The Art Of The Sit-In | Tom Hamilton

JAMBASE: While I have you I do have to ask about Brothers Past. Accurate to say that Brothers Past will play when possible, but not consistently?

[Photo by: Allan Greig]

TH: Yeah, that’s pretty accurate. Our keyboard player owns a music school, and our drummer is an attorney. They’re just not in a road dog position. I love that band and I love what we did and the songs we had, but there’s no plan to build it. The only way to build a band is to fucking grind it out.

Clay [Parnell] and myself, we love being on the road. Brothers Past stopped playing and we did not – we did some Join shows, I had Clay play a few Babies shows, but he and I both just love building something. We love creating a community and a vibe and being out there and running into friends. It’s a beautiful world. So I can’t say definitively what will happen with Brothers Past, maybe we do get into a situation somewhere down the line where our members could take four weeks off and tour, I don’t know.

I will say that we do talk about it. We’ll work on some things here and there, and we’re all in agreement that if we’re going to do it, we’d want to do it right. We’d want to make a record – we’re really good at the studio thing. We put out this box set [Everything Must Go in 2010] and some of that was the best shit we ever made – incredibly interesting, weird shit. Who knows? I’m so happy for Clay that he found that gig with the Particle guys, and I’m going to do my thing, but who knows.

JAMBASE: Safe to say American Babies will be on the road all year?

TH: Yes, no rest for the wicked. We’re out nine weeks right now, and we’ll do the summer festival thing, and come fall, we’ll be right back at it. We’ll tour nationally.

JAMBASE: You mentioned the Dead and your improvisational urges so you knew I’d have to ask you about Joe Russo’s Almost Dead. When Russo chatted with JamBase a few months ago he mentioned that you guys played that Brooklyn Bowl gig last year and knew it was good but were still surprised when there was so much buzz about it. Is that how you felt too?

TH: I think so. You know we didn’t improvise much in the rehearsals for that, we were just trying to learn the songs. So when it came to the show, and the spots we did open up, we didn’t know what was going to happen. That band – that’s Bustle [in Your Hedgerow] plus me, and if you take away Marco and add me, that’s the original American Babies band. So we’ve all played together a bunch but oddly never really all five of us.

We had no idea if it would be good, and I remember me and Joe sitting up in the dressing room at Brooklyn Bowl and we were like, what the fuck just happened? What was that? That was crazy! We got a recording and listened to it and said, OK, wow, that is as good as we thought it was. And yeah we got some buzz from it and that was cool but we all have other things. So we decided to leave it as just that one off and then the idea came together to do another show at the Cap in December, and the idea going into that was OK, was this a fluke or not? The first show was sold out but it was a low ticket price and it was the Freaks Ball and the Cap show was a higher price. But it came really close to selling out and the playing was really inspired – we got out there.

So we learned it wasn’t an accident – that’s what we can do when we play together. We’ll see what happens next. I’m certainly open to doing more of it but it’s a matter of getting five packed schedules together. We’ll have to see.

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