Years ago, I was in a band called Hamotam and I had an enormous beard like Sam Beam and a homemade mohawk. Our motto was never the same song twice, and we essentially would all take the stage with no set plan, and start jamming on various instruments none of knew how to play led by semi-maniacal front man, mr. matthew rampage. Real time improvisation. Non-musicians making music. It was all very puzzling, and ended badly in a cocaine and methamphetamine-fueled cycle of self-destruction that sent two of the founding members off packing, homeward bound to live with parents. Harper and I had skipped out long before that. We didn't like to snort things up our nose, and the madness was just too much. There was talk of touring Europe, for example, a preposterous notion. Of becoming famous, and playing at The Greek, even more ludicrous. The "music" wasn't even bad, it was utterly unlistenable. An assault on your ears and senses. Completely horrifying. It was the kind of premise only someone mired deep in a dark black hole of addiction could possibly entertain. At some point, the actors forgot they were engaging in a joke, in guerilla theater of sorts, and began to actually believe that it was a band. That what we were making was music. It was grotesque, and I felt betrayed by my friends. I began to hate them and their antics. Although I had left already, the madness still followed. There were angry phone calls. Threats. I owned hamotam.org, our domain, and when one of the principals discovered this, he threatened to sue me. He left obscene comments all over my blog. By this point it was just he and one other guy, and I couldn't be bothered anymore. Cocaine, it's a hell of a drug. Methamphetamine too.
Not long afterwards, we left for Asia. The fellas all went their separate ways, and each in his own time got his head straight. One remains one of my best friends whom I see all the time. Another is still a close, close friend, although we rarely talk. The third, well, things happen. Sometimes you say things you can't take back. When I came home again, after six months abroad, I was, quite honestly, glad they were gone. Glad it was over. Glad everyone, finally, seemed to have their shit together. And I didn't miss it. At all.
But now, I look back on that period. We were all blogging and writing and making music and art. Hanging out constantly in a tight-knight circle of friends. And, despite the drama and the madness, I miss it. I miss that creative rush. That buzz.
And every once in a while, I get hit right in the forehead with a reminder. A couple of weeks ago, one of my friends sent me this file. A relic from that era. It's our frontman, rampage, who after some voice talent failed to show, was pressed into the service of pitching Crazy Glow. I smiled when I saw it, and dropped it into iTunes, then promptly forgot about it.
And then yesterday morning, while I was working, it came on in the shufffle. And I thought of Hamotam, and Matthew and Jeff and Ezra and Harper and me. Onstage at the Hotel Utah. In front of a crowd at the Cafe International. Playing astride the Mckinley Statue in the panhandle. Playing in the sun in Golden Gate Park. At parties and on street corners.
It was madness, it was madness, it was madness. And, oh, how I miss it so.