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Biography

Viewed by many as blowing the cobwebs out of a prematurely stale Grunge scene HELMET offered up a fresh, almost disjointed Rock sound. HELMET married guitarist Page Hamilton's affection for avant-garde Jazz with Nu-Rock sensibilities and a deliberate non image policy. Having relocated to New York city from Portland, Oregon, Hamilton first made his presence felt with Indie guitar Rockers BAND OF SUSANS.

Hamilton then assembled HELMET comprising Australian guitarist Peter Mengede, another Oregon native bassist Henry Bogdan and Florida drummer John Stanier from Florida. This union produced the 'Strap It On' mini-album, a vicious slice of numbing distortion for Amphetamine Reptile. The aggression displayed generated worthy praise throughout the Rock underground, soon igniting a label bidding auction.

Their 1992 Interscope debut, 'Meantime', although far from being a commercial success only reaching number 68 on the Billboard charts, would influence a whole swathe of bands in its wake. HELMET scored valuable radio and MTV airings with tracks 'Unsung', 'Give It' and 'In the Meantime'. Heavy touring found the band as guests to FAITH NO MORE in Europe and MINISTRY in North America. Mengede would make his exit, later re-appearing on HANDSOME's 1997 album, and the remaining trio allied themselves with Irish Rappers HOUSE OF PAIN on the 1993 movie soundtrack 'Judgement Night', their contribution of 'Just Another Victim' garnering further mass exposure.

1994's follow up 'Betty', recorded with ex-REST IN PIECES guitarist Rob Echeverria, fell short of attaining the glory of its predecessor. The media praised 'Betty' to the hilt but, although the lead track 'Wilma's Rainbow' had scored on radio, the sales of 'Meantime' were far from matched. The album contained a workout of DIZZY GILLESPIE's 'Beautiful Morning' and also included the cut 'Milquetoast'. HELMET benefited too from inclusions on soundtrack albums such as 'Johnny Mnemonic', 'Jerky Boys' and 'Feeling Minnesota'. Echeverria bailed out to join Brooklyn's BIOHAZARD curtailing plans to get to grips with a fresh studio album for 1996. A collection of B sides and rarities billed as 'Born Annoying' surfaced to tide fans over until a new record as Hamiliton collaborated in the studio on projects with Caspar Brotzmann of EINSTURZENDE NEUBAUTEN. These sessions resulted in the 'Zulutime' album.

Despite a return to form with the 'Aftertaste' record, on which Hamilton alone provided guitars, HELMET would still struggle. The band, adding ORANGE 9MM man Chris Traynor on guitar, would tour but ultimately called it a day in September of 1998. Page Hamilton would session on the inaugural 2000 demo from Nu-Metal act REACH, donate his talents to the NINE INCH NAILS album 'Fragile' and even work with DAVID BOWIE. Stanier founded the all Australian MARK OF CAIN.

During 2001 John Stanier had united with ex-FAITH NO MORE man Mike Patton, Kevin Rutmanis of THE MELVINS and Duane Denison of JESUS LIZARD to create TOMAHAWK. Erstwhile HELMET guitarist Chris Traynor joined British Rockers BUSH during early 2002. Page Hamilton would also be linked to a further high profile act, Australians SILVERCHAIR, although these reports turned out to have little substance. Next in line for Hamilton would be LIMP BIZKIT, news arriving that he was assisting on writing sessions for their 'Less Is More' album.

Seemingly adding yet another string to his bow Hamilton formed an alliance with the erstwhile WHITE ZOMBIE duo of Rob 'Blasko' Nicholson and drummer Johnny Tempesta. Nicholson had also served a term with noted Portland Thrashers CRYPTIC SLAUGHTER. Despite Hamilton's occupation with GANDHI et al, Stanier with TOMAHAWK and Trayner with BUSH, more substantial rumblings were foretelling a HELMET reunion projected for 2003. As it transpired in August the Hamilton / Blasko / Tempesta union, adding former ORANGE 9MM and HELMET guitarist Chris Traynor, according to reports, took on the title HELMET. As the band supposedely readied new material working with the NINE INCH NAILS credited keyboard player Charlie Clouser a compilation 'Helmet Unsung: The Very Best of Helmet (1991-1997)' was fortuitously timed for September. However, within a day of this announcement Hamilton denied any plans for a HELMET reformation.

Page Hamilton would donate vocal tracks to a version of the KISS classic 'Calling Dr. Love' for a tribute album 'Spin The Bottle' in 2004 and would also partner with ex-RATT singer STEPHEN PEARCY for a rendition of AC/DC's 'Rock & Roll Damnation' included on the Rufftown 'We Salute You' tribute album. The singer also united with guitarist Scott Ian of ANTHRAX to lay down a take on METALLICA's 'Motorbreath' for the 'Metallic Assault' tribute album through Big Deal Records.

Subsequently the HELMET reformation was confirmed, Hamilton being joined by guitarist Chris Traynor, ex-ANTHRAX bassist Frank Bello and drummer John Tempesta for a new album 'Size Matters' recorded at Cello Studios in Hollywood. The band announced a return to the road commencing 17th September at Atlanta's Cotton Club, HELMET's first gig in over seven years. INSTRUCTION then Stoners TOTIMOSHI would lend support for the trek. However, these shows would be pushed back to early October due to a broken collar bone injury sustained by band leader Page Hamilton while mountain biking. The band also pushed back the original release date of 'Size Matters' to October to accommodate. According to Nielsen SoundScan, 'Size Matters' sold 9,723 copies in its first week of US sales to debut at no. 121 on the Billboard album charts.

The band featured on the 'Sno-Core' US tour commencing January 2005, a package billing with CHEVELLE, STRATA, CROSSFADE and FUTURE LEADERS OF THE WORLD. Frank Bello then exited to re-join the "Classic" ANTHRAX line-up and HELMET duly drafted ex-HANDSOME and JETS TO BRAZIL man Jeremy Chatelain on bass. European shows throughout June mixed headliners, supports to both SLIPKNOT and PAPA ROACH plus appearances at Germany's 'Rock am Ring' and 'Rock im Park' events, the Dutch 'Fields of Rock' event, Belgian 'Graspop Metal Meeting' and the 'Download' festival in the UK. September US headline gigs had FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE as openers. Unfortunately, due to disappointing sales of 'Size Matters', the band was let go by Interscope in November.

HELMET signed to Warcon Enterprises in February 2006. A new album would be recorded with producer Wharton Tiers, responsible for the first two albums 'Strap It On' and 'Meantime'. The band joined the gargantuan 2006 'Warped' festival tour that summer, this trek lasting through June 16th in Columbia, Maryland, winding its way through the USA and Canada and concluding on August 14th in Montreal.

The 'Monochrome' sold just over 5,500 copies in its first week of release in the United States to debut at number 159 on the Billboard album charts. In mid October HELMET unveiled a fresh rhythm section comprising Milwaukee natives bassist John Fuller and drummer Kyle Stevenson.

On December 1st 2006 HELMET joined the supporting cast for GUNS N' ROSES US tour. After Fuller was refused at the U.S.-Canadian border, the SEBASTIAN BACH and SPREAD EAGLE credited bassist Rob De Luca stood in for Canadian dates. HELMET embarked on Australian shows in March 2007.

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