Interview With Jim Morrison, Director of the 'Harry Hellfire' Documentary
"Harry Hellfire" is the story everyone thinks they know. It is the story of an amazing guitarist that the metal world missed out on.
An amazing self-taught guitarist in his adolescence, Harry continues to seek refuge through his playing. Through his own words and those who have known him since childhood, 'Harry Hellfire' pieces together a portrait to be left unfinished. A song yet to be sung.
The documentary was screened last week by producer/director Jim Morrison at the Hamptons Take Two film festival.
The Gauntlet caught up with Jim to ask a few questions about "Harry Hellfire"
How did you you get involved in the story of Harry Hellfire?
Jim: Well Harry (nicknamed "Guy) is a friend of mine. We connected during the mid 80's we both had a common interest, and that was heavy metal music.
I can remember the first time I saw Guy…. It was the fall of 1984. I was the new kid in town and starting my first day of 9th grade at Greenport HS. On the way to school I remember seeing Guy walking up just ahead of me, he mainly stuck out because he was a slender lanky looking dude, with long hair. I overhead some kids talking crap about him and making fun of the way he looked. I heard the words dirtbag and skeeze. I remember thinking to myself that that was pretty lame shit to say. I didn't know who this dude was, but he seemed ok to me. But from what I learned later on this was this was a regular thing. He was picked on and beat up pretty much everyday. This pretty much led to Harry to drop out of school very early.
The first person I met in Greenport was a kid named Jamie Schott. Jamie and I connected immediately based on our love for heavy metal music as well. Jamie was a drummer and told me about his heavy metal band called Tezex. A heavy metal trio with no singer. Turns out that the slender lanky looking dude I saw earlier that day was the guitar player of this band.
Tezex was my garage band experience. Anyone in bands or had friends in bands experienced this as well.
I had no musical talent. So I was the guy running the camera or taking pictures. So there is a bit of stock video and audio footage dating back 20 + year ago that I still held on to.
For some reason it was always in the back of my head that I would use this footage for something.
On top of being a great guitar player, Guy was pretty much a showman. He had the ability to make a room full of people laugh. Doing impersonations of Gene Simmons. Yelling Venom lyrics aloud. Even doing silly renditions of "Gonna Make You Sweat" by C&C music Factory"
Based on this plus more it was always said way back in the day that "Someone should do a documentary on Guy".
And talk about following through. 20 years later a documentary was made.
The story touches on Guy in his youth, heavy metal in general and, me reconnecting with Guy years down the road. I find him living in a tent behind a graveyard. And to add insult to injury he had his guitars stolen out of his tent. He was pretty much defeated at that point. I follow him around on and off for 5 years. Guy goes from one bad living situation to another.
What was it about Harry that made him something that people outside of Greenport, NY should know?
Well this is someone we can all relate to on one level or another. Through the film Harry goes through some awful situations, and yet Guy is still able to laugh and joke about his bad situations. As sad as some parts of this film can get, "Harry Hellfire" also has a dark humorous side to it, where you can even feel guilty for laughing.
Until your film, why doesn't the world know the name Harry Hellfire?
And that pretty much is the purpose of the film. This is a great metal musician that slipped through the cracks. Growing up we all thought he would go on to be a superstar. But he just had no motivation to push it on any further. I truly think that this guy had some great metal song in him that we all missed out on. I'm hoping that this film can give him some recognition. And maybe give him some encouragement, that people can be interested in him. I did make a point to showcase some of his music.
Where will people be able to check out the documentary?
"Harry Hellfire" was just recently selected and screened at the "Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival". This film has been submitted to a number of other film festivals and am currently waiting to hear the status. A screening in Greenport is in the works. I update the website very regularly. So stay tuned for more screenings.
Who is this film for?
Not everyone is going to get it when they see this film. But some will. Especially the metal crowd, or even bands jamming away in their garages.
For more on "Harry Hellfire," check out the site and trailer here.