Thursday, January 28, 2016

Johnny H and the Henchmen aka Jesse Haemmerle - The Original Hollowbody V Acoustic Guitar

Johnny H publicity photo from Lordize Records
The first thing I noticed was the guitar. That is one Unique Guitar! The caption under the picture said “Johnny H and His Henchmen.”  

He and his band had a couple of Doo Wop hits in the mid 1960's called I Wish I Really Knew and Baby Good-bye. It was on a New York label called Lordize Records.  

He has posted 19 other  recordings on his myspace page, Most are  covers of popular hit songs of the 1950’s and ‘60’s. But what is really amazing, besides that guitar, is his story.

Check out the headstock cover
Jesse Haemmerle had been using the name Johnny H as the leader for his band. But he had learned from three family members that his real birth name was Presley. His legal father obtained his birth certificate and it showed his birthday to be January 8th of 1935 and his birthplace was Tupelo Mississippi.

Coincidentally Elvis Aaron Presley was born on that same day, January 8th of 1935 and his birthplace was  also in Tupelo, Mississippi. It is said that Elvis had a twin brother named Jesse, who was declared dead at birth. This baby was named Jesse Garon Presley. This is something that haunted both men throughout their lives.

Jesse says that he was able to meet Elvis in 1964. He tells the story about that time. Elvis rarely talked to anyone about his “stillborn” brother, but on that afternoon when they met, the floodgates opened up and that's all both men talked about for hours.

Jesse and brother Richie
Was he actually Elvis Presley's twin brother? I do not know if that mystery will ever be solved.

In addition to music Jesse Haemmerle did some film work with Frankie Avalon, he was a contestant on several TV game shows and New York city TV show where he played a singing cop.

He was in several other films in the 1970’s and ‘80’s. Through these connections he met up with a lot of other famous people including Frank Sinatra and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

For much of his life Haemmerle has kept busy as a body builder.

He was  a member of the Federation of Arm Wrestlers as participant as well as a referee.

In 1969 he created and constructed the first opposing grips arm wrestling table.

I have searched in vain to discover more information about his rather bizarre V-shaped guitar. Its rocket-shape is reminiscent of the “space age” era of the early 1960’s, when we were fascinated with rockets and being the first man on the moon.

His brother, standing behind Johnny H, has a Kay Stratotone with an unusual cover over the headstock

The V shaped wings and pointed headstock seem to be attached to the guitar more than being a part of it.

Jesse and Richie Haemmerle - This is the guitar before the wings and headstock were added.
When we see it in it’s original form, judging by the headstock, it may possibly be a Martin with a cover on its top. In any event it is a wild and unique guitar.
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)


bassedout said...

There's more than one guitar in the pictures. The first and one of the later pictures with the white pickguard seems Kay or Harmony ish to me. In the third picture the acoustic has squared shoulders, like a Martin. Don't know for sure if it actually is. So, he obviously was able to transfer the wings and headstock pieces to different guitars or had more than one made.

marcus ohara said...

The last picture is possibly a Martin. I would hate to think that anyone glued a faux top onto a nice Martin guitar.

Thanks for stopping by Bassedout.

Keoth O. said...

As far as whether he is Elvis' twin, DNA testing could answer that question, or at least narrow the likelihood considerably. Frankly, it sounds like a publicity stunt to me.

Chris Haemmerle said...

My dad designed and made those guitars the one at the tops was stolen out of his car in jersey city nj the other ones he made I have at home

Chris Haemmerle said...

My dad designed and made those guitars the one at the tops was stolen out of his car in jersey city nj the other ones he made I have at home

Chris Haemmerle said...

As far as the wrestling table weedier and stallon took his idea an used the table in over the top we never received any credit or anything

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mcarreno said...

Hi Chris...I lived on 57th Street in WNY next to John. Did you live up the block?

Joanna said...

No way he's Elvis twin. Jesse Garon Presley was stilborn..this guy Johnny doesn't even resemble a Presley let alone be Elvis twin...everyone wants to be a Presley or make a buck off him...