Tonight, Scattered Hamlet was in town on their Stay Hungry, Stay Free Tour. The Electric Company was playing host to this four piece band hailing from the Appalachia area. After a quick sound check, this honky-tonk metal band was ready to sit down and talk with Splice Magazine.
Tonight’s lineup featured front man Adam Joad (Guitar, Lead Vocals), Rich Erwin (Bass, Vocals), Ken Martin (Guitar), and Grant Jenkins (Drums). With a changed lineup due to an unfortunate accident for one member, and a very fortunate turn of events for another, Scattered Hamlet are here to perservere and overcome what life throws at them. We grabbed a quick round of beers and sat down to get a little insight on what is going on inside the Scattered Hamlet camp.
Splice: How’s the tour been going so far.
Adam: Really good. We’ve gotten to do a lot of really cool shows. We’ve had some van issues, so that’s been a pain in the a**, but we’re pushing’ through. The responses have been good, and we’ve been havin’ a good time… can’t complain.
Splice: Absolutely, perseverance is one of those things you need on the road, as you can run into just about anything. Besides the van problems, what’s the worst thing or craziest thing that’s happened to you on tour so far.
Adam: The worst? F**king rain man! In Houston they shut down Warped Tour on us for two hours because of the rain. Y’all saw them pictures in Houston, when rain comes there, it ain’t messing’ around, it’s like flooding the interstates and stuff. We hit rain in Nashville, and we hit rain at Rockfest, like every one got rained on. We didn’t get rained out at Rockfest, and we did get back in time to see GWAR and that was pretty epic. Because GWAR is GWAR, and no one else is.
Grant: Monster blood!
Adam: Yeah we all walked into a truck stop at 1:00 in the morning looking like we killed someone, with all the GWAR blood on us. We haven’t had any crazy stories happen yet. The energy just gets sucked out of you playing during the day, we’re not like a headliner at the festival so we’re in the afternoon. You’re out their during high temperatures, so we’ve just been relatively tame for SH.
Splice: Givin’ that you leave it all out there…
Adam: You’re like sunburned, and wet.
Rich: Craziest thing was definitely on our day off yesterday. We went out to blow off some steam, and we shot of bunch of stuff with guns… not with cameras.
Adam: Yeah! We used some of my favorites. We went out in a field. Rich was talking about shooting ranges, he didn’t realize when I talk about shooting ranges, we just go into a f**king field in the middle of nowhere and we shoot s**t. We were shooting clay birds with rifles and pistols, which you’re really not supposed to do that, but we just set ‘em up and blew a lot of round through the AK and my single action .357 and my Glock, so it was a good day… we shot a lot of things.
Grant: I shot at a bunch of stuff, I didn’t hit any thing
Adam: No Grant, you hit everything. *Laughter*
Splice: When you are out there playing, what can one expect from your live show?
Adam: OK, so we’re a live band. We find if you like what we do on the recording, you’ll like what we do better live, we kind of try to have a lot of fun. It doesn’t matter if there’s 12 people or 1,000 people we put on the same show. We have fun with it. We could be mowing yards or doing something much more sucky than what we’re doing right now. Every night is a blessing, you know. We turn it on, this is our hour to entertain. We drive all day and sleep in shi**y conditions in this white Sprinter van. This is our time, so we make the most of it every night like it’s gonna be the last, ‘cause it might be.
Splice: Like you mentioned you might be mowing lawns if you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing if you were not out on tour?
Adam: Actually… uhh… I used to be a teacher. I used to teach at Pittsburg Technical Institute. I got fired from that.
Splice: I won’t ask why.
Adam: Yeah, it’s probably better. So yeah, that was my last real job, so I don’t know what the hell we’d be doing. I’ve done everything. I’ve been everything from a sparring dummy for MMA fighters, to a bouncer, to mowing yards, to just about anything you can do to make a hustle. Rich and I were Bitcoin Tycoons… briefly *laughter*
Rich: I’d probably be drinking myself to death.
Adam: Yeah, like trying to do stuff like that. Go ahead Grant, you got a f**king interesting one.
Grant: Yeah! My family owns a funeral home, so I work part time when I’m not doing this in the funeral business. So I might be doing that, I’m not really good at anything else, so if this fails, I’m kinda outta luck.
Adam: Yeah, when you don’t have another option, it lights a bit of a fire under your a**.
Ken: I’d just be a teacher.
Adam: Ken teaches guitars lessons. This is Ken “Bone”, the Bone Man! His real name is Ken Martin, he is a really killer sessions guitar player. Adam, our normal guitar player is out playing in Dee Snider’s band right now and he’s got do a few dates overseas. We’ve been doing three guitars this tour, but now we’ve shrunk it down to two again. This is the hillbilly sideshow, sometimes we’ve used hype men, three guitars, two guitars. We do it all a lot of different ways. When you’re talking about our live show, you might see it here and you might come to another show and be like “there’s like twice as many people on stage”. It’s like they got us another pass, so we got one of our buddies on stage to throw us beers, and do backup vocals.
Splice: Speaking of Dee Snider, your new single Stay Hungry, can you explain why you decided on that song?
Adam: Last fall, our drummer Jake Delling Le Bas, he fell off a balcony and got a traumatic brain injury, to make a long story short. No one found him until the next day. He’s in recovery, very slow, and he’s struggling… he can’t even talk right now. We were kinda at one of those crossroads as a band where a lot of cool things were happenin’ and one of the people that helped us get to that point was just no longer with us. After the blessing of his family, and talking with Rich and Adam, we decided we wanted to do this. We wanna to keep goin’ ‘cause he’d be pissed. If he comes out of this and found out we stopped we all got a** whoopin’s coming from an angry Irishman. He’s a little a f**ker, but if he had to pick up a bottle and crack me over the head with it, that’s what would occur. So we found this guy here. Grant walked into a really odd situation. I think the first conversation I had with Grant was like “We really don’t want you in the band, but we need you here ‘cause our buddy can’t be here”. He was like, “I’m good”. He walked in, and I can say now, I close my eyes on stage and we sound like Scattered Hamlet. That’s all we ever wanted. He brings a lot to the table, and it’s been really cool. So if Jake makes a recovery, were gonna have to be like the f**kin’ Allman Brothers Band and have two drummers on stage, ‘cause that’s what needs to happen.
Splice: Going back to the song Stay Hungry.
Adam: Sorry, I got off track. With Stay Hungry we cut the album cycle short, so we wanted to release something new, and to let people know we were still there. So we talked to Jake’s best friend, who’s a producer, and his brother (Jake’s) does videos as an actor. We were like we want you to shoot the video, and you to produce the song. Now we had to pick a song. So we put it out on social media, and we demoed a lot of different covers we were gonna do, some of them were downward sappy. Then we realized no, we’re still hungry. We watched a Twisted Sister documentary and these guys got kicked in the balls so much, and we’re like “Yes, that makes perfect sense”. And we did it and Dee liked it. He’s been tweeting about it. He put Adam in his band for Christ sake. Adam was just jamming with him today and he asked how Jake was doing. As young metalheads and stuff, he’s the top of the food chain. He gave us the blessing, so when we get a hater on social media, we’re like “Dee thinks it’s cool and you don’t” so who do we care about?
Splice: Absolutely. 100%
Adam: It’s been really cool, and it’s neat that Adam gets to go do that. We’re sad he can’t be with us for Sturgis and some of the other dates we’ve got, but at the same time it’s cool. We’re all just happy we all get to do cool stuff, and that we’re f**kin’ here drinking a beer with you and hangin’ out.
Splice: That’s one of the things I saw when I was looking at your tour schedule, that you do still have several dates left including Sturgis. How did that come about?
Adam: Someone comes out of left field, and was like “Yeah we want to put you on Sturgis”. We were like, “Cool, we’ll get a side stage”. And then the next phone call they were like “Yeah, we’re gonna put you on the main stage at Buffalo Chip, and you’re gonna open for Kid Rock and Lita Ford”. So our manager calls me on the phone and says “Is that cool?” I’m like “You didn’t f**kin’ say yes dude? The answer is YES! Call them back right now”, that’s like a no-brainer. Especially that was one of the first shows I saw at an outdoor festival, I saw Kid Rock, RUN D.M.C., and Aerosmith, and I was like “Man I wanna do that!” It’s like, BOOM, full circle, many years later we’re gonna go do that. It’s very humbling… it’s very awesome. We just feel very fortunate to do it.
Splice: I think that’s one of the things I noticed when I read through your list of influences and you did not list Kid Rock. But when I listen to your album I hear small snippets and things that reminded of some of what he’s doing. At first I though you fit right in between Kid Rock and Pantera.
Adam: Yeah, there’s a lot of haters that will shit on Kid Rock ‘cause he switches styles, and that’s bullshit. I’m a fan. If you’ve ever seen that dude’s live show… he f**kin’ tears it up!
Splice: Agreed, I’ve seen him twice and both shows were absolutely amazing.
Adam: Exactly. That’s what I’m saying… and there’s a lot of metal elitists out there that are like “I can’t like that, or I can’t like this”, and we really have no time for that. We do what we do. Some people are like “Are you metal?” We do what we do. We’re somewhere between Motorhead and f**kin’ Skynyrd, and then you’ve got Pantera. Pantera as far as I’m concerned, anybody that’s made a band that’s heavy since the 90’s is influenced by Pantera, on some level. Even if you say you aren’t, you’re full of shit! Even if they didn’t, they listened to somebody else that listened to Vinne Paul, Dimebag Darrell, Phil Anselmo, and Rex Brown. That is a genre defining bad a** band.
Splice: Go a little further, outside of your genre. What are some of your influences, or just some of the bands you like, that might be crazy oddball?
Adam: You’re going down a dangerous wormhole with me.
Splice: Absolutely! You don’t have to answer.
Adam: No, no I will. I’m proud of this s**t! These guys might not like when they have to listen to it in the van. This tour… I’ve been especially partial to Chicago, Bon Jovi, and Eddie Money. Outside of all of that stuff, some of my personal favorites, Mike Ness from Social Distortion, Bruce Springsteen I’m a huge fan of. Pretty much all classic rock. We’re all big Iron Maiden fans. Grant listens to PBS specials, I call it Jazz that he listens to. Rich and I are from Punk bands, you see a lot of f**kin’ punk tattoos on us, just like I have an Agnostic Front shirt on, and Rich has a Suicidal Tendencies shirt on.
Splice: All he wanted was a Pepsi.
Rich: There’s a Pepsi can on the f**kin’ shirt (points to his ST shirt).
Adam: Actually this tattoo (points to his right shoulder) came from ST tattoo in Venice Beach. I went their ’cause I wanted to run into Cyco Mike, I did not… but I still got a tattoo. How about you Rich, what are some of your deep cuts?
Rich: My deeps cuts? I don’t get as weird as you. My Morning Jacket, it’s like late night driving music.
Adam: I get into Heart’s B-sides.
Rich: Bell Biv Devoe
Adam: Duran Duran.
Splice: There you go. Those are the ones I was looking for.
Rich: We sell the black-on-black trucker hats so you can look like Eazy-E… except they say Scattered Hamlet on them.
Adam: Hey, one of the greatest entrances to all albums of all time, N.W.A. Straight out of Compton. The first thing, before any notes hit, “You are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge.” What better few words setup what the f**k those guys were about to do to you there. Like holy s**t! They threw South Central in our backyards. I live in the middle of nowhere, and there it was. Those kind of people, although it is very much outside of our genre, that’s incredible to catch a spirit or era so clear. We just like music.
Splice: With that in mind, if you could collaborate with someone outside of genre who would that be.
Rich: Prince if he was alive.
Adam: Ohhh, that would have been a good one. We were just talking about this not too long ago. I just heard Madball’s new album, that Tim Armstrong from Rancid produced, and I called Rich immediately and was like “I want Tim Armstrong to produce one of our albums”. I think that would be incredible. I’m very impressed with him. He tried to sue my wife before, that wasn’t cool… that is a true story. His beard is epic now.
Splice: So he sorta looks like Rick Rubin now?
Adam: Yeah, yeah, but Rick Rubin would be in our genre. If I could pick a producer (from our genre) it would be Rick Rubin or Mutt Lange. We’d be up for all these things. Lady Gaga‘s probably gonna call us up… Rich matched with her on Tinder. *laughter*
Splice: What about Dr. Dre?
Adam: Yeah, that would be sweet. That’s a good one too. Maybe Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J from ICP.
Rich: Just have them featured on a song, and get funky with it, and they come out, “ehhhh” (Doing his best ICP impression).
Adam: I could do that!
Rich: A car full of fat chicks and a trunk full of Faygo! (Note: Lyrics from ICP, Hokus Pokus)
Adam: See, look at the hole you dug down man!
Splice: That’s what I like to do. Just have a conversation.
Adam: It’s fun, I like that. We just went from Eddie Money to ICP, and pit stopped at Bell Biv Devoe
Ken: I’m surprised you didn’t say Tracy Jones for a producer.
Joad: Yeah… Mutt Lange is still my favorite. I use a bunch of Mutt Lange tricks from Shania Twain and Def Leppard, like putting hooks in the pre-chourus. It’s funny, I was arguing with the record label before we released our last album, they were like “Why are you putting hooks in the pre-chourus?” I don’t know, ’cause Mutt Lange sold millions of albums doing it. I’m gonna go with Mutt Lange.
Splice: Are you guys working on any new music?
Adam: Always. I would say we have 60% of a new album. As soon as we all get in a room together, I’m sure we’ll put a new one together. We’ve demoed a few of the songs. I won’t say it will be a surprise, because we do what we do. We keep learning new tricks so we try to throw them in there, and hopefully we’ll get that out pretty soon.
Splice: Awesome, I’m looking forward to your show tonight. Anything else you would like to chat about or share?
Adam: We’re just looking to finish the tour up, and then get back to doing what we do. Days off suck, and we’re glad to be playing music.
Adam: Rich is the one with Tinder. Grant and I are married.
So there you have it. Scattered Hamlet are out there pushing hard to do what they love, and have a little fun on the way. Their love and commitment to Jake is awesome, and if you can say a little prayer, or throw some positive healing vibes his way, please do so.
With their guitarist Adam Newell on tour with Dee Snider, and these four heading to Sturgis… they have alot of super positive things going their way too. As they continue to make their way across parts of the U.S. in their white Sprinter van, they are writing new material when they can. In the end it is all about the music. That is the reason there is a passion to get out there, and put yourself through grueling conditions at times.
Maybe in the future we will see Scattered Gaga, or Insane Scattered Hamlet Posse. One can dream, right. I do know the version I really want to see next time though. The Allman Brothers version with two drummers, Jake and Grant both on the riser smashing the hell out of the skins. Include Adam and Adam, Rich, Ken, and a few beer slinging, backup singers to complete the hillbilly sideshow. That would be great!
Check out Scattered Hamlet’s video for Stay Hungry