Hammerhead Horns – Interview – Thanks for Asking

Written by on February 13, 2024

Hammerhead Horns – Interview – Thanks for Asking – by Liam Sweeny.

We reached out to Mike Kelly from the band Hammerhead Horns. These are our collected words.

RRX: Every artist’s first song is a milestone. But so is the latest song. Describe the first song/album you recorded, and also the latest song/album you recorded; what are the differences?

HH: I can’t recall the name of first song but I know it was 1981 with The Sharks at the College of St. Rose studio. I remember it as scary and exciting.

The most recent is a song called “Money” written by Leslie Barkman recorded at Boot Calkins’ studio last fall with The Hammerhead Horns. It was just as exciting.

RRX: We let it out differently when we play music. The happy, sad, good and back; it can all be put out musically. Overall, do you feel better when you sing about the better times, or the worser times? Is there a difference you can describe?’

HH: I don’t really differentiate. I just dig in and play. Although I imagine the audience would rather hear a tale of woe. It would make them feel better about their own situations. The last thing they want to hear is some guy gloating about how good he has it.

RRX: In the universe of music, anything can happen. Bizarro doppelgangers can walk down the street in feather boas. Who would be your musical opposite and why? What do you think the “anti-you” band would sound like?

HH: I guess the opposite of The Hammerheads would a band that is young and terrible.

RRX: Part of learning to be a musician is to fall in love with a song, an album, and hammer away at your instrument until you can play that whole thing. What was that song for you? Was there a hardest part?

HH: I was inspired by different pianists more than a particular song.

RRX: Artists, musicians, we immortalize. We set it in stone. Is there anyone who has passed that you feel you have immortalized in your work? If so, can you tell us a little about them?

HH: I would have to say Tom D’Ambrose, our former bandmate, who passed away a few years back. He had a wonderful passion for all the art forms. He played sax with us and would have loved The Hammerhead Horns who are (shameless plug): Mike Kelley-piano/vocal, Bob Assini-cocktail drums/spoons, Bob Button-cornet/vocal, Jeff Roberts-trombone/tuba, and Leslie Barkman-vocal.

RRX: What instrument would you add to the band if you could? Is there anything you are trying to do musically that would be helped with one or more additional players?

HH: Honestly, I love the fact that we make so much sound with so few instruments. No bass, no guitar, just piano and drums holding down the rhythm. Add the horns and Leslie’s strong vocal and it’s a lot of sound. And a lot of fun. Come out and see us.



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