In a new interview with Spain’s link textMade In Metal, HELMET frontman Page Hamilton discussed the lyrical inspiration for the band’s new song “Make-Up”, which appears on HELMET‘s latest album, “Left”. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “That word ‘make-up’ — term, I should say; it’s two words — has so many meanings. Somebody can make stuff up. He made that up; it’s a lie. A person’s character, their make-up. What is their make-up? Also, wearing make-up, like how people wear make-up on TV. Those specifically, those lines, if you read some of the lyrics, I sing, ‘Bloated, feckless / Orange and dick-less / Flaunt your lack of grace.’ That’s very, very specifically about [former U.S. president] Donald Trump, who’s the worst president in the history of the United States and a terrible human being who’s caused so much pain and death and destruction. And he’s just an evil, evil person who has no interest in this country or any of its citizens. He wants to enrich himself, and he likes to be in that position of power. But I think, hopefully his time is over. I hope.”
Earlier this month, Page told Keefy of Ghost Cult that Trump is largely to blame for the political divisions that are ripping apart Americans’ social ties. He said: “I have friends that are conservative. I have friends that voted for Trump, people I care for, and we’re on the same fucking side. Don’t do what he does and pit families… He has separated families. I mean, he is the most toxic pile of shit that we’ve ever had in American politics. And this fascination with his celebrity or whatever… When I watched the Anderson Cooper interview with that Playboy bunny that he had an affair with, and she was, like, ‘He’s so brilliant.’ And I’m, like, he’s not fucking brilliant. He’s a moron. He’s a fucking moron.”
Last month, Page spoke to Australia’s “Everblack” podcast about how the world events of the last few years — including the global pandemic and political unrest — have provided him with the inspiration to create some of the songs on “Left”.
“We seem to be descending into chaos,” Page said. “Each century of humankind has been more violent than the next, and the 20th century managed to murder millions of people. And here we are listening to a presidential candidate in the United States talk about putting kid children in cages, anchor babies, meaning babies that were born in the United States but from immigrant parents.
“We’ve got some issues,” he continued. “And it’s where we have to get back on track. The GOP, the Republican party, right wing, whatever you wanna call it, in this country is a minority, and our system is broken, and that’s why we’ve had — since Nixon, we’ve had these presidents that don’t deserve to be president, because they haven’t won the popular vote. One of them did; I can’t remember which one. They won the electoral college. And so as a nation, the majority is being subjected to policies that we disagree with. And that’s not democracy. Democracy is, I get two votes, you get one, I win — my side wins. And the pandemic hit and we saw what a shit show Donald Trump‘s White House was, and the thought that this guy could win re-election to me is horrifying. And it should horrify everyone, not just Americans.”
Circling back to the lyrical inspiration for “Left”, Page said: “I think part of this, like in this album, as I’ve gotten older, and I never really cared what anyone thought, but I was never wanting to stand on a soapbox. We’re not RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE. And I admire those guys on many levels, but at the same time, they pick specific causes that they stood behind and those were not necessarily global causes, they were individual causes. And I have a hard time with that because I don’t know the facts ’cause I wasn’t there, for Leonard Peltier [an imprisoned Native American leader] in 1975 or whenever, so it’s really hard to stand behind something that I don’t know everything about. But these global issues are pretty obvious and we need to make changes. And I think that the right wing, they always scream and yell and think that they can scream and yell louder than we can. And I’m, like, I sing in one of the loudest motherfucking bands in the world, motherfucker. I can sing pretty loud.”
Hamilton previously discussed how the global political situation inspired “Left” in an interview last October with Kevin McKay of Florida’s 99ROCK WKSM radio station.
“I feel like there are so many destructive forces politically in our country,” Page said at the time. “And I have every right to express my opinion. I pay taxes.
“I wanted a bike at the age of 10 years old, and my dear dad, may he rest in peace, and mom and dad, brother [and] sister, all Republicans, dad was, like, ‘Oh, you want a bike? Oh, well, we’d better get you a job.’ And he taught me how to do my taxes and everything at the age of 10, 11 years old.
“We always have to be able to discuss things,” Page continued. “Discourse is so healthy. And when did this divisive tone develop?
“Anybody that disagrees with [Donald Trump] is a terrible person that should be… General [Mark] Milley should be hung for treason. Come on, man. This guy serves our country, U.S. military. [Editor’s note: In September 2023, Trump wrote on his social-media network, Truth Social, that Milley‘s phone call to reassure China in the aftermath of the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, was “an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH.”]
“The Republicans [in Congress], I don’t know what they’re doing, but it’s dangerous right now — it’s really dangerous,” Hamilton added. “We need to get it together, man. I feel like there’s a huge contingent that they just want… It’s probably a pretty cushy job. You got a half-million-dollar-a-year travel budget, and people in your office, in an office, and you make all this money. And it’s like a good job, so they don’t wanna lose their jobs. So they’re doing what they think will help them keep their jobs. Well, that’s not what we pay you for. We pay you to govern and to make sure that the citizens of our country, myself included are taken care of. ‘Cause I don’t know how to pave roads or do stomach surgery or whatever.
“I believe that we outnumber people that don’t believe in the country — I honestly do… So as a singer in a quote-unquote heavy metal band or hardcore, post-hardcore, whatever we’re called, indie rock, I can sing pretty loud.”
Earlier in October, Page told 518Scene.com that the changes in the political climate in the U.S. inspired some of the lyrics on “Left”.
“I can’t speak for other countries — I know Hungary has a fascist guy too, and there are neo-Nazis popping up and they’ve always been around — but they were a little more underground before Orange Douche Face made it okay to be a racist douchebag,” he said, apparently referencing Trump. “That stuff really had an effect on me. I have a trans godson, for example. I have nieces and nephews. I have two other godsons. I would like to leave a better world behind when I go for them, than the current state of divisive, caustic [beliefs] and whatever is going on in this country.”
Hamilton also discussed the new HELMET song “Gun Fluf”, saying: “I feel I have a right to express myself. I’m happy to sit down and have a conversation with any gun owner. I own guns. I grew up owning guns. I grew up in southern Oregon. I got a 12-gauge shotgun when I turned 12 from Grandpa Bones, and I hunted. I’m all for it, but I’m not all for there not being tighter restrictions on who can purchase a gun.
“Automatic weapons are unnecessary for a citizen population,” he explained. “They’re not for hunting; they’re not for recreation. They are for killing human beings.
“Every time there’s another mass murderer shooting, it affects me deeply. That’s just heartbreaking. What we are saying is, yes, we have the right to bear arms, but we also have children who have a right to go to school and not fear for their lives, or go grocery shopping — as in Buffalo — and not worry that somebody’s going to come in with an automatic weapon that can shoot 200 rounds in however many minutes. So that song poured out of me. It makes me angry that people are not more responsible.”
“Left” was released on November 10, 2023 via earMUSIC.
To coincide with “Left”‘s release, HELMET embarked on a European tour the same month. The trek kicked off on November 8 in Prague, Czech Republic and made stops in Germany, Scandinavia, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium and France before concluding on December 13 in London, United Kingdom.
Although HELMET disbanded in 1997, Hamilton revived the band in 2004, and the group has continued to tour and record.
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