ED'S NOT DEAD, HAMELL COMES ALIVE

by HAMELL ON TRIAL

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  • Hamell not only records music, performs live, does independent writing, he also paints. All of the images below, and many you see as the accompanying artwork on the digital releases, are Hamell paintings. These vary in size and price, but are all acrylic on canvas. Hamell paints scenes inspired by the 'underground' and 'disenfranchised' of our society. Ed uses bold and bright colors in his paintings which contrast the darker subject matter, championing the underclass, drawing you into the characters he depicts, endearing you to them and sparking emotions one might not anticipate.Hamell is also available for specific painting commissions. For serious inquiries to purchase Hamell original art contact Emily at hamelltv@gmail.com
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about

I was touring a lot opening for Ani Difranco. These were infinitely bigger crowds than I was used to, cutting my teeth in larger arenas. Thankfully her audience, (and her) were very receptive to my work. She started having one of her in-house recording engineers record me live every night, it was kind of an unspoken thing that potentially Righteous Babe was going to do a live album. Very exciting!! Unfortunately I was involved in a fairly serious automobile accident that laid me up for 9 months. I broke three vertebrae, my wrist, my ankle and had 52 staples in my head. Had to wear an upper body brace for the duration of the 9 months, 24/7. Needless to say, as I make my living playing music, I was without income for that amount of time. Ani's manager Scot Fisher called me and generously offered to give me the tapes so I could self-release, there by getting the money myself. Unbelievable. My dear friend George Fontaine who now is the president of New West Records offered to manufacture it for me. Once again, unbelievable. I'm blessed with many incredible friends. So this is what Hamell opening Ani sounded like. My road manager for many years Ricki C sifted through the tapes and found the best performances for me, he has great taste...I trust him. Enjoy!

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released 08 October 2013

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HAMELL ON TRIAL New York, New York

Hamell on Trial is loud, fast music informed by politics, intelligence and a wicked sense of humor.
1995-Mercury Records-Big as Life, The Chord is Mightier Than the Sword.
1997- Choochtown
2003-Righteous Babe Records-Tough Love
2005, Songs For Parents Who Enjoy Drugs.
2007-“The Terrorism Of Everyday Life,” (Edinburgh Fringe Herald Award)
2012-New West Records -The Happiest Man Alive.
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Track Name: SUGARFREE
I wanna know what you got to say...Don't dilly dally give me right away...I'm looking for truth there's nary a trace, it's all candy coated and right in my face...Give it to me..Sugarfree!! Give it to me...Sugarfree!

Let those words fly from your lips! ...Take out your pistol shoot from the hip... I'll try to take it best I can, it might make me a better man... Give it to me..Sugarfree!

That Irish Girl she's got you bummin' that Irish girl she's sayin' something to me....

Open up and let it blow... I got a minute tell me all you know...you're gonna lose me dealin' with fashion, you're gonna win me dealin' with passion..Give it to me Sugarfree!!
Track Name: 7 SEAS
Cold bitter day, the street deserted the music store the only shop open, I stand outside my hands jammed into my empty pockets. A bunch of guitars crowd eager in the front but an old battered guitar in the back spoke to me, cracked whisper voice, "Hey Buddy! You wanna go for a ride?" I'm skeptical, this guitars almost dust I say, 'What you got in mind old timer?" and that guitar pushed it way to the front, saintly...sincere..."Go for a ride boy! Ancient faces, chariot races, forbidden places, exotic embraces, pyramid construction, camel riding, time machine gliding, white line fever believer, ride your thumb to Texaco, Mexico, gas card syphon hose No-Doz, Ride the lightning, Ride the Wild Surf, Ride a White Swan, Jenny take a motherfucking ride for God sakes!!

I said 'Whoa, hold on there Chatty Baby! I said, 'How old are you anyway guitar?' And that guitar said, 'I was born in '37, on the road by 11 and I can play as sweet as an axe from heaven, but I need a partner, to start here, like the James boys, Frank and Jesse, like the Untouchables with Elliot Nessie, like Bonnie and Clyde when they get aggressie, like Romeo and Juliet when they start their carressie, like Bartles and James a pause to refreshie, like salt and Pepper like to see 'em undressie, like Sid and Nancie dead and gone God blessie, like the Everly Brothers how their voices they meshie like Jake LaMotta and his brother Joe Peschi......

i said, 'Whoa, hold on there tandem Ted," I said, 'How much you cost anyway guitar?" and that guitar said 'I'm a mere 200 dollars, " and i said, 'Well I only got a mere 10 dollars" and that guitar said, 'Well you go through that door over there and you give that 10 dollars to the man behind the counter and you pay the balance off quick, you know, when your ship comes in." So I gave that man the ten dollars and I waited for my ship to come in. I'd go down to the dock everyday with my little boating sneakers and my sailor's cap, my Thurston Howell the Third blazer, my fishsticks, I borrowed binoculars and scanned the seven seas, no ship....I launched flares, went to nautical school, I got a job as a longshoreman, I learned to walk like Marlon Brando in "On The Waterfront", I studied 'Moby Dick', I got a tattoo that read "Ishmael"...no ship, i sewed sails, drank with pirates, I yo ho hoed and a bottle of rum, I composed sea chanteys, I rented 'Jaws' , I watched reruns of the Loveboat, I collected coral, I lived in a lighthouse,I bought scuba gear, I hired divers to raise the Titanic, I took the confession of the Old Man of the Sea, I bribed Charlie Tuna, I saw three ships come sailing in, on Christmas Day, on Christmas Day, Bingo ships! But not mine!

I anticipated a very cold day of ice fishing but my wife paid off the guitar as a birthday present. Epilogue: Crime and Punishment: Love Story, The Crying Game: Love Story, and all this bullshit about the guitar: ultimately it distills to a love story. Now I gotts write the hooky chorus for the big hit record and bring home the bacon.

It's a love story
Track Name: I HATE YOUR KID
If you bring your kid, with you on a date anymore, to the movies, of the mall, or the grocery store I'm gonna shoot him through the head...I hate your kid.

He's 14 years old, he's pissy and bold, he doesn't do nothing that he is told, he's got, too much pot, if you don't think he's dealing than you have got a lot, to learn, I want to burn your kid.

He's got a gun, he's got a beeper, you caught him with both he said, "Ah Geez here, ma, I'm just holdin' it for some other guy, not in a million years did I think this bullshit story would fly, you bought it you did, I hate your kid.

i hate your kid, I hate your kid, he's violent and dumb just like someone else I know, his father, why would I bother with this weird genetic strain, what a pain my brain, I hate your kid.

The single parent blues, this is the news, all across the land, lets join hands, and kill that kid...am I overreacting? Well I ain't retracting, look into my eyes, I despise that kid.
Track Name: I'M GONNA WATCH YOU SLEEP
I'm gonna watch you sleep awhile, you don't like it when I'm gawking in the morning before you've had your coffee you say I am warning you.
I'm going to watch you sleep awhile, you don't like it when I'm barging in the bathroom, staring at you while you take a shower now's the best time to gaze at you.
Man you look so beautiful, I could gaze for hours 'cause I really get a kick here, I wonder what you dream your eyes just gave a little flicker. Dream, beautiful dream.
Knowing you the way I do, maybe you are dreaming 'bout a summer on the ocean, there in Provincetown you read a book and spread the lotion, rest, rest, rest.
Maybe you are dreaming that, we have bought a house and now we do not have to answer, to some dumb landlord that treats us like we are a cancer, yes, yes, yes.
So your childhood wasn't great, there in your subconscious there's a door you cannot latch it, do you dream I find your dad and chop him with a hatchet, cool, cool, cool.
I'm gonna watch you sleep awhile, you don't like it when I watch you when you put your clothes on, I kiss your forehead I hope that only good stuff goes on, in your dreams.
Track Name: WHEN BOBBY COMES DOWN
I don't want to be 'round, when Bobby comes down, you know how that can be, yeah you know better than me. I don't want to be here, when Bobby gets clear and he gives you that weird eye, I think I'd better say goodbye. Yeah the party always starts out really cool, then Bobby's got to go and find himself a fool. Fun to hang here when he's high, you couldn't find a nicer guy, he would give you his own shirt, he starts to crash, someone gets hurt. So it was me, Bobby, Little Chooch and Tim. Chooch is alright you can always count on him, Bobby can be cool if he's hanging out here, if he gets too high and goes out that's when things get weird. So we're going to the toddle house to get something to eat, the foods pretty good at 3A.M. but this time it was beat and we're sitting in the booth and to tell you the truth, bobby's throwing shit around and he's acting real uncouth. And I figure it's only moments 'til the manager calls the cops, when Bobby gets all quiet and into his eggs he drops, he passes out at the table, wakes up and heaves, and there's vomit all over the counter and he pays the check and leaves. And he's almost to the corner when out comes the waiter, Bobby says "Get the fuck off me man, I wasn't sick until I ate here.", Bobby smacks the waiter, blood all down his nose, Chooch says, "Hang out with Bobby man, that's just the way it goes." Well Bobby feels bad from what I can guess because the next day he sends a mop to the Toddle House UPS, lights a big fat one, stretches his legs he says, "Man I gotta learn not to put that chili on my eggs." Yeah the party always starts out really cool, then Bobby's gotta go and find himself a fool. Well I guess you gotta stay, Bobby likes his girls that way, and I hope you'll be alright, I'll be back tomorrow night. I don't wanna be round, when Bobby comes down, I don't wanna be round.....
Track Name: CHOOCHTOWN
My name is Chooch I don't know what you heard, about the night in question: Word, it's only half the story, a lot more went down, I don't hang out with Bobby, he's a fucking clown, I mean I might sell him drugs or a stereo that's hot but I hang out with players and Bobby definitely is not. I hang in bars uptown, I got a credit card scam, I got a call from McClusky, you know he thinks hes the man. Some kind of hot shit lawyer, friend to the stars and it's mad crazy money and it's styling bad cars, he calls me up to his office, he knows I know the street, he says, "Hey close the door", I say, "Oh very discreet." seems he's got a famous client that had his house cleaned, in more ways than one if you know what I mean, and the house maid stole some photos of him and some kids, and if this stuff should surface, this client hits the skids, there's a blackmail letter, I didn't ask how much and he gave me an address and I said, "Yeah, I'd be in touch."
I'm good to go, I'm good to go, I'm good to go, I'm Chooch don't you now.
I check out the address, she moves out on the 15th, there's a guy Joe Brush who lives there and he spills the beans, seems she moves out at night, she don't pay the rent, she's got a boyfriend calling the shots and he don't know where they went. Then Joe remembers this boyfriends a cook, at the Toddle House, I go over there and take a look. It's the graveyard shift, I'm there about 3AM, I ask about the photos but things get out of hand, so I stuff him in the cooler, I rearrange his face, I rifle through his pockets, I find a lease on a new place. There's noises in the back, I go out where they're eating, and there's fucking Bobby man giving the place a verbal beating. And I'm trying to be invisible, and he's yelling, "Chooch come here!", I figure I can sit with guys til I can make it clear but I gotta hit the cook's house you know tonight and of course when we're leaving fucking Bobby's gotta fight.
Hey, I'm good to go, I'm good to go, I'm good to go, I'm Chooch don't you know.
So I ditch these guys quick I take a cab to the address, and the housemaid gives up the photos with very little stress, but as I round the corner something dawns on me, I recognize from the photos, this old actor from TV, and he's having sex with children, now this would close the door on future shots on Bay Watch and Mary Tyler Moore. So i visit this old actor, firmly explain my situation and he gives me 90 G's to show his appreciation and I buy an El Camino until the heat dies down and I figure I'll run some product down to Texas, I like that Houston town.
Hey, I'm good to go, I'm good to go, I'm good to go, I'm Chooch don't you know.
Track Name: DEAD MAN'S FLOAT
I had to leave the circus, a stand-in for the skunk, the elephants were dying and the clowns rip roaring drunk, I hid out on the highway until I made the town, I asked around where could I stay but no one made a sound.. I queried the town crier, I asked 'Whats wrong with your throat?' He cracked a smile said ' This here's the style...this is the Dead Man's Float!!'

I was desperate to get hired, I built a cardboard house, I had a guest named Friday, a fine specimen of Grouse, we met with silence for a job, they thought I was a looter, I hustled tips, I got a deal on a second hand scooter. Me and Friday we left that town with his beak he carved a note, said Had to Run, Had Too Much Fun You Can Keep Your Dead Man's Float!

We pressed across the U.S., Lord knows that desert's tough, endless seeking for a home 'til Friday squawked 'Enough!" The city lights were blazing the noise was deafening, at last some conversation, we could stay there 'til the spring! Then I heard a megaphone blast a chilling quote, it said, "Silence please get on your knees and dig, dig, dig the Dead Man's Float!
Track Name: THE VINES
I had moved South to a new state, pawned my guitar to get there. Slept on the floor of a friend of a friend. I got a temp job, government work. I know it was weeding but they gave it a glorified title: Foliage Reconciliation.4:30AM a field truck picks up 60 of us, men and woman, the sky is hot and dark, the air thick as damp pepper. A two hour ride to the work place, a blazing sun rises, men strip their shirts, someone sings.....

We enter what appears to be a tunnel, pitch black and sauna temperature. After riding 40 miles I see through the steam of the truck's headlights we're on a road in a dense jungle of vines. Massive, tangled, thick as sleeping snakes some 30 stories high blocking the sun, the stilled arteries of a giant beast. At the campsite we're issued overalls and cutting tools, the blades are rusty and broken. A whistle blast, 7:00 AM, we work by the light of flares hacking at vines, no one talks, I attempt a joke:"I think I'm going to be sickle". No one laughs. Blades whip the air gouging at bark, weeks will pass, lift, cut, lift, cut, on and on until I seek anything to end the monotony, a root canal or a postal worker's position. An old man covered in sores and continuously wheezing has been there 40 years. "He's allergic" a worker says. "Why doesn't he quit?" I ask. They stare as if I've lost my mind. "AND LOSE HIS BENEFITS??!"Two strict ten minute breaks and lunch, mandatory state regulation, everybody says it, every day. The day ends at 6:00, the truck is always late. I ring out my overalls, the air blows sweet against our faces.

After working 4 months I save enough to get my guitar out of hock. The job never gets any easier nor do we make any headway with the vines. What we clear at night has grown back by morning. I work alongside an old woman whoI make friends with and before I quit I ask her why we never make a dent in the vines. "They grow too fast", she said, "I tell them to start with the roots but they're too busy to hear." Then she bent her head and cut.
Lift, cut, lift, cut, on and on and on......
Track Name: SOME HEARTS
I saw you walking in the bar, you went back to where the pool tables are, you were hoping that I wouldn't see.
A couple weeks ago we buried that man, he was your lover and my best friend and what you do makes no difference to me.

Some hearts nee a lot of lovin', that's you....

I didn't stick around, I didn't have a drink, I thought I'd take a walk I needed to think, the night was warm I felt it in my soul.
If I know him he'd say to you, you got to be happy whatever you do, don't waste your time angry or alone.

Some hearts need a lot of lovin' that's you...

It's a good size town with a lot of places, a lot of bars and familiar faces and that's one place I needn't hit again.
If me coming round makes you think of him, I won't set you back so you can begin, I hope you know I think I understand.

Some hearts need a lot of lovin' that's you...
And he was the same way too...
Track Name: DISCONNECTED
I need more than inspiration tonight I got a chill in my soul and everyone wants to fight, I'm tired and scared and nothing seems right: I'm disconnected, I'm disconnected. I know it's the fashion to say I don't care, to give the cynic's knowing glance and grunt, "I've been there", no sooner does it pass my lips I'm wrapped in despair: I'm disconnected, I'm disconnected. Early in the morning and it's just about, 3, I'm carrying a lantern and I'm looking for me, I ain't here nor there as far as I can see. Love thy neighbor, that's a big goal, love thy enemy, like yelling down a hole, maybe trying to comprehend each other might save our soul. Well I got a flat tire and my car is broke down on the information highway leading far out of town, I'm not down loaded, I'm just loaded and down. I'm disconnected, I'm disconnected. the TV and the radio and the mail and the phone. The road the hood the church the bars and right here at home, I stop to think a crowd walks by I feel so alone. I need more than inspiration tonight, I got a chill in my soul and everyone wants to fight, I'm tired, I'm scared and nothing seems right, I'm disconnected, I'm disconnected.
Track Name: BIG AS LIFE
Temper temper little cloud, I thought we were in this together. I gotta another 30 miles to go and you change your mind like the weather. But I know how it feels though with that blinding lightning flash, I'm all alone now but I got my guitar, let's think about some stuff we can smash.

I slept last night by the side of the road I was thinking about the nearest phone. I was wondering if she would accept the charges, I was wondering if I had a banana for a backbone. Then I had a dream about Count Basie but he didn't want to talk to me, he had a lot of hurt in his face he had a copy of LIFE magazine. It had Elvis on the cover, it had an article inside it didn't say who it was written by. Closer inspection I noticed Albert Goldman was still writing and LIFE wouldn't let him die. Well Count Basie opened up that magazine to page 30, he threw at me and he walked away, I said, "Oh man, that's Count Basie, he's like my hero, I had so many questions there was so many things that I wanted to say" but after ten glossy pages of big LIFE magazine format people holding guns and smoking crack I stepped back from that magazine and my mouth flew open because all of those people were black.

I used to work in a bar in Syracuse NY and we had what we referred to as an 'incident' most every night. There were drugs sales, there were guns but all of those people were white. True story, I pulled a pregnant girl out of the bathroom one time she was in there just over an hour, people were complaining and she was smoking crack...and she was white as snow, she was white as blow and she was most definitely not black. And I think Count Basie was just trying to point out that if I wasn't careful I might fall into a trap because take a look at that magazine, am I on acid or what but it appears to me someones getting a bad bad rap.

Page 26 and 27 there was a Sony ad, a white family hanging by the swimming pool. Couldn't see the mother's reflection in the water, she was holding the video camera, what color was she well now let's not be a fool, so there you go and it's Big As Life and Count Basie he don't want to talk to me, Miles Davis never rang my phone off the hook and I'm not anticipating any phone calls from Spike Lee. Roger Manning says something about hatred and being any color and being not but as i look around this whole big world, not just this room here tonight or any room in this building, building on this street, street in this city, city in this state, state in this whole big world it's blue, baby blue, that's the color we all got.

Temper, temper little cloud I thought we were in this together, I got another 30 miles to go and you change your mind like the weather...but I know how you feel though with that blinding lightning flash, i'm all alone now but I got my guitar, let's think about some stuff we can smash. lets think about some stuff we can smash.
Track Name: OPEN UP THE GATES
Open up the gates for her, hear the trumpets blare, a warm Miles Davis welcome, let her dance with Fred Astaire.
Open up the gates for her, bring her Estee Lauder and pictures of her daughter and her only son, she'll want them.
Open up the gates for her, she don't need no resume no credit checks today no references except mine.
And open up your ears to her, she will teach you of compassion and she will help you fashion tenderness in time.
Don't lose her in paperwork or files, don't shuffle her along with phony smiles...'cause I've lost faith in even you...
Open up your ears to me, though I'm no man of great renown, I've got no weight to throw around, and perhaps I'm headed down...
But if I hear she's been ignored, deprived of her reward, heaven hath seen no fury, like a son that's scorned...be forewarned...
Open up the gates for her, wider, wider, wider and see the love that is inside her...
Track Name: JOHN LENNON
True story: In eighth grade I was short, had glasses and a squeaky ass voice that refused to change. Two things dominated my thoughts: James Cartino and John Lennon. Cartino I came in contact with daily, in gym class where he beat the shit out of me at every opportunity...Lennon I came in contact with in my wildest dreams.

In 1971 John Lennon spent a week in my hometown of Syracuse NY. Yoko gave an exhibition at a museum there. Some friends of mine skipped school and got hired to do odd jobs for her. I'd tell them of my day of Cartino poundings and they'd tell me about their day with John and Yoko, I was envious as hell.

My friends told me there was to be a private party and I begged them to let me in. They were skeptical but agreed. I outside the museum for about eight hours, I had to piss real bad but I didn't dare leave. At about midnight the back door opened and I snuck in, I couldn't believe my luck, I'd be invisible, I'd watch, I'd wait.

The room was dark and crowded. I saw Allen Ginsberg and some others I recognized but no John and Yoko. After an hour I felt I could make a much needed trip to the men's room. I made my way through the crowd, entered a hallway, took a few steps and saw Lennon approaching. A group from the party had targeted him and from behind me they rushed. I was carried as if in slow motion, straight as a bullet, closer, closer until my chest slammed into Lennon's. John Lennon looked down at me and barked, "Fuck off!". It sucked to be me, I hit the restroom.

The hometown buzz from Lennon's visit lasted a month for me, of course it lasted longer. Cartino thrashed me the following Monday but it didn't seem to hurt as much...something had changed for all my life.

I didn't cry when Lennon was murdered, I was angry and bewildered, I respected him so much I may even have felt guilty. Last year, while getting my baggage at LaGuardia Airport I found myself next to his son Sean. Tall, handsome like his father, with his mother's beautiful eyes, the son Lennon never got to see become a man. And now that I'm a father I understand this more than ever, it was then I noticed I was crying.
Track Name: HOO HOO SONG
When I was just a little lad, they'd spank me when I was bad, I wouldn't even turn my head. they say 'When you gonna straighten out? ' But rather than scream and shout, well this is what I said...
I said 'Hoo!'

When I was just an adolescent, my energy it was incessant and occasionally I would seek criminal means...
When explanations were required, authority's would often perspire, to hear from the mouthy of a teen...
I'd say 'Hoo!'

Then I found my instrument, that's when all the guardians went, 'well hopefully it'll head him in the right direction!'
But you get a little bit older, than you get a little bit bolder and I've never been particularly impressed by perfection.
It makes me go, 'Hoo'.

Then I saw the world from a car, and you don't know how far off you are when say, 'Hey Hamell, that must be livin'!'
I had to quit I had malnutrition, but now I'm inspired by all the competition, I say, 'Good Lord what a headache it's givin'!'
Then I turned a hundred and three and I can only speak for me but I feel alive with the fire.
people say 'Is all this Hoo Hoo done?' I say, 'Oh no man, I'm just starting to have fun, and what would ever make you think I'm ever gonna tire?'
I go 'Hoo!'
It makes me go 'Hoo!'
Track Name: THE MEETING
People ask me, what's going down? What kind of stuff when I come round, it's just one guy and one guitar so it's gotta be folk, oh man how wrong they are.
Gonna be a meeting, gonna be a meeting, gonna be a meeting, you me the songs the guitar and the rock and roll.

If it's Kumbaya, the World Trade Center's a shack if it's Puff the Magic Dragon Picasso was a hack, this bullshit Unplugged is like a monkey on my back, unless you're talking Chuck Berry then you ain't talking jack, I'm rockin' like the Clash it's acoustic kind of meanery, I'm as bad as Nine Inch Nails but I don't need machinery, a little bit of wood and a little bit of wire call up Smokey the Bear because there's gonna be a fire and if I ain't sweatin' then it ain't no fun, I'm like the Beastie Boys except I'm only one....gonna be a meeting, you me and the rock and roll...

I listen with the headphones to study the artist, I started hearing voices, not like Judas Priest, mostly from the old guys like a whisper in the back, like Muddy Waters saying, 'It's all in the attack..." Gonna be meeting, you, me the songs the guitar and the rock and roll....

I beat it in the basement, I beat it in the yard, I beat it like a band because I beat it so hard, I beat it like a flag, I beat it real proud, I got a call from Saturn says 'It's too damn loud!'...well, I won't change the world, well heck I know all that, I might stall a politician by pissing in his hat, it's a land of many paths, there ain't only one right way, and I will keep on rocking that until my dying day...gonna be a meeting, you, me, the songs, the guitar and the rock and roll.