Interview with Paul Hammond of Get The Led Out
Posted on 01/08/2020
All Access talks with multi-talented guitarist Paul Hammond from Get The Led Out! Paul shares how the band prepares their tours, how his long hair helped score him a spot in the band, and his impressive guitar collection. Get The Led Out rocks State Theatre's stage on February 21, 2020 at 8pm.
read the transcribed interview below
With Kelly from All Access with State Theatre New Jersey and special guest, guitarist Paul Hammond from Get The Led Out
Kelly: We’re back on All Access with State Theatre New Jersey, I’m your host Kelly Blithe, and coming soon to State Theatre New Jersey is Get the Led Out a return visit on Friday, February 21st 8pm show gonna be an amazing Friday night as Get the Led Out, the more than a cover band, they are an extraordinary Led Zeppelin band that really does the music justice and I am so excited that they are coming back to the State Thetare, and I would say by popular demand. With us today is the guitarist from Get the Led Out, Paul Hammond. Welcome Paul.
Paul: Thanks, Kelly and we’re very excited to return to the State Theatre, we have a lot of fans in that area that I know are extremely excited for our return.
Kelly: So, Paul tell us, you guys have been touring all around the country, tell us about this performance. Is there something specific you will be focusing on? Do you have something in mind for the program that’s going to be laid out there? What are you thinking?
Paul: Our process of doing these shows is very well thought out and what we do is each time we return to a venue, is we will change the set list up by at least eight to ten songs, so that way anybody who has been to the show in that venue before, will get a completely different show. What we also do is include a lot of really popular or more well-known songs like “Rock and Roll” or “Stairway to Heaven” something that everybody knows so people seeing us for the first time will hear songs that they are familiar with and that they love from the Led Zeppelin catalog. As well as some deeper cuts that you seldom hear such as “Since I’ve been Since I’ve Been Loving You” or “Dancing Days” or “In the Light,” something that diehard Zeppelin fans that come to see us for the first time will be impressed that we are pulling off for them there.
Kelly: You say diehard Led Zeppelin fans and there are, right? I know you see it at each one of your concerts, there are the folks that come out there looking for particular songs that they want to hear, but at the same time you have quite a following yourself. You are a Philidelphia based group, there are six of you. You are veteran musicians that have been in the business for a long time and you’ve gained quite the following yourself, haven't you?
Paul: Well that’s very true, yes. We are able to tour the act all around the United States. Last year we did 132 shows, coast to coast, boarder to boarder, up into Canada, which we are going back to. We have been offered shows overseas, so we are taking that one step at a time. We continually grow the act, and we’ve continually made headway into having different markets around the United States. Now we can travel to the West Coast, the East Coast, New England, the whole Northeast loves us, the Midwest we have done well in historically. It’s been very exciting, we have gotten to a point where we have more than enough shows, and fans—we can never have enough fans—so we keep growing the fanbase. It keeps getting better and better, and bigger and bigger, we are very happy about that.
Kelly: Being a musician is that something you always wanted to do? Were you a little kid that was just musically inclined from the start?
Paul: Absolutely, that’s a funny story actually. I initially wanted to play the drums when I was an elementary school kid, I think it was first grade. I guess that maybe puts me at six years old. I passed the auditions to play the drums to play the snare. I went home to tell my parents that I would need a snare drum and sticks and they said no. I was crushed as a little kid, but my dad had been a guitar player and sill playing since the '50s since he was a teenager. So that next Christmas, they bought me a nylon string guitar and my dad taught me how to play, and I started to play guitar and really got into it and taught myself pretty much with my dad's help. I played in bands with my family and local friends and started taking lessons around 12 or 13 and at that point I really wanted to play guitar for a living. When I was that young bands of that day, were Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Rush, and Lynyrd Skynyrd all the good classic rock, so that’s what I learned. As well as learning proper music theory I was trained to know how to read music and took music theory I and II in high school and college level. Music has been a part of my life since I was a small child, my father and my mother were very instrumental in that as a kid my dad would by all the latest vinyl records and tapes of the day and play them for us. When I was very young, I would hear The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, like I said Deep Purple, all these great acts and it just instilled in me from an early age the importance of music in life in general. I guess I was fortunate that the outcome of being able to be a part of a great band like Get the Led Out. Obviously, I could talk about this for hours, but I don’t want to take up too much of your time. Yes, it’s been fantastic to be able to play guitar for a living especially being able to play some of the best music of all time.
Kelly: Sure, so fast forward, you have supportive parents that support you through your musical career, and you meet these other guys. Tell us how you get into Get the Led Out.
Paul: That’s a good story too. I’ve played in a lot of different bands growing up, in grade school, middle school, and high school and then after high school I’ve been in multiple bands, original and cover bands. I was never choosy, I just loved playing. I was looking to get into something else, I was in a music store and I saw an ad looking for a guitar player. The stipulations were, they had to be into the classic rock music that I loved, like Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, but had to have long hair. Which is really kind of funny, the singer, who is the singer for Get the Led Out now, they were looking for a particular look, like the classic rockers of the '70s. I just so happened to have fairly decent long curly hair, and I was like oh that sounds interesting. So, I went to audition for Paul Sinclair and his original band who he had players in. We were early 20s and it just turned out that I was the first guy that went over who had real equipment because I was a technical person as well which is a different story. I went over there with a Marshall amplifier which had a vintage aspect and a real Fender Stratocaster. Me and Paul hit it off immediately. That’s when we started doing music together of all types, mainly original, but we played some great classic cover tunes, like Zeppelin and Aerosmith. This is dating back to the mid '80s we were deep in it long before Get the Led Out. It just so happens we ran different original bands and went through the course of that with shows and record labels, near misses, great management and great shows with other national acts. But it kind of fizzled out— really the heyday of '80s glam metal which we were not, we were always classic rock guys. Paul and I were doing a local show just doing Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin at a local corner bar, the word had spread where people would come from miles around and it would be packed every first Sunday of the month, until word got out we were doing so well that other local musicians wanted to do a Zeppelin tribute band which Paul Sinclair, the lead singer was not into. The only way he would do a Led Zeppelin band, was as a cover band where we would cover the music exactly like it was on the records, which was a tall order because Jimmy Page was a brilliant studio engineer. He was a genius. They would over dub multiple guitar tracks and multiple vocal tracks and keyboards and bass because John Paul Jones was another brilliant musician. So that was the birth of Get the Led Out. It was very well received early on and very popular out of the gate without having to pay dues in smokey bar rooms and clubs and little dive joints. It went right to theatres and larger rock clubs and concert venues and then morphed over the years to get even better. To get even better players and be honed in to what it is now, which is a vey well-oiled machine with great management, great booking company, and very, very proficient musicians. Everybody in Get the Led Out could be the star of their own show they are all that talented which is much like the original Led Zeppelin was. You figure, John Bonham was one of the greatest if not the drummers in rock history. Jimmy Page one of the most creative and innovative guitarists in rock history. Robert Plant one of the best rock vocalists of all time with his own style, which is often imitated but never quite copied properly, but Paul Sinclair does it. John Paul Jones a very well-rounded musician who can play anything. There you have it, from kind of a very short description of Get The Led Out from start to finish.
Kelly: We are talking with Paul Hammond the guitarist of Get the Led Out. The show is Friday, February 21st at the State Theatre you can get your tickets at STNJ.org. Now you were mentioning Paul, the equipment that you were the one that had all of the equipment. Now as a guitarist, for those folks out there who are really into guitars, what is your choice or your preferred guitar?
Paul: That has changed over the years. That’s also another thing that I’m not too particular about, I can pretty much play any guitar and make it sound like me or make it sound like Jimmy Page. The thing with Jimmy Page was that he was a chameleon he played so many different instruments in the studio to get the different sounds. Live he was more attuned to his 1959 Les Paul Standard and for good reason. For me when I was growing up it was more about a Fender Stratocaster electric guitar. As time went on as I was doing the Zeppelin thing, I was more in tune with the Gibson Les Paul. As far as the main acts for Get the Led Out, it would probably lean toward the Gibson Les Paul, however because of the nature of what we do I will change guitars throughout the show. Sometimes only playing one instrument for one song through the course of the entire show. So, I will tour with a Fender Telecaster, a Fender Stratocaster, Danelectro six string, mandolins which I also play live. A couple different acoustics, we do multiple tunings on songs, I’ll use Martin Acoustics for that. It’s varying and wide ranged when it comes to Get the Led Out as far as the instrumentation. The amplifiers I’ll use period correct Marshall amplifiers like Jimmy Page did live. All my guitars are all Jimmy Page specific. If not the same exact model, they are as close to that model as you can use, that he used in the studio and live.
Kelly: Very impressive I must say. With the large catalog of songs that Led Zeppelin has, what has been some of your favorites to play? What have been some of the more challenging songs to play?
Paul: Actually, that is a question that can be answered with one answer. One of the most challenging to play and one of most favorite to play is the same song. That would be “Since I’ve Been Loving You” off of Zeppelin III. It’s just a song that is dripping with feel even though it’s a minor blues progression. It’s a C Minor Blues progression that has a twist too it where it’s not just a standard blues. Because of the feel of that song of how emotive it is, and the amount of touch sensitivity that goes into it, between soft and heavy, it takes a lot of concentration and a studied effort to do that and do it convincingly. That in itself typifies and it basically describes Led Zeppelin's music to a tee. Where there’s a full range of light and shade as Jimmy Page would put it from lightest subtlest nuance to the heaviest clang or bang. It gets you out of your seat like “Rock and Roll,” when you hear it in your car, if you like Zeppelin and you like the song “Rock and Roll.” All the sudden you’re doing 55 in a 25 mile an hour zone because your adrenaline goes straight through the roof. That’s what Zeppelin is all about, “Since I’ve Been Loving You” is a great description of what you asked and also you have songs like “Black Dog” that is just a fantastic rock song you can't help but feeling like a rock-star when you play that live. There are other subtle nuance songs like “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” which is fantastic which is a great piece for acoustic guitar. But as Get The Led Out is the multi-instrumental band that we are clashes into the chords with the big heavy electric guitar and breaks back down. But you have that throughout the entire Zeppelin catalog, which is what makes it challenging yet entertaining on so many levels.
Kelly: Love it, the show is Get The Led Out, we are talking to Paul Hammond the guitarist from Get The Led Out. The show is Friday, February 21st 8pm tickets at STNJ.org. Thank you, Paul, for being on All Access and we look forward to seeing you on February 21st.
Paul: Kelly, you are very welcome, and I can’t wait to see everybody then.