Helmet and home recording studios

Posted in Uncategorized on May 5, 2009 by jennyanyg

Back when Helmet started out recording Strap It On back in 1991, having a home recording studio was out of reach of many aspiring musicians, mainly because of cost. Back then, it was the dream of many a would be rock and metal guitarist to make it, and then equip themselves with a complete studio in their mansion! In fact, many rock guitarists did just that; they made their money and set up a recording studio in their house so they could control their music the way they wanted to. Joe Satriani did it. Steve Vai did it. Eddie Van Halen did it. And if it was good enough for those guys, then it was good enough for anyone to do, or at least aim for.

Of course, these days, all you need is a reasonably powered computer and you can set yourself up with a decent home recording studio for very little money indeed. Get a good microphone, a decent soundcard and some software and you’re off.

Oddly enough, Page Hamilton never seemed to have a home recording studio. I’m not sure why, because Helmet was a huge success in the 1990’s and Page Hamilton certainly had the chops and the guitar god status to indulge a little if he wanted to. Maybe it’s his jazz training that made him concentrate more on playing than producing. Or maybe he just decided he didn’t need one, after all, once Helmet disbandedin 1999, Page went on to perform as a session musician….and session musos don’t really need a huge set up at home because they spend their time in other people’s stuidos.

Helmet News, Interviews and General Updates

Posted in Uncategorized on April 22, 2009 by jennyanyg

Well, Helmet have been touring with their new material…..here’s a cool interview with Page in Finland:

Also, there’s a cool Helmet Flickr group that I’ve just found – check it out here.

After my last post about crazy accordian player Kimom Pohjonen, I thought it would be good to point you all to a cool blog on how to play the violin.

Violins and electric guitars have more in common than you think. And violins make great instruments in rock bands. But there’s more than that. In the orchestral setting, violins are really like the lead guitars in any metal band. They take all the solos, and create the great melodies, with the rest of the orchestra as a great big backing band! Violinists are the ones out there, hitting the blistering pentatonic runs and wild solos that any self respecting metal lead guitarist can pull off.  And really, you only have to look back a bit to realise that violinist of the past were really the guitar heroes of today. Look at Paganini for example – the gifted violinist who was believed to be in league with the devil. The man was so good that, legend tells, he used to purposely tune his violin slightly out so that anyone else who picked it up sounded dreadful. Paganini himself though, would play perfectly on it, and sound brilliant. He has all the hallmarks of a great guitar hero – brilliance, ability to adapt to his instrument, and a little bit of ego 🙂

Expand your listening

Posted in Experiment, Uncategorized with tags , , on March 4, 2009 by jennyanyg

No artist exists in a vacuum, and just because Helmet is one of my all time favourite bands, doesn’t mean I’m closed-minded about the genre of music I listen to. Back when I first got into music, there was a lot of elitism. If you were a goth, you couldn’t listen to punk, if you were a punk, you wouldn’t listen to electro, if you were a metal head….well, then only the most extreme would do and you would chase down the harder music like a rabid dog. Finding a wilder, heavier band would send shivers down my spine.

When I stumbled upon Helmet, I knew I would be listening to them for a very long time. And it has been over 10 years now. Wilma’s Rainbow is still one of the best songs I have ever heard! But Helmet didn’t write their music from rock influences alone. In fact, Page Hamilton is kind of famous for being a jazz hound, listening to tons of Miles Davis and he always noted that the sychopation and rhythms in jazz translated over to guitar and placed under heavy distortion is what really spawned the unique Helmet sound. With that in mind, now and again, I like to broaden my musical listening, so today, I’m going to introduce you to some accordion music. Wait, I hear you – accordion music? On a blog about heavy metal band Helmet? Are you mad?

Yes! But not quite as mad as avant-accordionist Kimon Pohjonen. This guy is wild! Take a look at this – a little youtube clip from the man

Kimon uses electronics and his accordion to create not just songs but entire textures of sound. Talk about experimental. Imagine if Helmet and Kimon did a little colaboration project – that could turn out completely insane!

Helmet – Images of metal

Posted in Uncategorized on February 24, 2009 by jennyanyg

page hamilton

Rock and Metal have always been about image. No matter what anyone says, everyone in the music industry has an image. Rock and Metal are agressive, raw, in your face, don’t give a fuck attitude image that grinds its way into your base desires to be a rebel like the brutal riffs that Helmet grind out on any one of their tracks. No rock band is complete without the look either. It has to be black. It has to be jeans or baggies. You want to wear a suit? Ha – go take up jazz. You want to rock? You gotta wear working clothes. Hard wearing jeans like cheap monday that can take a pounding on the road….that you can spill your bear on and not give a shit.

Helmet has the image. No doubt. Black denim, black t-shirts, all attitude.

Fuck yeah – look at Page Hamilton here – you don’t get more metal than this – screaming his lungs out in defiance, the intensity of emotion is clearly visible. This is rock! This is metal! It’s proud and within the fuck you attitude directed toward the establishment, Helmet wear their hearts on their sleave, singing and playing their hearts out in a brutal melange of detuned guitar riffs and lyrics that plumb the depths of your soul.

Helmet Rock

Posted in Uncategorized on January 8, 2009 by jennyanyg

Helmet is fantastic. Formed in New York by Page Hamilton, Helmet slammed music into your ears with their brutal form of metal. Helmet was born out of Hamilton’s desire to create simple, brutal riffs melding metal, punk and jazz influences. The band broke new musical ground when they released their debut album Strap It On in 1990 but only really received mainstream success when they signed to Interscope records and release Meantime in 1992. Meantime was certified gold in 1994, selling over 1 million copies wordlwide.

Helmet is Page Hamilton’s baby and he is the only constant member of the band through its various lineup changes. With his distinctive rhythym driven guitar riffs and lyrics, Helmet has often been refered to as the Thinking Man’s Metal. With songs like Wilma’s Rainbow and Driving Nowhere, it is easy to see why. The music is harsh, and the lyrical content multi-layered.

Helmet’s music is heavily distorted and often dissonant, building tension through the use of jazz like structures. Hamilton is often quoted as enjoying Miles Davis and studying jazz guitar. The music of Helmet is his creative outpost. The extreme of experimentation with simple hardcore song structures and brutal rhythms.

Having been through break up and reformation, Helmet have recently started releasing material and performing again.