Helmet‘s cover of Gang of Four‘s “In the Ditch” is the fourth single to hail from the upcoming album The Problem of Leisure: A Celebration of Andy Gill and Gang of Four. This is Helmet’s first new song since 2016.
Gill, who died in early 2020, was a fan of Helmet from their early days and had hoped to collaborate with them on a future music project.
Page Hamilton from Helmet explained his involvement in the project via a statement, noting: “My old pal Henry Rollins reissued Entertainment! and Solid Gold back in the 90’s and asked me to do liner notes for Solid Gold. 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,” he furthered. “All of our peers that formed bands in the late 80’s were influenced by Go4. I chose ‘In the Ditch’ for this tribute cause it’s a great song even though it was challenging (thank you to my band!).”
Nostalgia Is Not Gang of Four’s Passion
Hamilton went on to describe “In The Ditch,” saying that “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.”
The Helmet singer/guitarist concluded his statement saying, “This band changed me. Thank you Andy, Dave, Hugo & Jon.”
Check out “In the Ditch” below.
The Problem of Leisure is a double album of tracks written by Andy Gill and Gang of Four, all newly reinterpreted and recorded by artists whose own work was enriched by listening to Gang of Four. The album features songs from across Gang of Four’s 40-plus year career, each individually chosen by the artists who covered them.
Previously released cuts from the LP include the Tom Morello and Serj Tankian version of “Natural’s Not In It.”