“I became this musician because of jazz. I mean, I still wake up every day and work on Charlie Parker’s Hot House!” Even with a broken finger, Helmet’s Page Hamilton is one of the all-time great heavy riffsmiths – but he owes it all to jazz

Page Hamilton
(Image credit: Nick Marcum)

In LEFT, Page Hamilton may have just turned in Helmet’s most political album yet. Above a patented mix of drop-tuned riffs and hard-edged rhythmic displacement, the alt-metal icon sounds off on anything from cyclical patterns of U.S. gun violence (Gun Fluf) to the unearned, puffed-chest politicking of the modern-day Republican Party (Big Shot, Dislocated). 

Though Hamilton tells Guitar World he’s generally avoided standing on a soapbox throughout Helmet’s nearly 35-year career, Left’s treatises still speak to a broader trend within his hefty songbook. 

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Gregory Adams

Gregory Adams is a Vancouver-based arts reporter. From metal legends to emerging pop icons to the best of the basement circuit, he’s interviewed musicians across countless genres for nearly two decades, most recently with Guitar World, Bass Player, Revolver, and more – as well as through his independent newsletter, Gut Feeling. This all still blows his mind. He’s a guitar player, generally bouncing hardcore riffs off his ’52 Tele reissue and a dinged-up SG.