|The High Plains Reader 07-13-06
The Hellblinki Sextet:
Arouse the hidden Pleasures of Pirates and Vaudeville
By Bryan Grob
many Hellblinkis in a sextet? Common answer: enough to make one
infernal racket," according to hellblinki.com. It's impossible to
extract a finer example of pure theatre, freaks and celebration than
Augusta, Georgia's Hellblinki Sextet: a mix of Tom Waits, Nick Cave,
Marilyn Manson and Frank Zappa, this merry group of
musicians/performers have burned the conformity box to the ground in a
blaze of origionality and kookiness that would make any of the said
artists proud. Coming to Fargo two days after a slot in this
year's Green Man Festival in Duluth, the Nestor will be a parade of
costumed participants in the Hellblinki Experience as the band performs
tracks off albums like "A Pirate Broadcast," and the band's Self-Titled
While band members consistently
walk in and out of the Hellblinki revolving door, the center of tha
creation is front man Andrew Benjamin, who is half ringleader, half mad
scientist. When HPR talked with Andrew on the phone last week he
explained a little more about his artistic child:
HPR: The Hellblinki Sextet is a very unique and bold artistic vision. How was Hellblinki born?
Andrew Benjamin: Hellblinki
spawned full grown from the forehead of Shiva and represents the whole
of the universe, laid out backwards in coffee stains on the
passenger-side front floor mat of an olive green '68 Plymouth Fury, or
perhaps in some other twisted dimension was born of a series of
experamental recordings that slowly and painfully became the first
record, and then, just before the turn of the century morphed into a
live show, which will find itself in one form or another in Fargo this
HPR: Is the imagery and theatrical part of the performance something that stems from your childhood?
AB: Yes, and the childhoods of others, as well...
HPR: Talking to you earlier this
week, you (Andrew) made the comment that you live in a cave under a
rock. Is Hellblinki a creation that rules your everyday life?
AB: Nearly everything I am
involved in is related to this project, or perhaps everything that is
involved in me is in this project one way or another.
HPR: On the website
(www.hellblinki.com) you have some of your artwork, which is very
surreal and at times graphic. Is it art imitating art imitating life?
AB: Graphic? Really, I'll have to check into that. Depends on what you meant by art, I'd rather not make those distinctions.
HPR: There is also footage of James Brown introducing The Hellblinki Sextet. How did that come to be?
AB: James Brown, Godfather of
Soul, IS the Patron Saint of Augusta, and it is often his wish and
sacred duty to take part in local events, and he has stayed true to his
hometown through it all. He was asked to officiate "A Very Groovy
Christmas Special" in which The Hellblinki Sextet was honored to
HPR: Hellblinki Sextet has a revolving cast of musicians. Does that keep it fresh and new for you?
AB: Hellblinki often has folks on
stage together who have never been in the same room before or who have
never rehearsed with the band. It can be difficult and sometimes a bit
scary, but can also result in some wonderful interactions.
HPR:Seeing as you and the band have never been to Fargo, do you have any preconcieved notions about your first trip here?
AB: We can't wait to get oot and
aboot! Actually I'm imagining snowy sprawling flatlands, fiendly
people, and a small town attitude. I doubt you have much snow in
July; you must have the most wonderful summers. South Georgia is a
sweltering hell at this time; the air breathes like a wet brick.
HPR: What can people expect when they step into the Nestor next Monday and onstage will be The Hellblinki Sextet.
AB: Not sure really, I've never seen it myself, but I would imagine it's quite odd.