Helmet: «We are always interested in touring so if opportunities are presented we take them»
Punk rock legends, Helmet, are visiting Greece for a one night only show in Athens. Just a few days before it happens, Page Hamilton, awnsers all our questions!
It seems that the history of Helmet has the New York era and the Los Angeles era, both cities with extensive music glory. How much these cities influence the band?
I can’t say for sure but my formative years had to have been influenced by living in NY. By the time I moved to LA I had a firm grasp on my musical direction.
After the hiatus of 1998-2004, a lot of people believe that the band has taken a more metal direction, characterized by slower tempos, compared to the first nine years of the band’s life, when punk-orientated tempos were more obvious. Do you agree with that?
How easy or difficult is it for a band to survive and to create music, when so many line-up changes happen?
It is not easy. It’s economics. If the band was making more money there wouldn’t be so many changes. This is a labor of love.
What led you to the decision of celebrating «Meantime» two years ago and «Betty» right now?
I was asked whether I was interested and I’m always interested in touring so if opportunities are presented I take them.
Although there are more metal elements in the music you play today, neither I, nor some friends of mine, also big fans of Helmet, tend to categorize the band as heavy metal. Would you label yourselves as a heavy metal band?
Does Page Hamilton’s deep knowledge of jazz music influence the music Helmet make?
I should think so, yes.
Among the articles that I have read about Helmet, one or two refer to you as «the thinking man’s metal band», a comment that has also been made about another New York born band, Blue Öyster Cult. Does this band belong to the list of influences that you had?
I LOVE Blue Oyster Cult! I saw them in 1976, amazing, epic..a huge influence on me. We covered «Cities On Flame» many years ago..
Many fans, including me, think of your lyrics as really emotional, dealing a lot with the human psychology. Feelings of rejection, hatred, unrequited love, fear, contempt (and many more) come out of your music. Should we expect these themes on your upcoming album?
Unfortunately, yes. I still feel all of these things as a 54 year old man. Sad, right? haha..
Do politics concern you that much and, if so, do you consider yourselves optimistic or pessimistic about the world situation?
Unfortunately I am slightly pessimistic regarding the world situation, politics etc… I think human nature is self-serving, certainly capitalist nature is selfish and shows a complete disregard for humanity. The culture of selling fear in the USA is so destructive. I have always felt like a member of the human race rather than just a Caucasian, American, Oregonian, guy from a small town. Until we stop hating others for no reason the world will end in disaster.
Helmet’s imminent live performance in Greece came as a great surprise. Many people are looking forward to this evening, believing that it will be an unforgettable experience with a lot of kicking, screaming and sweating. Are they right?
Hahahaha.. We could NOT be more thrilled to get to FINALLY perform in Greece so yes, it will be epic!
How is the tour so far?
It’s been great, winning…hahaha…
Is there anything, you would like to say to you fans in Greece?
Αuthor: Fedon Kitridis