Helmet, 'Seeing Eye Dog' -- New Album
"It's a cool album. I'm really into it. It's really good. The mastering guy was freaking out. That makes you feel good. You have to take some time to step back from it. I'm the singer, songwriter, guitar player, producer. I do all the backing vocals and all the extra instruments. It's just about putting everything into it and making it great. You can't really worry about what people are going to say ... a lot of people have a musical agenda or a stylistic agenda," Hamilton said. "'I like emo.' Well, we're not emo. 'OK fine.' We're not metal. We're not hardcore. It's just Helmet."
That didn't make it difficult, however, to perform as part of the Warped Tour a couple years back. "It was fun," Hamilton said hesitantly. "It was all right. We had a good time. I've got a good group. I'm still with my two main crew guys that did the Warped Tour with us, and Chris who played guitar on the Warped Tour played bass on the last three albums. He played on this album. So we have a good time. But we didn't really seem to fit into that. That seemed to be a pretty much punk rock emo [thing.] That's not our thing. The good news is I love what I do. I love making music and playing guitar and stuff and getting by without trying to be something that I'm not. The bad news is it's not for everybody."
And he's vowing to own his own music. After a "disheartening" relationship with his former label, Warcon Records, Hamilton is releasing 'Seeing Eye Dog' on his own on June 22. "It took me awhile to get my head wrapped around the music business again," Hamilton said. "But I'm ready to go. The imprint will be my manager's label that he shares with this guy [singer/songwriter] Joe Henry, who's an old pal of mine, called Work Song. If I have my druthers and can continue this work, I will continue this for the rest of my time on Earth."
His mission now is promoting 'Seeing Eye Dog' with tour dates in Flint, Mich. (May 21), Columbus, Ohio (May 22), Pittsburgh (May 23) and Glendale, Ariz. (April 24). By the Glendale show, as part of KUPD-FM's U Fest, Hamilton hopes to have four new songs down to perform at the gig.
"I really, really want to play the whole album. There's only one song on the album that is not performable live. It's this movie thing I did, this orchestral guitar with nine or 10 guitars, cellos and violas and clarinets and oboes and pianos and female voice. That's a really cool piece of music that we won't be able to do live."