Page Hamilton

Page Hamilton

Page Hamilton with Helmet at The Hifi Bar, Melbourne May 2008
Background information
Born (1960-05-18) May 18, 1960
Portland, Oregon, United States
Genres Alternative metal, post-hardcore, hard rock, groove metal, jazz, noise rock, soundtrack
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1979present
Labels Amphetamine Reptile, Interscope, Warcon
Associated acts Helmet, Linkin Park, Band of Susans, David Bowie, Gandhi, Elliot Goldenthal, Page Hamilton Quintet, the Jazz Wannabes, The Dead Deads
Notable instruments
ESP Page Hamilton
ESP Horizon Custom

Page Hamilton (born May 18, 1960 in Portland, Oregon) is an American guitarist, singer, songwriter and record producer, mostly noted for his work with alternative metal band Helmet. Most of his work has been in the hard rock and alternative metal styles, though he trained in jazz guitar and has substantial connections with avant-garde music and film soundtrack composition.


Raised in Medford, Oregon, Hamilton studied guitar at the University of Oregon before moving to New York to study jazz guitar at the Manhattan School of Music.[1] While there he played in avant-garde composer Glenn Branca's guitar orchestra, performing the composer's Symphony No.6 (Devil Choirs at the Gates of Heaven),[2] and joined noise rock band Band of Susans, performing on their Love Agenda album[3] and Peel Sessions,[4] before finally forming his own group, Helmet.


Helmet initially signed to Amphetamine Reptile Records, releasing a number of 7" singles and one album, 1990's Strap It On. The band then signed to Interscope Records, releasing Meantime (1992), Betty (1994), Aftertaste (1997) and Size Matters (2004). After leaving Interscope, the band released the albums Monochrome (2006) and Seeing Eye Dog (2010).

Meantime was the band's principal commercial success, being certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.[5] The album was well received by music critics and is seen as an influential metal record and earning a Grammy nomination in the Best Metal Performance category for 1993.[6]


Following Helmet's temporary dissolution, Hamilton formed another rock band, Gandhi,[7] with former Liege Lord guitarist Anthony Truglio, John Andrews (guitar), Christian Bongers (bass), and Matt Flynn (later the drummer for Maroon 5). Though the band did not release any music officially, several demo songs were leaked. Many of these were later recorded for the Size Matters and Monochrome releases by Helmet.

Movie soundtracks

While still active with Helmet, Hamilton embarked on a career composing and performing music for film, working on movies including Heat, Titus, In Dreams, Catwoman, and Chicago Cab. Helmet also contributed to a number of movie soundtracks, including The Crow, Feeling Minnesota, Johnny Mnemonic, Saw 3, Underworld, and appearing in The Jerky Boys: The Movie (performing a cover of the Black Sabbath song "Symptom of the Universe").[8]


Hamilton has also worked as a record producer, most notably producing the album Distort Yourself by former Bush singer Gavin Rossdale's band Institute.[9] He has also produced albums for the bands Bullets and Octane (In the Mouth of the Young), Classic Case (Losing at Life),Totimoshi and The Dead Deads.

David Bowie, Collaborations & Other Work

During Helmet's hiatus, Hamilton performed as lead guitarist for David Bowie's band on the singer's Hours Tour.[10]

He has collaborated with German avant-garde guitarist Caspar Brötzmann on the live improvisational album Zulutime and performed on a number of other artists' works, including trumpeter Ben Neill's Goldbug, alt-country songwriter Joe Henry's Trampoline, Irish rock band Therapy?'s Troublegum and British post-punk group Wire's Object 47.[11]

As a jazz musician, he has performed with his own groups, the Page Hamilton Quintet[12] and the Jazz Wannabes,[13] and with fellow guitarist and mentor John Stowell.[14]

He has also produced a guitar instruction DVD, Sonic Shapes: Expanding Rock Guitar Vocabulary, published by Hal Leonard Corporation.[15][16]

In 2014, Hamilton appeared on Linkin Park's sixth studio album The Hunting Party, which he provided additional vocals (on the chorus) and guitars on the song entitled "All for Nothing". The song was self-produced by Mike Shinoda and Brad Delson.



Hamilton has been a major endorser of ESP Guitars since the early 1990s, and is best known for playing ESP Horizon guitars with either a Floyd Rose or Wilkinson tremolo, and DiMarzio Airzone pickups. He has also used instruments by PRS[17] and G&L.

ESP Signature Models

In 2006 ESP announced a Page Hamilton signature model, featuring a single DiMarzio Airzone pickup and Wilkinson tremolo.[18] In 2009, ESP announced a further signature model guitar, this time modeled after Page's own ESP Horizon Custom, featuring a distressed magenta finish emulating the original guitar's road wear and character and, again, a single DiMarzio Air Zone pickup.[19]

In an interview with Guitar Edge, Hamilton spoke about a version of his original ESP Horizon Custom from the 1980s:

We released a version of my original ESP Horizon Custom from the late ’80s, complete with distressed magenta finish. It has a neck-thru body design with a Floyd Rose bridge, Gotoh tuners, and the Air Zone pickup designed for me by Steve Blucher at DiMarzio. The quality is outstanding and I am proud to have my name on these instruments. As for other gear, I still use my trusty 100-watt Ultra Lead heads designed by Steve Fryette as well as a couple of Bradshaw rigs. I am very fond of Tech 21’s XXL and Double Drive, as well as the TC Electronic 2290 and anything by Boss, and I use D’Addario strings.[20]

Amplification & Effects

In the early days of Helmet, for amplification Hamilton used a complex setup including a Marshall JCM800 2204S head, vintage Orange/Matamp ORST head, and Harry Kolbe Preamps and Speakers. Later on, the Orange/Matamp was switched out for a vintage Fender Bandmaster.

Since 1996, Hamilton started using VHT amplifiers and still uses them to this day under the Fryette name, and endorses the brand.

Page Hamilton's current tour equipment:



External links

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