Mark Carras of RockMyMonkey.com recently spoke with Page Hamilton of HELMET. An excerpt from the chat follows:
Rock My Monkey: Does HELMET have a full lineup now?
Page Hamilton: Not yet. Almost. I have the all-important rhythm section, bass and drums, and I have a couple of guitar players that I like. I have to kind of decide.
Rock My Monkey: Can you say who is currently in the band at this second in time?
Page Hamilton: The drummer, his name is Kyle Stevenson, and he's from Milwaukie, WI. The bass player is John Fuller, who is also from Milwaukee, WI. They played in a band together, and I got kind of lucky. When I got Kyle, I got Kyle through my old drummer, and friend, Billy Polaski and John Tempesta, said you've got to try this guy out. He bought one of Tempesta drum sets, and he was really good. It was awesome. They were right.
Rock My Monkey: Can you talk about the reasons why Chris Traynor and Mike Jost left the band?
Page Hamilton: I can. It would be speculation on my part. You'd have to ask them what the deal is. You know, from my perspective, I don't think I'm — I don't think I'm particularly-some of my friends are like, "Are you difficult to work with?" (both laugh) No. I did form this band from the ground up, from scratch, in 1989, so it's not like I need someone to hold my hand and tell me what to do, or write songs, or anything. I don't tell people what to do. It's my vision. It's always been my vision. The difficult thing is that, as we get older, people have responsibilities in their lives, and I don't expect them to be there at my beck and call for the salary that I'm able to pay them. It's hard. It's hard. Chris has a daughter. Mike Jost was on the tour, his girlfriend was pregnant. He had to leave halfway through the tour to go have his son. So it's tough. It's tough. I think that's the main thing. I don't think there's necessarily anything personal. I'm looking for a certain thing, and people that join bands are looking for things. And I don't have any ill will towards Chris, or Mike. I don't. The shit that we went through we went through on the road. And it's part of the stress of being away from home, and being in relationships back home. And everybody goes through it. I can't — I'm at that point in my life where I have a little less stress with my home life, because I'm single. I was once married, and I had a girlfriend for the last three and a half years up until May. I don't have to answer to anybody, and I don't have a son or a daughter either. I can only say those were two great musicians that I'm flattered and honored that they were interested in my music and playing in my band. And I just think at this point in time for me it's more convenient to have... more feasible to have guys that are based in Los Angeles. This is where I have my equipment and my rehearsal space. I can't afford to have it in New York, even though New York is, I feel like New York is kind of my home. I spend more time in L.A. working.
Check out the entire interview in text and MP3 format at www.rockmymonkey.com.