Local musician began his career by playing bass in the Navy

KINGMAN ­ Tim Hett spent just four years in the Navy.

But the January 1977 graduate of Kingman High School found his calling in life while serving his country as a machinist's mate aboard the helicopter carrier USS Guam.

"I had an opportunity to join the ship's band at a time when they needed a bass player," he said. "I had a musical background from my days here in high school, so I decided to buy a bass guitar and get into the band.

"We played at different USO functions during 1978-79."

Hett, who was born in Kingman, was a member of the KHS Choir and participated in three of its four branches ­ the Madrigals, the Aquarians, and the Folk Singers ­ all under the direction of Stan Gould.

After being discharged from the Navy in 1980, Hett and his brother, David, who lives in Roswell, N.M., played together in two bands during the period 1980-91. They were members of "Phase 3," which later became "Phase 4" when a fourth member joined the band.

Hett also spent close to a year with "Fool's Speed Ahead." That band played at Kingman's 50th anniversary celebration in 2002. Over the years, he has expanded his musical repertoire to include playing the acoustic guitar and keyboards, singing vocals, song writing, and arrangements. He now does the arranging for "The Krisy Thompson Band," a group with which Hett has performed for over three years.

The Krisy Thompson Band was known as "Fat Chantz" until changing its name in June following a shakeup of its members. The five-member group plays original country/rock music, with Thompson writing the bulk of its tunes, Hett said.

"We're trying to keep Krisy's music out there by using her songs as much as possible," Hett said. "Whenever we hit a venue (long gig), we add cover tunes and some of my original compositions."

The band presently is working with a Las Vegas recording company to record a promotional demo tape with eight original Thompson songs. That has led to a temporary curtailment of "gigs" played in the tri-state area.

Hett intends to stay with the band because intuition tells him Krisy Thompson is going "to make it big in the music industry."

Hett had an intuitive experience he calls "uncanny" while serving on the USS Guam.

"On the morning of March 14, 1978, around 4:45 a.m., I awoke in agony on my right side," he said. "I walked off the ship with an IV in one arm, got into an ambulance and took the roughest vehicle ride of my life across 25 sets of tracks to reach the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Va."

Appendicitis was the diagnosis, and his appendix was removed.

About a week later, Hett got a letter from Laura Inman, a friend from his high school days. She wrote that Gould had died about 4:45 a.m. March 14.

Gould, Hett's favorite teacher in high school, suffered from emphysema.

Hett enjoys golfing, hunting, fishing and riding motorcycles and 4-wheelers when he's not writing, arranging or performing with the band.

Neighbors is a feature that appears Mondays in the Kingman Daily Miner. If you have an interesting story you'd like to share, contact Terry Organ at 753-6397, ext. 225.