Set to release their first ever live album next month, Helmet frontman and architect Page Hamilton guested for a session on the Talk Toomey podcast for a conversation that hit a myriad of talking points.
Hamilton started with the band's upcoming confirmed dates supporting luminaries in Korn and System of A Down. Eager to get back in front of crowds and onstage playing his music, Hamilton confided that there is still very much some reluctance given the ongoing reality of the Coronavirus.
The extended stay away from the stage seemed to jog Hamilton's memory, as the songwriter recalled Helmet's breakup in 1998 and distinctly remembers missing the band during that time.
Given that Helmet's live album was recorded at the legendary NYC venue CBGBs, Hamilton had to share a bit about his New York roots. Despite his lineage, the musician confided that the environment for artists was much more suitable in Los Angeles than it was in the Big Apple. It's what eventually prompted the New York musician to set out for the Pacific Coast and find a new home in L.A.
Hamilton also spoke about some of his influences and contemporaries - some of which might surprise fans. He spoke about wanting to go to Rosewood, KY solely because of his love of country/western singer/songwriter Merle Travis. Fascinated by Travis' picking style, Hamilton spoke highly of the troubadour and his stylistic flair.
Hamilton bounced around a bit, recalling the first time he saw Pantera and the kind of lasting experience that was - contrasted with his time collaborating with Fred Durst and Limp Bizkit - a working relationship that eventually fizzled due to Hamilton not really getting on board with how Durst liked to write music.
As for his own legacy, Hamilton continues to teach music and among his most important lessons he communicates to his students is the notion of constantly working on your craft - stressing the concept of constant progression. As for the influence he imparts to the next generation of musicians, Hamilton loves that he has been able to effect some kind of impact on the audience. It's a humbling reality that isn't lost on him.
In taking a bot of a retrospective look at his career, Hamilton discussed Helmet's earliest days and their history with the iconic CBGBs stage in New York. In regards to the band's upcoming live album, Hamilton talks about the band's origins and how the venue played an integral part in their eventual ascension in the world of hard rock music.
Hamilton also touched on the era of rap/rock and confided that he wasn't sure if the subcategory had the legs to last. He discussed his involvement in the Judgement Night Soundtrack and helmet's collaboration with House of Pain on "Just Another Victim". Certainly ahead of the curve, the album is regarded as a cult classic for it's progressive combination of rock and rap artists ranging from Slayer and Ice-T, Faith No More and BooYaa T.R.I.B.E., Sonic Youth and Cypress Hill along with many, many more.
Closing out with a bit of commentary ranging from Bon Jovi's vocal limitations to the time when Frank Bello and John Tempesta were members of Helmet, the conversation is an entertaining exchange from one of rock music's most enduring, engaging personalities.
Stream the latest edition of the Talk Toomey podcast with special guest, page Hamilton of Helmet.
Live and Rare from Helmet will be available both in digital and physical format, including heavyweight black vinyl. The album is currently available for pre-order – HERE