In a new interview with Kevin McKay of Florida’s 99ROCK WKSM radio station, HELMET frontman Page Hamilton elaborated on 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 the band’s upcoming album “Left”.
“I feel like there are so many destructive forces politically in our country,” he said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). “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 [former U.S. president 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: Last month, 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 this month, 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 song “Gun Fluf”, which specifically targets the gun lobby. He said: “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” will be released on November 10 via earMUSIC. The LP sees HELMET — comprising Hamilton, drummer Kyle Stevenson, guitarist Dan Beeman and bassist Dave Case — carve out a musical landscape that is taut, muscular, and direct.
Guided by Hamilton alongside co-producers Jim Kaufman and Mark Renk, and mastered by Howie Weinberg, the 11 songs on the new album are leaner and meaner in their execution than previous aural throwdowns. “Left” is powered by unbridled determination, a renewed sense of purpose and a desire to create more new dialects within the musical language Hamilton invented via his use of drop-D tuning.
To coincide with “Left”‘s release, HELMET will undertake a European tour the same month. The trek will kick off on November 8 in Prague, Czech Republic and make stop the Germany, Scandinavia, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium and France before concluding on December 13 in London, United Kingdom.
For a complete list of tour dates, visit HelmetMusic.com.
HELMET‘s first official live album, “Live And Rare”, was released in November 2021 via earMUSIC. It was made available on heavyweight black vinyl as well as a CD digipak edition and digital.
Although HELMET disbanded in 1997, Hamilton revived the band in 2004, and the group has continued to tour and record.
“Dead To The World” was released in October 2016 via earMUSIC. The effort was produced by Hamilton and mixed by Jay Baumgardner.
In 2021, HELMET released a cover of GANG OF FOUR‘s 1981 song “Into The Ditch”. The track was recorded for a tribute album to GANG OF FOUR‘s guitarist Andy Gill, “The Problem Of Leisure: A Celebration Of Andy Gill And Gang Of Four”.
Photo courtesy of earMUSIC
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