Music Interview: Bryan Porter Hinkley on “99 Shots” – Trusting His Gut


This month, the veteran guitarist, singer and songwriter released his debut solo album99 shots, And found itself leaning in the direction it had avoided for decades.

Cover art by Brian Porter Hinkley 99 shots

Bryan Porter Hinkley has good instincts when it comes to music—even if he’s not quite sure yet.

“If I haven’t heard my stuff in a long time, I appreciate it more. I’ll look back and say, ‘That was really good,'” Hinckley said in a recent interview. “I don’t want to get to the point, though, of, ‘Oh, this is perfect.'” It’s okay for artists to be self-critical.

This month, the veteran guitarist, singer and songwriter released his first solo album, 99 shots, and found itself leaning in a direction it had avoided for decades. But he trusted his instincts.

“When I write songs, a lot of them sound like classic rock music,” Hinckley said in a recent interview. “I love classic rock; I have an eclectic taste in music. But I’ve always tried to avoid—or hesitated—to make something that sounded like regular old rock and roll. I’ve always felt an obligation to do something different. thing. For this time, I eliminated the hesitation and just went with the flow.

and 99 shotsIt’s available to watch on streaming services and it’s very good. The songs are lively and catchy. Hinkley weaves the raucous energy and energy into stories, lessons, and anecdotes about the life of music-making.

Hinckley first came to prominence as the guitarist for the Boston band Tree, which released anti-establishment protest songs wrapped in hardcore punk and heavy metal. From the late 1980s until their disbandment in 2001, Tree toured extensively and became one of Boston’s most attractive acts.

After his time with Tree (which recently reunited with new member vocalist Dave Tree), Hinckley found work in Gang Green and Clutch, where he teamed up with his brother, drummer Billy Hinckley. Billy Hinkley formed the band Never Got Caught. Ten years ago, the guitarist also founded Gratitude Sound, a company that provides music for commercial use.

99 shots Hinckley’s first album under his own name. The album follows several singles he has recorded and released over the past few years.

and 99 shots Nonetheless, Hinkley assembled an impressive ensemble to bring this new project to life. Clutch drummer Jean-Paul Gaster is already on the record; he co-produced the project with Hinkley. They recorded at the Doom Saloon (Clutch hangout) in Maryland, and invited organ and Fender Rhodes player Chris Brooks and bassist Jay Turner.

Hinckley said he wanted to piece together something cohesive but not necessarily reflective of his broad musical tastes. He achieved this intention: 99 shots Contains seven songs that don’t sound alike, but at least sound like they’re from the same community. By moving away from the heavy style of “Tree” and “Never Got Caught,” Hinckley gave himself the freedom to combine the raw drive of punk rock with some of the more dramatic touches of classic rock.

The song “99 Shots,” for example, makes the most of its sweeping, detailed vignettes, disconnected from the larger narrative and intertwined with a raucous chorus. The result: an air of mystery surrounding the track.

Veteran guitarist, singer and songwriter Bryan Porter Hinkley. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Hinckley said the tune came to him in a dream. He heard the catchy refrain “99 shots went off in my pistol” and wondered what song it came from. Once he realized it was no one else’s song, he made it his own, outlining a scene that was vaguely familiar to him. Nothing is very specific,” he explains.

“Bird” is a thick alternative pop song, while “Diamond Eyes” is full of blues rock. “Idiot” has a jagged funk groove that sits alongside the fragile ballad “Live That Down.”

Hinckley said he would hold on to his ideas for a long time, sometimes even years, before he felt they were ready for release. For example, “Waitress” features Spanish guitar and reggaeton music at the beginning. exist 99 shots, which is more of a punk rock song, although some bits of Spanish guitar appear in the song’s bridge. “I love starting songs. I’m constantly inspired by the creative process,” Hinckley said, noting that he probably has about 100 unfinished songs ready to be completed. “But the act of finishing the song is another thing. Finishing the song is much more difficult.

Hinckley still performs occasionally as a solo artist and in various heavy music and experimental settings. He is currently forming a band to play 99 shotNew material for a show at Koto in Salem on August 23rd.

“I will never stop writing and recording music. It’s what I love to do,” Hinckley said. “I started to realize that I didn’t have to reinvent everything. I just had to try to write good songs and let it be.

McLennan Music covered Worcester Telegraph and Gazette From 1993 to 2008. boston globe, providence magazine, portland news heraldand WGBH, and art fuse. He also runs the NE Metal blog, which provides in-depth coverage of the area’s heavy metal scene.

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