Helmet's Page Hamilton Breaks Down 'Betty' Track by Track

The singer-guitarist reveals how doggy biscuits, street crabs and cat-eaters helped inspire the Nineties' alt-metal classic

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'Rollo'

That was something that Henry [Bogdan, bass] came up with. We were in rehearsal down at our place on Mott St., and we would play the riff and it was tricky. Then we'd come in the next day and play it and he'd say, "You're playing it wrong." And I'd say, "Well, this is how we played it yesterday." Then he'd play it differently. After going back and forth I grabbed a Sharpie and a piece of corrugated cardboard that was laying around and I wrote out what he played in musical notation. I said, "OK, cool. I'll have it tomorrow."

So we come in the next day and, again, it's "No, you're playing it wrong." Finally I said to Henry, "OK, play it." Henry played it and I grabbed another piece of cardboard and wrote down exactly what he did. Then I showed him both pieces of cardboard: "OK. This is what you played me yesterday. This is what you played me today. We're an ensemble. We have to make a choice — it's one or the other. Is the accent on the and of four or the and of one?" So it was a funny thing. But it was such a good riff and such a good set of changes that it was worth putting in the time. And it's one of my favorite songs to play live.

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