Active in the West Coast rock underground since the mid-'80s, guitarist Herb Heinz is best known for his tenure in the avant-cabaret group Amy X Neuburg & Men. With the Men, on his own, or in Hmmm..., his music always takes anti-conformist guises and is often accompanied by whimsical, slightly dadaist lyrics. He has one solo album to his credit, the 1995 CD Failure.
Heinz played his first guitar notes at the tender age of 5. He went through the usual high school rock bands, grew out of his teens during the progressive rock wave of the 1970s, and started to toy around with electronics in 1979. In 1983 he got involved into his first two serious projects. With Mark Briggs he formed the experimental rock duo Hmmm... which would take over ten years before yielding its first recorded fruits. The other project was a collaboration with visual artist Dale MacDonald which led to the formation of the multimedia collective MAP in 1986 with fellow students from the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music. MAP, which also included Tim Root, Joel Davel, and art singer Amy X Neuburg, performed all around San Francisco, staging ever more elaborate shows until 1994. In 1993 Neuburg formed her back-up group Men with members of MAP, including Heinz who had already helped with her first album Songs 91 to 85. Together they founded the recording studio IS Productions.
In 1999 Heinz released his first solo effort, Failure. A concept album about the desire to fail, it garnered good but puzzled reviews. The guitarist also got briefly involved with the avant-garde collective Discord Aggregate. A second solo CD is due out in 2002.