Happy Curmudgeons - Dave Hamilton
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
I have always been drawn to music. I spent a lot of time alone as a kid. My neighbor gave me a guitar when I was seven, but I did not try playing it until I was 8. My dad loved old country music and my mom was a big Beatles fan. I have an aunt that was a big influence on what I listened to when I was young. She loved Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and Richie Havens. She listened to The Byrds & Beatles quite a bit back then too. I took what I heard and ran with it. I became a big Rolling Stones & Grateful Dead fan. She got me into Steely Dan as well.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
I have a few craziest moments. I have been truly blessed to meet a few of my musical inspirations. I have been able to meet Lou Reed, Neil Young, Jack White, Bobby Balderrama and Billy Cox. Mark Byerly, the producer for the Happy Curmudgeons, has played the largest role so far to help me grow as an artist.
What has been the high point of your music path?
The high point for me in my musical path is getting a chance to record with Amy Dixon-Lavery, my fiancee and muse. She is an amazingly gifted vocalist and sang on 2nd Chances. My other high point was getting to play with the other musicians on Rustic Glory. Rustic Glory has an amazing amount of talent from the musicians to the production.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
My creative process is a bit different. I dream most of my lyrics and I need to write them down immediately after I wake. I put music to the lyrics and fill in any additional lines as necessary. I really like collaborating with another writer when I get the chance.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
The biggest challenge is getting noticed and played. Any positive acknowledgement is a huge plus in the music business now. It is a huge expense to record music, but then you need to spend money on it to promote it to the right places. You need to hit playlists in your genre or something close. Crowd funding or investors help out tremendously.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Ugh! I know the other Happy Curmudgeons would all have different answers. For me personally, Bob Dylan would be the one right now. If Bob was not available, I would always be happy to do some acoustic work with the Rolling Stones at a show. Bob and the Rolling Stones have been a huge influence and it is truly amazing the longevity they both have had in the music world.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Well, I am trying to piece together a group to play live shows. I have the other core members, but we always need to find a friend to bass and drums. We roll through our originals and then we mix in some covers done our way to see what fits.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
Rustic Glory was difficult from a subject matter. I started writing the song after a dream while my father was having health issues. You can go read the lyrics. It is a song about fond remembrance and loss. We all go through a tremendous loss and it is usually tied to someone we loved or admired greatly. You need to deal with grief and come out the other side a better person. There is no shame in talking about your feelings and sharing with those you love.
What's coming up in the future?
Hopefully, 2nd Chances the album is completed by the end of the year. I really want to do vinyl for this project. Third Man Records in Detroit is the perfect place for us to realize that dream. We will have more new music released along the way.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
Dave Hamilton studied music at Miami University of Ohio. He started the Happy Curmudgeons in 2015. They released their first album, Meant 2 Be, in 2017. The band has released several singles from the new project 2nd Chances: Rustic Glory, Jack Russell and I Know How You Feel. The song 2nd Chances won a 2020 Best Song W.A.M. Music Award in the Folk/Americana category.
About The Happy Curmudgeons
The Happy Curmudgeons are a group of musicians mainly based in the metro Detroit area. Their music features some very special guests on different tracks. Dave Hamilton founded the band in 2015 with the other three core members - Amy Dixon-Lavery, Jeff Warner & Tumbleweed. The band won a 2020 W.A.M. Best Song music award for 2nd Chances in the American/folk category. The Happy Curmudgeons also finished second in the same category with their song, I Know How You Feel, last year. The band is continuing to work with the producer, Mark Byerly. The Happy Curmudgeons hope to have their 2nd album out by the end of 2022.