Brian Haner

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"Brian Elwin Haner" redirects here. For the lead guitarist of Avenged Sevenfold, see Synyster Gates.
Brian Haner Sr.
Birth name Brian Elwin Haner, Sr.
Also known as Guitar Guy, Papa Gates
Born (1958-04-07) April 7, 1958 (age 56)
California, United States
Genres Comedy, rock,country, metal
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, guitarist, stand-up, singer
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1981–present
Labels Polydor, Indie
Associated acts Jeff Dunham, Frank Zappa, Rose Royce, Tower of Power, Avenged Sevenfold, The Brian West Band, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs

Brian Elwin Haner, Sr. (born April 7, 1958), also known as Guitar Guy or Papa Gates is an American musician, comedian, and author. Haner is known for touring with fellow stand-up comedian/ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, as in the 2008 holiday program, Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special.

Early life[edit]

Haner got his first guitar when he was 5 years old, after seeing The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show. He joined his first band, The Plastic Mind, when he was ten years old.[1]


A year before finishing high school, Haner got a summer job touring with Sam the Sham and Pharaohs, best known for their hit songs Woolly Bully and Little Red Riding Hood. During the school year, Haner played in night clubs in the LA area. The following year, he applied for a job on tour with Frank Zappa; although Haner didn't make it past the audition, Zappa later called on him for session work.

After working for several years as a session musician, especially with Motown star Norman Whitfield, Haner signed his first record deal with Polydor under the name of Brian West. They produced his first album "Don't Stop Now". Throughout the 1980s, Haner recorded and toured mainly in Europe. In the early 90s, his composition work extended to scoring television shows and films. From 1998 to 2003, Haner produced his second wife's hypnosis show as well as performing in night clubs; in 2003, he signed with a Nashville music publisher and released two CDs called "My Old Guitar" and "Carney Man". He also developed up a busy program of stand-up comedy and performing his own mainly comic songs.

In 2005, Haner's first novel "Carney Man" was published. After a year spent mostly in comedy clubs and in Vegas opening for Bobby Slayton, Haner started touring and doing Comedy Central television specials as "Guitar Guy" with Jeff Dunham. While on tour with Jeff Duhnam, Haner released two solo CDs, "Cougar Bait" and "Fistfight at the Wafflehouse." He also released a CD with Jeff Dunham: "Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas", featuring Dunham's puppets singing Haner's original songs. Since leaving Jeff Dunham's show in 2011, he has released two more CDs: "The Artist Formerly Known As Guitar Guy" and "Alone". In 2012, he spent the summer in Africa headlining the prestigious South Africa Comedy Festival. Haner has also recently appeared on Showtime's "Red Light Comedy Special", which was taped in Amsterdam and on AXS.TVs Gotham Comedy Live from NYC, performing his own music and stand-up comedy.[2]

In 2005, Haner did session work for Avenged Sevenfold's album "City of Evil", including playing acoustic guitar on their hit, "Bat Country". In 2007 he did the orchestral arrangements for the bands self-titled album. In 2010, he recorded guitar tracks for Avenged Sevenfold's 2010 album entitled Nightmare. Among his contributions were guitar solos for the tracks "Tonight the World Dies,[3] and "So Far Away", which was written by his son, Synyster Gates, in memory of the band's late drummer and Gates' best friend James Sullivan.[4] and also performed additional guitar work on the band's 2013 album "Hail to the King"

In 2012, he released his 2nd book entitled "Ginny Reb", a book about a young woman's experiences in the confederate army.

With Avenged Sevenfold[edit]

Haner made his first appearance with Avenged Sevenfold on their third studio album, City of Evil, playing pedal steel guitar and part of the acoustic solo on "Sidewinder". He was the orchestral arranger on the track, "Until the End," from Diamonds in the Rough. On the album, Nightmare, he played additional guitar on the track, "So Far Away," and the guitar solo on "Tonight the World Dies". Most recently he played the outro guitar solo on "Coming Home" from Hail to the King.

Personal life[edit]

He married in 1980 to his first wife Jan Gera. The couple had two sons, Brian Haner Jr, better known by his stage name, Synyster Gates, who is the lead guitarist for the metal band Avenged Sevenfold and Brent Haner, a successful insurance agent at Trinity One Insurance.[5] The couple eventually divorced. Haner is currently married to Suzy Haner, a hypnotist and together they have a daughter McKenna.


  1. ^ "Improv Ontario, CA Comedy Club |". October 12, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  2. ^ "Brian 'Guitar Guy' Haner has all the luck on Jeff Dunham's tour". Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  3. ^ "Avenged Sevenfold – Nightmare (CD, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  4. ^ "More "Nightmare" Details From Metal Hammer Interview! Song Titles, etc. "". June 2, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  5. ^ "Brian Haner Timeline". Retrieved 2010-12-08. 

External links[edit]