An Open Letter to Page Hamilton of Helmet, Who Is One of My Favorite Guitarists

Hey Page!

Thank you so much for the show tonight. We are very much cut from the same cloth. I have been having a difficult stretch as a musician due to an auto accident, and it was inspiring to see you do what you at such a high level, and to see your new band commit so much to keeping your music alive. It was awesome. Your rhythm guitarist has impeccable time. He swings AND rocks, like you do, which ain’t easy.

As you so clearly noted, there were approximately 7 women in the audience. Seeing as the last heavy show I went to was the DTA Death tribute, and at that one I was felt up and ultimately went home with a bunch of bruises, I still consider this show a win. You guys were awesome, and I only had to elbow one guy somewhat mildly in the groin!

That said. I’m a little bummed to hear that you were excited to have 7 women at your show.  Having been in the venue management business here in NY for some years, I believe the Bowery Ballroom is a 650 cap. I am sorry to hear this 1/92.85 ratio is an improvement for you.

On a related note, I am also pretty bummed to hear that you don’t think any of us know much about how to voice chord extensions, and that you feel strongly enough about this matter to bring it up to all 7 of us at once, in front of the other 343 people in the crowd. Because I am probably the only person in the audience that can hear your jazz chops, your sense of harmony, the way you ride the rest of your band about the way they place the time. Your ability to control these things in order to make accessible music that works on a number of levels is legit.  I have looked up to you as a player and a composer from quite some time.

In fact, I learned a lot from you as a kiddo. And when I was in college, I learned a lot from you about sticking to my guns.  Therefore, I was happy to see you play tonight, because you killed it. It was exactly what I cam efor. But I didn’t really need you to show the cute little 20-something girl with the hot sparkly red nails and stuff how that 13#9 voicing should be fingered. Because she was standing right in front of me, and while you were doing that I was actually holding the fingering up back at you, because you asked about it.  And when you asked if anyone could sing the root, I did, about six inches from the stage. But, my nails need to be done, maybe…? It’s been a busy week, playing this old guitar thing and all.  And spending 25 years getting better at it has, I’ll admit, aged me just a bit.

I made an attempt to talk to you about it after the show, and when I told you that I teach the guitar for a living you said “oh that’s so great! I love teaching at children’s music camps!”

You know what I have to say to that, with as much love as I can muster, because you are genuinely awesome?!?

F*CK YOU!! Also, here’s some really heavy atonal music I wrote when I was 26 or so, which was a number of years after I graduated from guitar school: http://youtu.be/CN1TAI4gus0

You may dig it, or you may not.  But it just goes to show, you never know who has been listening to what you really have to say, all these years. And I can tell you have a LOT to say. We would probably be great friends. So maybe next time, don’t assume those of us sporting those mammaries down in front have never seen our old friend, Mr13#9? Because I eat that shit for lunch.

xoxo,
Lily Maase – guitarist
www.lilymaase.com

PS – Please do tell your rhythm fella he has really crunchy time. It really ties the band together!

PPS – Have an awesome tour! NY is a tough market, and I overheard you say you helped pay for tonight’s ‘sellout’ out of pocket. Kudos, I have definitely done the same in other cities! For what it’s worth, I have seen you twice with two different lineups since 2010 and tonight was definitely the better of the two.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself and will make an effort to come back EVERY night you are in NY, if for no other reason than to inspire you to voice some more challenging chords.