Brian Fischer-Giffin of Australia’s Loud magazine recently conducted an interview with HELMET mainman Page Hamilton. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On the band’s spring 2011 U.S. tour with ST. VITUS and CROWBAR:
“You don’t tour the world for twenty five years and not know when someone’s trying to fuck you over. The tour was mismanaged and I think by the end there we were hanging on by our teeth. The band vibe was great. We really enjoyed all the bands and we had a good time, but there was a lot of unnecessary stuff on the business side of things that we’ve never experienced before.”
On working with record companies:
“No offense, there are many competent people at record labels around the world. But there are an equal number of imbeciles who are just annoying and you have to humor them. Not to get my butt kissed or anything, but half the people… I don’t know how they qualified to work at record labels.”
On releasing HELMET‘s latest album, “Seeing Eye Dog”, through a label owned by Hamilton‘s manager, giving him the total artistic freedom that he has yearned for, and allowed him to work at his own pace:
“There’s no time limit on the next one. So that when I feel like writing more HELMET songs, I’ll sit down and start, which is nice. It’s not easy financially, obviously, because I still like going into a studio and recording with an engineer and it’s not cheap. It’s cheaper than it used to be, but with any luck we’ll be able to keep this train rollin’ for a few more years.”
On how HELMET and albums like “Meantime” and “Betty” have been misrepresented and often criticized for influencing the late-’90s explosion of genre-bending metal acts:
“I don’t dwell on it, but it’s frustrating that people write [us] off because we’re affiliated with or credited with or discredited with creating nu-metal and rap metal or whatever the fuck it is, which we sound nothing like. I don’t sit around worrying about that stuff. Is it frustrating, yes, but do I think that we’re better than 99.9% of the other bands out there? Absolutely. Rock or any other genre.”
On the comparisons between his music and that of AC/DC:
“That’s why I think I love AC/DC so much. Everyone thinks it so easy and so simple, but no one can do AC/DC like AC/DC. No one can play that music. You just can’t! You start to play an AC/DC song and it just sounds like a wet noodle. It’s just impossible to do it the way they do it: they’re just so fuckin’ good. I love that about HELMET.”
On “Seeing Eye Dog”:
“[It is] by far my favorite album that I’ve ever done. It’s really challenging but it’s fun and it grooves and I can really connect with it. It’s not prog rock or whatever, which I liked when I was 18. It’s a challenging record and I love where it goes and I think there’s a lot of variety on there. It goes from a song like ‘LA Water’ to something like ‘Seeing Eye Dog’ or ‘Miserable’ or ‘She’s Lost’… an experimental kind of pop form, we’ve got a verse, this big wall of drone and kind of a chorus but the real chorus is a guitar solo.”
Read the entire interview from Loud magazine.
Quality fan-filmed video footage of HELMET‘s March 29, 2011 performance at the Summit Music Hall in Denver, Colorado during the Metalliance Tour with ST VITUS, CROWBAR, KYLESA, RED FANG, HOWL and ATLAS MOTH can be viewed below.