I met these guys from, Michigan, and they're really into that type of music, you should meet them." It was Bert and Paul Dickerson. Paul was staying at Christian’s, and we were invited along to do something. We went over there and started making an awful lot of noise. Kelly was also from Port Huron, but was living in Winter Park and eventually came down to Denver. He was quite interested in what we were doing. At first, it was just Bert, Kelly and I and it went from there. We all had some musical background, but the boys more than I did.

As HHT, our first gig was at the Art Department on Santa Fe. We pretty much got our start there. We managed to secure other art gallery performances, warehouses, and whatnot.

When the band started out, did you have a concept in mind?

We did. We wanted to experiment with different sounds and noises, and we experimented with different instruments. I had a trumpet that I don't remember how I got, plus an electric guitar with a little amp, and I managed to get pedals. I would play around with those things and doing vocalizations in one form or another.  People actually thought that I could play the trumpet, but was just being ‘avant-garde’… hilarious, really.

The remainder of the interview will be published in the book. 

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