Friday, August 31, 2007

Electric Guitar: Henry Mac

Henry Mac playing

Henry Mac playing House of the Rising Sun

Interview with Henry Mac

Artist: Henry Mac
Medium: Electric Guitar
Location: 14th Street Station on the uptown ACE platform

Bronxite Henry Mac explains his accidental guitar career. “Somebody gave me the guitar with the impression that I wanted to learn how to play…and I didn’t.” This somebody must have known Henry Mac very well, though, because after about 6 months he just picked it up and started messing around with it. True, he hung it up for about 17 or 18 years but he picked up again and now he’s been in a band and spends his free time playing in the subway. Not only that, but Henry taught himself – buying music theory books, chord books, song books, listening to music and even watched concerts to develop his ear. Now Henry says he just likes playing music, for himself, his family his friends and the public.

Ultimately, though, Henry comes down to the subway to try and make some money. He’s got a lung ailment so he can’t do regular work and what he gets on SSI isn’t really enough to pay the bills. So Henry does what he can to make ends meat, and what he can do is play the guitar – if only so many people were fortunate enough to have such a talent to shore up the rent.

But Henry does like what he does, “when the police ain’t harrasin’ me it’s alright.” Although, he notes, “I don’t mind playing in public but I’m not to crazy about all this noise” pointing to the trains roaring by. Either way, Henry tries to please the crowd, “if I see people feeling it, it’s ok, if they’re not feeling it, I put it back in the bag and try something new.”

Henry has a lot of influences (which you can see listed below) but essentially says “I like whatever I hear, man, whatever I can feed off of.” He cites funk as a particular influence, though. “I try to get funky every now and then…I try to be versatile.”

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