HELMET – pictures and Interview (Cleveland) May 20th
Below are a few pictures as well as interview with Page Hamilton of Helmet. (Pictures courtesy of Crissy Dansak)
Interview with Page Hamilton – HELMET
with Douglas Esper
Douglas Esper: Helmet just finished up a run with Prong. You guys have a long history. How fun was it?
Page Hamilton: Great. I was really happy with it.
DE: The tour leg was pretty jam-packed. I saw you in Cleveland on one of the last few dates, but you guys were all still enjoying yourselves.
PH: Yeah, we always do that. I love touring. I love being on the road. I would tour more if I could actually. I don’t need to go home for anything.
DE: Helmet has had several line-ups over the years. What makes this current group stand out and how did you all come together?
PH: I auditioned guys from different bands and these guys all stepped up. I love this line up.
DE: How did you choose, ‘Green Shirt’ for the Dead To The World album?”
PH: That’s an Elvis Costello cover. It’s from his Armed Forces album. I just love the song. I thought it fit thematically with the material we did on our album. We produced five cover songs and that was the one that ended up on the album.
DE: I read today that you were involved in the soundtrack for the movie Heat. It’s one of my favorite movies and I’ve listened to the soundtrack over and over and I had no idea you were involved. What was your role in it?
PH: Warner Bros. put the soundtrack out. They had tried to sign Helmet. They were like the last label. It was down to them and Interscope. Even after (We chose Interscope) they were supportive of my guitar playing and of me. They introduced me to Elliot Goldenthal. He was looking to do a guitar orchestral sort of thing. They hired me and it turned out really good.
DE: Compared to previous releases I felt like Dead To The World featured more melodic vocal lines driving the song, even over the riffs which are typically the signature aspect of a Helmet song. Was this a conscious decision or a natural progression in your songwriting?
PH: Nothing is ever calculated. I just write what I feel like.
DE: The recording industry is constantly evolving. What advice do you give to new bands trying to find their way into the business?
PH: I just got a text today from a guy in Nashville. He said, ‘I’m in a band and we’re going on tour opening for (some band)’ and he asked me for advice. I said just do your thing. There’s not much you can say. Be honest. That’s what I say. Bands that are overly concerned with response or with the market or with likes or dislikes or whatever, I’m not down with that. Make music you believe in and be honest about it.
DE: How much of the song, ‘Just Another Victim’ was written prior to Helmet being approached to appear on the Judgment Night Soundtrack and how much happened in the studio with Everlast?
PH: We wrote it in the session. I had the riff though already. I had that cool riff. The guys in House of Pain and my band, we went into a studio that I had done a lot of work in, in New York. They asked, ‘What’re we going to do?’ I said, write a song. A lot of that fell on me. I said ‘I’ve got a really badass riff. We’ll use this.’”
DE: What’s next for Helmet?
PH: We’re going to finish this tour and then we go to Europe for some festivals and headlining shows intermingled. September we have off before going to South America in October. November and December we’re looking at west coast dates, hopefully more dates with Prong. We’re looking at Europe in the spring. We’re looking at packaging us and Prong again for over there. And we’ll probably record sometime between now and then. I’ve been writing and working on other stuff.