Hamell on Trial: A One-Man Musical Tornado
Ed Hamell, who performs as Hamell on Trial, is not your average acoustic-guitar solo act. The first time I saw him, at the old Fabulous Satellite opening for Syd Straw and the Skeletons, I didn't know what to expect. Within a couple of songs, with that little piece of wood and steel plugged into 100 amps of Marshall power, I was calling him the Hendrix of the acoustic guitar.
You see, if Ed Hamell didn't have a guitar and microphone to channel his anger, he'd probably be a SWAT team member, a mercenary, a wrecking ball, a steam hammer, a dynamite expert, an assassin, something violent, powerful, and swift. He is a one-man musical tornado.
His record label describes his records as "loud, fast music informed by politics, passion, energy and intelligence, played by a guy with a sharp tongue and a wicked sense of humor." Album titles include Rant and Roll, Songs For Parents Who Enjoy Drugs, and The Chord Is Mightier Than the Sword.
Tonight he'll be checking the walls at Leon's Lounge for structural integrity. Random power outages in Midtown are possible, so folks might want to stock up on batteries and candles.
We caught up with Hamell as he was waiting to catch his flight to Houston.
Rocks Off: You haven't been down here in a while.
Hamell on Trial: And I don't really know why that is, I've always liked playing Houston. I've just gotten out of the habit.
RO: We first saw you on that tour with Syd Straw.
HOT: Funny, I remember that pretty well. That was the last night of the tour. And you crazy Houston people kept sending rounds of tequila shots to the stage.
RO: Yeah, I might know some people who were involved in that.
HOT: I figured. Let's not let it happen again. I'm trying to keep a career together here.
RO: What brings you down at this time?
HOT: Actually, I have a business meeting in Houston. But what made this trip possible was a club gig and a house concert in Austin this weekend. There are a couple of guys who opened a club in Austin last year, and they try to get me down about twice a year now.