HELMET's PAGE HAMILTON: 'It's Not In My DNA' To 'Write The Same Song Over And Over Again'

December 6, 2023

In a new interview with Australia's Heavy, HELMET frontman Page Hamilton was asked how the band's recently released album, "Left", has been received so far. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Everybody tells me all the positive stuff. So, as far as I know, positively. [Laughs] I don't read reviews and I don't pay attention. They send me e-mails, 'You got this add and that add, and 'it's the number one metal album in Australia on Spotify.' And 'it's number four rock album.' It all means next to nothing to me. My job's done, as far as the album is concerned, once it's released — actually, once it's mastered and the artwork's done and I pass it off to the label. Then I just have to learn the songs for live. So that's my job. I can't worry about the other stuff."

Asked if fans generally go into new HELMET music with a sense of expectation or they trust that whatever he puts out is going to be enough, Page said: "I don't know now. I think early on in HELMET Mach 2, everybody had expectations because the band had been gone for a while and it wasn't the same rhythm section. And so, of course, people had expectations. The first album was 'Size Matters' in 2003 or [200]4, whenever that was, that came out, after the hiatus, after the band broke up in '98. And I remember Decibel — that's a metal magazine; still around, I believe, [with] really good writers — they reviewed the album, and then three years later, or two years later, they re-reviewed it. They were, like, we were wrong about this song, this song. It's a really great album. It just doesn't sound like 'Betty' or 'Meantime' or whatever. And you're always gonna kind of come up against that. If you do an album that everybody holds in high esteem, people want that for the rest of their lives, I guess. But I couldn't write the same song over and over again. It's just not in my DNA."

He added: "I sang and played on a LINKIN PARK song, and Mike Shinoda, the rapper and kind of producer in the band, he said, 'Yeah, man, we made our first album, sold a bunch of millions of records. And so we made our second album exactly the same.' And I said, 'Yeah, my approach is different.' I like to kind of try to do the opposite."

Circling back to the original question, Page said: "I think some people are cool with it. Some people are not cool with it."

HELMET is touring in support of its latest studio album, the aforementioned "Left", which was released on November 10 via earMUSIC. The trek is making stops in 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".

Having cut his teeth playing with avant-garde guitar icon Glenn Branca and indie stalwarts BAND OF SUSANS, Hamilton launched HELMET in 1989, and the band released its debut album, "Strap It On", on the independent Amphetamine Reptile label the following year. HELMET soon became the subject of an unprecedented major-label bidding war, ultimately signing with Interscope and releasing "Meantime" in June 1992.

Even while the band was absent from the spotlight, HELMET continued to exercise considerable influence on multiple generations of bands. Their songs have been covered by the likes of CHEVELLE, DEFTONES, FAITH NO MORE, PIG DESTROYER and SOULFLY, and the band inspired a 2016 HELMET tribute album titled "Meantime Redux". HELMET has also been cited as a key influence on such bands as GODSMACK, KORN, MARILYN MANSON, MASTODON, PANTERA, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, SEPULTURA, SLIPKNOT, STAIND, SYSTEM OF A DOWN and TOOL.

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