Amy Harris of CityBeat recently conducted an interview with vocalist/guitarist Page Hamilton of the alternative metal legends HELMET. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
CityBeat: What inspired you to get into music at a young age?
Page Hamilton: I was always a huge fan of music and loved THE EAGLES, AMERICA and THE BEATLES, and then I heard the band LED ZEPPELIN and it became an obsession. Jimmy Page just looked so damn cool. At 18, it was either music or gay porn.
CityBeat: The new [HELMET] album, "Seeing Eye Dog", is set for release June 22. Can you tell me about the inspiration behind the name?
Hamilton: The album release has actually been pushed back to August 24 as we try to finish artwork and finalize the tracks. I usually shy away from political statements, but there is some social commentary on the album. A seeing eye dog is one that leads the blind around. I also read a poem by Ezra Pound, one of my favorite poets, called "The Seeing Eye" and the image just stuck in my head.
CityBeat: What is your favorite song on the album to perform live?
Hamilton: So far we have completed five new songs for the album. One is not able to be performed at all because it is an orchestrated morphing of instruments. Others like "So Long", "Welcome to Algiers" and "In-person" are currently being performed live. It is taking practice for me to play guitar and switch back to vocals. A beer or two helps me relax and usually improves the flow.
CityBeat: What is your writing process?
Hamilton: I used to write all the music and then put words to it after I had the rhythmic pattern. Over the past 10 years, I will get musical ideas that inspire a vocal and rhythmic movement. I also have copious notes everywhere — at home, the car, and all over the living space — to capture ideas as they come to me. Language always fascinates me and I try not to make political statements and have no agenda. I feel like if you have an agenda it waters down the meaning of the songs. I just try to make observations.
Read the entire interview at CityBeat.