Listen to Helmet’s cover of Gang of Four’s “In the Ditch” from upcoming Andy Gill tribute
The Problem of Leisure: A Celebration of Andy Gill and Gang of Four is out in June and we've heard a few tracks from it so far, including remixes and reworks from Tom Morello & Serj Tankian, Warpaint and Massive Attack's 3-D. Now here's a very crunchy cover of Solid Gold classic "In the Ditch" from NYC alt-metal vets Helmet.
Helmet frontman Page Hamilton is a longtime Gang of Four devotee and actually wrote the liner notes to the '90s reissue of Solid Gold that came out on Henry Rollins & Rick Rubin's Infinite Zero label. "I don’t remember what I wrote but I know It was glowing, corny and fanboy. Their songs, feel, energy, inventiveness made an indelible imprint on my musical soul."
As for Helmet's contribution here, Page says "I chose ‘In the Ditch’ for this tribute cause it’s a great song even though it was challenging (thank you to my band!). It feels improvised and random at times but holds together as a composition. The guitar part feels like spontaneous scratchy funk, the angular bass and drum groove grooves hard but sounds like there’s a spoke missing. The vocal is somehow beautiful but scary, urgent and dangerous. There’s no room for limp dick, mail-it-in, non-musical moments in any of these songs. How the hell did they put this together? We could only try to capture the intensity of the original. This band changed me. Thank you Andy, Dave, Hugo & Jon.”
Helmet bring just a little more order to the controlled chaos of Gang of Four's original. "In the Ditch" premieres in this post and you can stream it below.
The Problem of Leisure: A Celebration of Andy Gill and Gang of Four is out June 4 and also features IDLES, Gary Numan, Helmet, La Roux, Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea & John Frusciante, Killing Joke, and more. Preorder yours.
You can also read our interview with Gang of Four drummer Hugo Burnham about the box set and more.