Steve Hammond – Xperience Monthly – an Interview, by Seth Casale

Written by on May 6, 2023

Steve Hammond Interview.

Watching Ice Queen’s singer and guitarist on his knees soloing over the heavy beat of the father-and-son rhythm section of the thrash band could certainly confound, if you were only familiar with Steve Hammond from his honky-tonk band The A.M.’s or had spoken to the erstwhile quiet musician. Here possessed of a piercing thrash vocal style and shredding guitar playing that seems miles away from what you knew. I sat down with the man himself and found it all made perfect sense.

RRX: What are some early memories of music in your life, and how did those shape your desire to make music and your understanding of it?

SH: My parents weren’t super musical, but there was music around. I grew up pretty rural, on a farm and ranch so it was mostly country music around. My parents liked 50’s and 60’s rock music as well.

RRX: It seems like that informed a lot of your country aesthetic.

SH: Yeah, it kind of did, I wasn’t really into country. As a little kid I was, but then I very much wasn’t into it through high school. It wasn’t until my 20’s when I got into old school country.

RRX: What was your first recorded musical endeavor, and when was that?

SH: When I was about 12, I was super into thrash metal. An older neighbor kid on the next farm over was a metalhead, and he let me borrow tapes. I listened to thrash that he was listening to. I was starting to play guitar, so I started writing my own songs and playing them into a boombox at around 12.

RRX: Thrash bands like Overkill or something in that era 90’s?

SH: Yeah, this would have been about 1990, it was pretty limited. Metallica of course Megadeth, Nuclear assault, D.R.I

RRX: I’ve seen your recordings pressed in vinyl a lot; do you always press your recordings in vinyl?

SH: No, definitely not, it’s too expensive.

RRX: I’ve got your Ice Queen 7 inch.

SH: Yeah, that was recorded specifically for 7 inch but yeah, I have several solo albums I never put out on record. I put out the last Honky Tonk record on vinyl, but the 3 or 4 before that were just on tape and digital.

RRX: Tying into that, can you tell me about Lorchestral Recording Company?

SH: Yeah, Lorchestral Recording Company AKA Lorco its just me releasing my stuff. I had a couple sort of bad indie label experiences 15 or 20 years ago so after that I didn’t worry about that and released it myself. There’s one of my old bands that I still don’t have the digital rights to our first album that was put out way back in 2009, so yeah record labels, just don’t be dicks. The way I look at it is I make our music for myself, because it’s what I like. I haven’t ever worried about being successful at it. I look at success as having nothing to do with money or popularity. I’m happy when people buy it, but a successful musician is just someone that can fulfil their vision. Money and popularity are kind of a different business.

RRX: Do you engineer all your own music when you record?

SH: Mostly with some outside help occasionally. It’s been a lot more convenient to just do it myself.

RRX: And you know what you’re doing so…

SH: Well, I know what I’m going for. I hope I’m learning all the time.

RRX: Ice Queen, can you tell me something about how that came to be how you got in touch with the drummer and his dad?

SH: Ice Queen was a solo project. I just started recording lo-fi raw thrash stuff and I made 2 albums kind of solo style. When I met Jay, we were just listening to some metal and he said we should make this band, my son’s a drummer. So Jay and Devin VanderVoort are the rhythm section, maybe the only father and son rhythm section in thrash metal.

RRX: The lap steel on Honky Tonk Record Club #1, have you always played lap steel?

SH: I only play steel on one song, and the rest is a really amazing pedal steel player named Bud Melvin, he played on most of that record.

RRX: What advice would you give your younger self with regard to music?

SH: That’s a hard one, I don’t know if I’d do anything. Maybe I would say listen to different music earlier on that I didn’t learn about till later on, some artists I didn’t listen to till later might have had an influence sooner.

RRX: What advice would you give young or any age musicians struggling to try to make a dent in this industry?

SH: Going back to how I don’t equate money and popularity with success I don’t know that I’d have anything to tell a young musician except make music for yourself. Make the music you want to hear,
You mentioned Ice Queen, I have 3 bands in total currently. Rabid Children has amazing players, Chris Brown, Dave McDonald, Frank Moskowitz, and that band is a pop band, I like to call it heavy pop or noise pop. The other band, the A.M.s which is my honky-tonk band, play some of my solo stuff. We also play originals from the other guys. That band has Dan Prockup from Pony in the Pancake, Jason Reyes of Abyssmals on the bass, both those guys are singing with me and I’m switching between lead and steel guitar and then we have Jesse McCaughey the drums.

RRX: How about a website for Lorco?

SH: I basically have my Bandcamp which is

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