Page Hamilton (Part II): 'I'm Open to Any and All Creative Approaches'

In part II of our interview, the Helmet mainman talks about Betty, dark days, David Bowie, film music and much more.

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Here, in part II of our interview with Helmet's Page Hamilton, the guitarist talks about "Betty," dark days, David Bowie, film music and much more.

UG: What has it been like playing the "Betty" album live from top to bottom?

PH: I treat the songs as songs that are finished. I try to stay fairly true to the arrangements and the feel and sound. As far as going back to where I was when I wrote the songs, there was a lot of turmoil. I just left my then fiancee now ex-wife the first time.

I'm sorry about that.

Yeah, I was going through that and then Kurt Cobain committed suicide and we were friendly acquaintances. Sub Pop and Am Rep had a relationship with each other. We were the noisy, artsy weird one and they were the kind of retro, '70s thing. [Bruce] Pavitt and [Jonathan] Poneman [the two founds of Sub Pop Records] had talked to Helmet about maybe doing something because in their words they told me, "We were looking for something to kind of eclipse the whole Sub Pop sound. That retro thing, the Stooges vibe thing that Mudhoney and those bands had."

Helmet almost recorded for Sub Pop?

Yeah, that was a heavy, heavy time. Then we had this commercial success or relatively successful for an underground kind of New York band. To have a gold record and a Grammy nomination was kind of a big deal. So there were a lot of people in my ear and it was just a strange time. I don't know that I necessarily wanna go back there. The bottom line is as initial inspiration and influences on you emotionally and intellectually and things you're going through, at the end of the day and I'm gonna paraphrase but Dvorak said, "Everyone has inspiration. It's the composer and the great musicians that then applies himself to constructing something. The creative process is part inspiration but you also need to apply yourself and use your ears and your brain."

Have other memories come up from doing the "Betty" album?

Robert Poss had an influence on this as well. He said I would write lines on pieces of paper and scatter 'em around the floor. I think he maybe read that about E.E. Cummings or Nick Cave. I don't know what it was but I liked that. I'm like, "Hey, yeah. It's a collection of images. This is a song and it doesn't have to be a narrative. I'm not reciting from a diary." So a lot went into those songs. It was painstaking attention to detail.

Which is what you were talking about earlier about the stream of consciousness approach to writing lyrics on "Betty."

Yeah, Bowie said to me, "Your guitar style is like Phil Manzanera. It sounds like it's haphazard and free but it's very thought out."

Did that make sense?

I thought it was a fairly accurate description of me. You work, study and practice and play and read and you progress but then when it comes to actually perform, you have to forget about everything and let it pour out.

Exactly right.

I think all the work goes into the arrangements of the songs and you comb over every word. Still, years later I can kick myself because there's like one word in a song that bothers me. I'm like, God, I knew I should have gone for the soft rhyme there. It would have been so much cooler."

Rob Echeverria replaced guitarist Peter Mengede on "Betty." What did that change bring?

My initial thought was I was gonna do all the guitars on the album. Peter's my friend and we're on friendly terms again but he's not as good a guitar player as I am. He would tell you that. He couldn't play certain things and I would have to sort of coach him through it and get in there. It's like the band became my band and that sort of early, sloppy punk rock happened. John, Henry and I were able to execute everything I was writing and Peter wasn't.

Though that may have hurt Peter Mengede's feelings, you had to hear the music the way you wanted it.

I felt on a personal level we'd kind of grown apart and there were a lot of things I had to keep under wraps. So it was time for a change and Rob was a very efficient guitar player and had good ears and could play anything. He really wanted to be on the record so he was taking things home and learning them at night. So I said, "F--k, I gotta give this guy a chance to play." Basically I'd play the songs and then we would double my part with a second guitar to play exactly what I was playing. Rob just was nailing it and I said, "Yeah, of course. This kid's doing all this work and he really wants to be part of this and I'm gonna let him be part of it." It was the right thing to do and he did a great job.

In 1997, you did the "Aftertaste" album with Dave Sardy [Devo, Bush]. Rob Echeverria had left the band by this time?

That's when I really decided I was having to hold the other guitar player's hand. It wasn't anything personal against Pete or Rob. People will be like, "Oh, Page Hamilton is a control freak" or whatever. I'm like, "Yeah, I guess I am to a certain extent. I want things a certain way. I've worked long and hard on these arrangements and I want them to feel like this."

Which is when you became a trio?

I did all the guitars on Aftertaste and that's been my approach until I got Dan [Beeman] in the band. Chris Traynor came on and played live with us and he actually played bass on the last three Helmet records. He's still a dear friend and we texted yesterday. He makes a lot more money playing with Bush than I could ever pay him.

What was that like doing all the guitars on "Aftertaste?"

It was a dream, hah hah hah. It was a lot easier because there was one less [person]. I said it takes nothing away from any of the people that have played with me but I don't need another guitar player on a Helmet album. You know what I mean?

Absolutely.

Everybody knows that at this point. I would just do it to keep that person happy. I felt like, "There's no one I have to keep happy. I'm just gonna do this. This is how I want it. I've already got John and Henry and I've got to work with them and their arrangements and get them up to speed." We spent a lot of time working on drum fills. It's a huge part of the band. There might be two drum fills in a song but they're gonna be the baddest drum fills you ever heard. Stanier was so dedicated to that and the grooves and stuff and Henry too. There might be one bass fill on an album but it was gonna be super tasty. It was a process of elimination and we'd figure out which one was the best and that's how we worked. It meant I was just working with my two guys rather than having to worry about another guy that was gonna feel excluded anyway. So it was good.

It has nothing to do with control but everything to do with hearing things the way you want to hear them.

Taking nothing away from those guys. Peter had a band Hansen that made a really good record and Rob was a great guitar player. I think it was Biohazard after us. He's a really good guitar player but obviously it's difficult to play someone else's guitar style. It's amazing to me those guys could play some of these things I was writing. It was ridiculous.

The band unraveled during the Aftertaste Tour?

Yeah, I knew Henry had become a bit disgruntled 'cause he started drinking again and that was like, "Oh, boy." He started smoking again. That's what it was. We always consumed our fair share of beer but I knew he was conflicted that he really wanted to dedicate to another style of music. So that was hard for me and it's hard not to get your feelings hurt and get nervous. As a bandleader, you want everyone to be happy.

How did John Stanier feel?

John was always my champion. He was always there on stuff but we knew Henry was gonna leave at the end of '97. I asked him just to finish the tour. We played in Torino, Italy was the last show. I said, "If could finish the year, that would be great." Then John had a couple of months to think about and he said, "Page, I think I'm gonna move on too." That was it.

How did you feel?

It was pretty much beyond my control. I understand people have other musical aspirations and Helmet was my band. At a certain point you wanna do something on your own and do something different. That's exactly how I was with Band of Susans. It was great and I learned a lot. It was eight or nine months versus 10 years. I would have liked to have taken a year off and then continued. I kinda went into a little bit of a crappy place for a while 'cause I went through all that stuff and eventually left my wife. New York became too much for me and it was just too easy to do nothing there.

Which is when you came out to Los Angeles?

Yeah, after September 11th it was kinda the last thing.

Were you in New York when it happened?

I was in LA Ρ†hen we got attacked so I couldn't get back home. It was pretty awful, yeah. I flew home that week, which was very strange obviously to be home. I went down to ground zero because a friend of mine lived behind Deutsche Bank and we had to get stuff out of her apartment and it was just unbelievable destruction. I'd never seen anything like that. But I just decided it was time. The band had split up and my marriage had split up and my city had been attacked. I needed to get my sh-t together. I hadn't been writing and it was just time for me to get back to work. LA is so isolated out here. It's a very strange place. A wonderful place but a very strange place.

Is this around the time you played with David Bowie?

Yeah, that happened about a month after I left my wife actually. I got the call from him and I think I stumbled in at four in the afternoon into my manager's apartment. Helmet had bought a house in the country and an apartment in the city for her and her husband. I finally said to her, "I've gotta use one of the places. I got this David Bowie gig." It was kind of insult to injury for her 'cause she was a huge Bowie fan. I said, "I'm sorry."

That must have been a cool gig playing on the Hours tour.

It was cool. I wish it had happened at a different time. I did a lot of work and learned 30 songs in two weeks and the first live show was Wembley Stadium. So I was like, "Could you have maybe booked something in a club with 5,000 people?" He's like, "Aw, you're fine." I wish my head had been in a better place but you don't know at the time. It was a wonderful experience.

You were obviously a Bowie fan?

The guy is in my opinion an absolute genius and he's just one of the nicest guys you ever want to meet. I learned so much from him. He would turn to me in rehearsals sometimes and we would be chain-smoking. I used to smoke and when Bowie smokes, you can smoke anywhere you are with him. It's like, "Elevator, TV show, Letterman. It doesn't matter. I'm the guest." So we're just smoking and he turns to me and goes [in Bowie's voice], "Advice to budding young songwriters," and he looks right at me. He's like, "I nicked half my songs from Danny Kaye's 'The Inch Worm' [song sung by actor Kaye in 1952 film "Hans Christian Andersen"]."

How weird.

I'm like, "Mmm, OK," hah hah hah. "Thank you, Mr. Bowie." He was a f--kin' amazing dude, man. He was very, very funny. It was really cool because we'd be on the road and eating Chinese food at LaGuardia Airport. We had one night we were flying to Canada to do MuchMusic Awards and I was sitting there eating Chinese food and Bowie just comes and sits down across from me. So I'm like, "Yeah, I'm having Chinese food at LaGuardia with Bowie. No big deal."

What great memories.

When I wrote "Betty," I had a vinyl copy of "Aladdin Sane" by my bed the whole time. I read those lyrics every night. "Aladdin Sane" was the record for me that "Betty" was [based on]. I don't know but it was just like, "Yeah, this is cool. Like it's rock but it's also artsy. The free jazz, cool 'Aladdin Sane' piano solo. 'Drive-In Saturday' and the swing 3/4 thing." I loved the artwork and I loved the lyrics. It was so weird that here I was playing songs off that album with the guy.

Did you tell Bowie that?

I didn't, no. I never told him that. He called me his quiet one. He said [in Bowie's voice], "Here's my quiet one" and my family would laugh. They're like, "Yeah, right." I don't really need to have my moment with Bowie and sponge off him. People would crowd around him all the time and he always had people talking in his ear. He'd get off the airplane in London and there's a film crew following him to get into the car. It's just nonstop. He's a super, super celebrity obviously and I was just honored to get to play that great music and whatever time I had with the man was fine with me. I wasn't looking for my moment. I just kinda kept to myself a lot.

What was it like during the live performances?

I thought the band was a little bit, mmm [hesitates] ... I don't know that they appreciated the magnitude of what they were doing. They were all side musicians. They were great players who played with everyone from Bryan Ferry to Duran Duran. I had my own band and already had a whole career with my own music so I really wanted to learn from and be around this guy that had such an impact on me.

The other players looked at more like just another gig?

It was cool. We had a few conversations but mostly I had a lot of music to learn in a short period of time.

Were you scoring music for films by this time?

I had started playing guitar on films a little earlier with Elliott Goldenthal [film music composer]. I was really fortunate to meet him through Warner Bros. My late, sweet friend Tim Carr who passed away in Thailand last year, even though he didn't win the Helmet bidding war was still a huge fan. He encouraged them to hire me for the movie Heat and I got in there with Elliott.

Elliot Goldenthal has been another mentor in your life?

Elliot has been another story and a huge, positive influence on me and Matthias Gohl his producer and all the guys they work with like Joel Iwataki. Just wonderful guys I was around and I was learning this whole new world and they were just fascinated by the crap storm I could make, hah hah hah. They were like, "You need to be scoring movies" and I'm like, "Yeah, that's a good idea." So I kind of slowly got into it and it's just a matter of schedule when the band's been busy or if I'm doing something else. The last two years have been a focus and I've done four movies and we just won Best Score for this movie "Sons of Liberty" from the Action Films Festival.

That must have felt amazing.

I was completely surprised. I'm like, "Really?" He told us a couple weeks ago, "Hey, you guys are nominated for Best Score for Sons of Liberty" and I'm like, "That's f--kin' amazing. No sh-t?" He just emailed us yesterday and said, "Hey, you guys won." I'm like, "OK, two nincompoops. The heavy metal rock guy and the German orchestra guy, my pal Patrick Kirst who teaches at USC." So it's pretty cool. We have a great time doing it. These guys assured me, I said, Hey, if I do this I want to experiment and I want to try some things out. I don't think I'm capable of writing run-of-the-mill film music. I want to incorporate orchestra and the electric guitar things I've been kind of experimenting with Elliot over the last 15 years.

They were open to that?

They were like, "Absolutely. We're down." So that's kinda been the approach and it's fun. On September 9th, a compilation release of my bits for the first three movies we did came out. Nile Rodgers has a label called Sumthing Else Music Works so they're putting it out, which is pretty cool.

When you formed Gandhi with Anthony Truglio, was that meant to be a different kind of band than Helmet?

I'd been writing and a lot of songs ended up being rearranged for Helmet albums. It was just a bunch of very dear friends of mine: John Andrews, Matt Flynn who now plays with Maroon 5 and Christian Bongers who's a bassist. Then Anthony Truglio who's got a metal band called Liege Lord and they just did a couple of reunion shows. He's one of my best friends but we weren't together long enough to really figure out what we were gonna do.

It never really turned into a serious project?

I had written some songs and we worked on some of the songs I was writing and it turned into a bunch of drinking buddies. 'Cause Flynn as much as I love him, he can be a complete pain in the a-s. He's like, "A half-hour rehearsal is plenty - let's go to the bar." I was like, "Maybe if we want to do something cool we should work" but he just wasn't into it. We'd literally go rehearse for an hour and then we'd go to the bar and get drunk. I never laughed that hard and never had more fun in a band. It was ridiculous but we were not destined for greatness. It was just, hah hah hah, pathetic.

One of the song you wrote with Gandhi was "Black Light," which would eventually come out on the "Size Matters" album in 2004. It was a remarkable song.

I said, "Why wouldn't that be released as a single?" It was a b-side and it was about my ex-wife. I was actually in New Orleans at the time. My friend Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails was very generous and built me my own little recording studio in their live room because they didn't do it much live. They gobo'd [movable acoustic isolation panel] it off, gave me a computer and built me this whole room.

Trent Reznor must have been a good friend to help you in that way.

They taught me how use Logic Audio and I was in there and it was really air-conditioned and cold. I got this idea and said, "This air-conditioned hum/I start to feel numb" and I started to get the idea for the song and how things are revealed under black light. That was sort of the basis of the song and how people hide things that are written on their faces and you can't see it until you reveal it in a black light.

That's an amazing idea for a song.

Charlie Clouser [producer on "Size Matters"] was a huge part of that. The guitar sound on that thing was some plug in we were running into the computer and it would crash every 60 seconds and we could only get like 60 seconds of that sound. Because back then technology was bad. It would crash and we'd go, "God, that sounds amazing." We'd have to reboot the whole thing and an hour later, "Let's try it again." That's how it was kind of put together. It was always one of my favorite tunes.

"Black Light" was so different than anything else Helmet had ever done.

A part of that is Charlie is a drummer and a god-awful guitar player and he came up with this super Diatonic thing. It starts on C or whatever bassline but it's so beautiful. We had these weird guitar sounds and they gave me so much leeway. I was like, "Ahh, you can play something really simple and open like this and build this up vertically harmonically" rather than having these rhythm arrangements that Helmet did. It was a real revelation. A song like "LA Water" on the last album ["Seeing Eye Dog"] was an example of that. Super simple changes. "Enemies" ["Size Matters"] as well where you can build arrangements in a different way and let there be all this inner harmonic tension.

Which is exactly the opposite of what Helmet had done before.

Gary Hagberg, my mentor used to say, the upper tertials where things were happening. You heard it in Glenn Branca's music [a composer Hamilton worked with pre-Helmet in a project called the Guitar Orchestra] and Band of Susans. I was so interested in the rhythm thing that a lot of times that stuff would only appear in my solos. Then suddenly it became part of the arrangement of the song.

That was the fundamental shift from the "Size Matters" record moving forward.

It was really fun working with Charlie Clouser. He was an absolutely brilliant computer guy.

In 2006, you brought back Wharton Tiers to work on the "Monochrome" album.

It was weird because I had to go through another drummer change. John Tempesta [drummer on "Size Matters"] played with the Cult and I couldn't afford to pay him what they were paying him. It was tough because I already had songs written. We got together for lunch to talk about I thought the studio and he gave me the news he got this opportunity to play with the Cult and they were paying him a lot of money.

Money is always part of it.

I understood. That's how I've lost [all my drummers]. I had Flynn from Maroon 5, Johnny in the Cult, and Frank Ferrer in Guns N' Roses that I've played with. They were great and loved working with me but Helmet's not on that commercial level of success that I can pay musicians to stick around.

You worked with drummer Mike Jost on "Monochrome."

I auditioned a bunch of drummers and found this kid in St. Louis that was recommended from this band I'd produced Bullets and Octane. He was just a great drummer but the unfortunate part of it was he was inexperienced and it was tough in the studio. Wharton said, "Man, I can't believe you're so patient. You can play the arrangement with him 25 times in a row and not make a mistake" and I said, "Well I have to. I'm just trying to get this kid comfortable in the studio." He had never really recorded before.

You worked with Chris Traynor on bass again.

Chris Traynor has many strengths and one of his strengths is definitely not patience. I'm like, "Chris, why don't you take off? I'll work with Mike and we'll get this happening." It was an interesting experience. I got sick from the stress. You can never go back home. Going back and staying at my apartment in New York and like I did with "Strap It on" and walking to the studio, it was a tough experience.

Did you feel comfortable working with Wharton Tiers again?

Unfortunately the Wharton experience made it pretty bad. He came in the studio to show me video directors and I'm like, "Do you know I'm the writer/singer/guitar player/producer of this band? That means if I'm not working, no one's working. I have to work from the first note to the last note. So when you're in here showing me sh-tty rock videos that I could give a rat's a-s about, you're f--king wasting my studio time." It was just a band all-around experience.

That's strange your partnership with Wharton would feel so wrong.

I even felt like I rushed. Wharton was like, "Well, let's just get a vocal track and we can redo it?" I'm like, "Really? I have the flu." I felt good about the songs. I don't feel great about the record. There are songs I'm really proud of: "Swallowing Everything" we do it live and it's really fun to play. I feel like I could rerecord the album and not be sick and be a lot happier with it. It wasn't my favorite experience.

It doesn't sound like it.

Then I got robbed by the label. They kept money for a song I wrote for "Saw III" and they never paid me tour support so I lost all that money on the Warped Tour. It was just kind of a bad feel all around.

What about "Seeing Eye Dog?"

That's why "Seeing Eye Dog" was self-released. My manager who's like my older brother said, "Hey, we have this imprint ["Work Song"] with Joe Henry" who's an old, dear friend of mine. "Why don't we just put it out on that?" and I'm like, "That sounds good to me."

Because there was no label breathing down your neck, do you think that freedom was reflected in the music?

Yeah, absolutely. I also met Toshi Kasai through Totimoshi. I produced two-and-a-half records for Totimoshi and Tony [Aguilar] from Toti loved the Melvins and worships Buzz. Buzz had met Toshi through Adam [Jones] from Tool 'cause Toshi was assistant engineer on "Lateralus" or something like that. Adam is like, "You've got to work with this kid. He's great." So Buzz had been using him and I just kind of fell into him from Tony wanting to work with him and I had such a great experience working with him that I use him for all the Helmet stuff now.

Did it feel different working with Toshi Kasai than it did with Wharton Tiers?

It was a completely experience and felt like a brotherhood again and we were all in it together and everybody was on the same page.

On "Morphing" you can hear all your movie music influences coming out.

Absolutely.

Amazing song.

Thanks, man. I'm very proud of that as well. It was great. Mark Renk [vocal coach] knew this girl Carly Smithson [We Are the Fallen] he had worked with and I wanted a female voice. I had this beautiful melody and if there's one thing you can say about my voice is it's not beautiful. It's unique. Mark said, "You're a great singer. You have your sound." I go, "Well, that's up for debate. I know I'm good at what I do but I want somebody that has a beautiful voice. Angelic." So she came in and I had to do all these vowel sounds - aah eee ayyy ooo uuu - and layers those with the 10 guitar tracks and the orchestral parts. Then I said, "OK, now you gotta sing this melody. It's so beautiful and so hooky but it's only gonna happen one time." It's super discipline. It was kind of that school of, "Let's not give 'em a hook," hah hah hah.

You were able to pay tribute to the Beatles with "And Your Bird Can Sing?"

Yeah.

Were you a John Lennon fan more than a Paul McCartney fan?

A fan of both of 'em. I adored both of them but my voice is better-suited to John Lennon. You would sort of describe his vocal range as a little tighter than McCartney's. But he has this intensity and I love that strain in his voice he gets 'cause he's just going for it. That's kind of always been my approach to singing - there's not a lot of technique. You try to get the emotional content and the feel and that to me was Lennon.

It's a perfect description of his singing.

I thought that song stood out in the Beatles' catalog. It's so unique and the harmonized guitars with the inverted 3rds and 4ths and 6ths. It's just like, "Wow, this is just so ingenious and beautiful" and all in two minutes.

George Harrison's guitar parts on that were amazing.

So good. It's just so damn good. I loved it. It was a good key for me. I lowered it a whole step 'cause he has a little higher voice than I have.

From the beginning, you've always been part of these avant garde projects. That's always been part of your vocabulary?

Yeah, for sure. It's never really thought out or planned. Recently, Ben Neill [trumpet] asked me to play and talk about a brilliant guy. He invented this mutant trumpet where he could do MIDI triggers and playing the bass parts. I was fortunate to be friends with Timothy Leary and he had this Dimension Beam in his house when I was walking back to his bedroom one day when he was sick at the end of his life. It was triggering samples and sounds and I was like, "What the hell is this?" The kid that invented the thing happened to be there and so he had one sent to my hotel room. Jamming with Ben, I said, "I have this thing. It's cool and you can trigger things with it."

You used the Dimension Beam with Ben Neill and the Goldbug project?

I had metallic tape on my headstock at SXSW and it was a trio - guitar, drums and Ben - and I was triggering these visual images while we were playing. It was really fun. We opened for Glenn Branca in London and that was another really fun, cool experience.

You worked with Caspar Brutzmann [guitar] on the "Zulutime" album?

I learned so much from him. I'd heard Mute Massaker and I just said, "Wow, this is incredibly creative and beautiful." It's like where Hendrix might be now. It was just so cool. They asked me for a quote about Caspar and I said, "Well, if he'll get together with me and open for us in Europe" and then that whole thing came about and he asked me to do the record and it was a couple days of improvising at Wharton's studio. It was just great. I love the way Caspar makes music. He's like [in German accent], "It just feels like we should take a break now and go have some cocktails at the bar and then we come back and we'll have a good mood." I'm like, "Yeah, I like it. I like that approach to working."

You also sang and played on "All for Nothing" from the new Linkin Park album "The Hunting Party."

Yeah, it was super cool. They're great dudes and it was interesting. Early on they were working at NRG Studios and I was working there at the time so I knew of them. But being an old curmudgeon, I was still listening to Thelonious Monk and trying to figure out how to play a solo jazz guitar version of "Ask Me Now." So I'm working on that kind of stuff and I think they were kind of surprised I was so in the dark about their music.

They figured you'd know who Linkin Park was?

They played me a bunch of stuff and said, "This is back to our hardcore albums." I listened to a bunch of songs and I go, "This is really good. Super catchy. I don't hear hardcore - I hear really well-written rock/pop songs. They're just great." I did a guitar take from beginning to end of the song. I said, "I want to do this but I want to live with the song for a couple days. I don't want to come in and crap all over it. I'm not into not being prepared."

That was a great compliment to them.

Mike Shinoda and I were emailing and he said, "I love it." We had a phone conversation and meet them and really liked them. I played the guitar from beginning to end and Brad [Delson], the guitarist got up and hugged me and in the control room I think they clapped or something and were like, "This is awesome." They were just super humble and super great dudes.

Very nice band.

Mike explained, "Hey, we make records a lot differently than you probably are used to. We make 'em kind of like hip hop records and we put 'em together and then we 'em later." I said, "Yeah, that's the opposite of the way we make records." But I'm open to any and all creative approaches and they're all valid as long as you're dedicated. They were just really good dudes. It's been nice too because they have such a huge following and they're a household name. Recently I've done some interviews and someone said, "I talked to Phil Anselmo and he said Pantera was kind of a hairspray, glammy band and we heard 'Strap It on' and that changed us." It's great to hear this. I went to see the Deftones and Chino [Moreno] said something similar.

That is the ultimate respect when it comes from other musicians.

It's cool that bands out there doing this will cite you as an influence. It's a good feeling.

Any chance of another Helmet record?

Yes, I have some songs written. We're doing this tour and I'm just recovering from the summer tour. We leave and I stay in France to produce a band for a couple weeks and then we'll come back and have some East Coast Betty dates. Then I'll finish the writing in January and probably get in the studio in Februry and March and track this thing. I have some stuff done and other sketches.

Can you talk about direction at all?

It's been interesting. In-between the last album and this, I think I've scored three movies and produced several bands and done some rock camps with kids. You start teaching songwriting and producing 12-year olds and it gives you a different perspective and you learn so much from it. You're like, "Ah, I need to apply this to my own situation."

Thank you so much for your indulgence.

Absolutely. My pleasure, Steve.

Play all the good notes, OK?

OK, sounds good. See ya.

Interview by Steven RosenUltimate-Guitar.com 2014

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