PAGE HAMILTON: 'I've Heard HELMET Riffs In EVANESCENCE'

The Skinny recently conducted an interview with HELMET mainman Page Hamilton. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

On HELMET's influences on today's acts:

"I hear it all over the place. Kids today have no idea at this point, because they got into, say, KORN, SYSTEM OF A DOWN... I've heard HELMET riffs in EVANESCENCE."

On why HELMET's sound has been so influential:

"Because it's thematically strong. It's just a musical thing; anybody can use it in any context. It would sound great orchestrated; it would sound good in a pop song, so it's just a kind of vocabulary.

"Bands like MASTODON and NORMA JEAN tell me, 'Oh, we ripped you guys off with this,' or 'We got turned on by that.' Some bands do cool things with it, and there's a bunch of shitty bands that have imitated us too. But there's nothing quite like HELMET."

On his decision to resurrect HELMET:

"I had the GHANDI band in New York with a bunch of friends and it was hard to maintain it because I couldn't afford to pay them what they were getting in their other groups. So when I got back out to the west coast, Jimmy Iovine at Interscope asked me to make a HELMET record, which was nice because it meant I'd have money to make a record rather than it coming out of my pocket. So it was easier to put a band together."

On HELMET's new album, "Seeing Eye Dog":

"I knew I was going to make a record. I mean, I wanted to make a record, but it took some time because we got burned by the last record company — so I was a little bit gun-shy. That had never happened to me before, my relationships with [previous labels] Amphetamine Reptile and Interscope were both excellent, respectful and they were men of their word.

"It's a really bad feeling. You write your songs and they go out there to the world, you fulfill your end of the bargain or the contract or whatever and [the label] just go 'Hey, we're going bankrupt. Sorry, but we can't pay you, and we're going to hold onto this for a while cause we're making some money off it.' And that's what happened. So it's been a pretty lean couple of years for me and I'm in debt right now because I paid for this album with my credit card and my manager's good faith.

"Once I was clear last summer I sat down for a couple of months and just started writing songs, and it came together. I felt very comfortable and confident. I think you reach that point where you just do your thing."

On his motivation:

"I'll continue to do it, because I was really missing it. There was that period there where I didn't do anything. I really missed this form of musical expression, there's nothing like it. There's no music like it. It's very true to itself. I've stayed true to the vocabulary and have tried to expand upon it, I guess, in a natural way."

On the evolution in HELMET's sound:

"Every day you live your life, you work on your guitar, you work on your singing, you read books — you have more life experiences. So theoretically, as a musician, you should grow and things are going to progress. But to take a complete left turn and try to reinvent yourself is more of a self-conscious approach, and that works for some people."

Read the entire interview from The Skinny.

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