By Ed Hamell, a/k/a Hamell on Trial
When I’m on the road I like to nap in my car. People think
it’s weird. (At least G-Love did, but…um…who cares?) But it’s nice in
there. You’re getting rested up for the gig. You turn off the cell phone,
nobody bothers you, out like a light.
Occasionally somebody will rap on the window. “Are you okay?”
I like to scream back at them, “I’m trying to kill myself! Could you leave me
I’m good at scouting a place off the beaten track that is
inconspicuous. I’ll even pay to park in a parking garage, (well, not in
Manhattan, Jesus, you might as well get a hotel room at those prices), but I
learned the hard way that are some parking lot security guys that take their
job very, very seriously. At least in Toronto.
I was napping, out like a light, and it was hot so I had the
air conditioner running and sure enough, three, you saw it right, three cop
cars came with their lights on wanting to know just what the hell I was doing.
I don’t know how many of my readership has been on the show Cops, but I suspect a large percentage
and you know how when you just wake up and there’s a cop in your trailer and
you don’t remember what you did to get him (or her, as in my case there were
two male cops and a female) there, and you’re kinda mumbling sleepy-eyed,
reaching for your gun?
Well, one cop was pissed! So I got pissed back. Bad move.
We worked it out. I promised never to do it again. Of course
when they left I fell back to sleep.
Overzealous employees always get my goat. It’s just a job,
for chrissake. And in light of the current economy, you’re probably not gonna
have it for very much longer anyway, so relax wouldja?
There’s only two states that you can’t pump your own gas. Jersey
and Oregon. I didn’t know about Oregon. So I got out of the car and started
pumping my gas and the attendant charged out of his little room and yanked the
hose out of my hand.
I don’t like people yanking shit from me.
Ask politely. I would.
So I had to ask him, “Why can’t you pump your own gas? Why
is there a law?!” And he told me straight-faced, “People blow up.”
Now, I travel a great deal people. All over the world. And
I’m usually driving. I’ve been to a lot of gas stations. I’ve slept in a lot of
gas stations. Rarely, like so rarely, never, have I seen anybody blow up. Never
ever. Never even on the horizon do I see a torch-like glow and think, “Yep,
there goes another pumper. Bet his fried ass wishes he had been in Oregon or
Now I know many are thinking, “Hamell sure is
confrontational, he’s got no one to blame if people are afraid to come to his
show.” Well, let me tell you about a positive run-in I had.
It was an Arab taxi driver taking me from my hotel in London
to Heathrow airport. True story. I really, really like taxi drivers. 99% of the
time they’re amazingly cool. I’ve had some of my best conversations with taxi
It’s a cinch. Wanna try it?
Just go like this, “How long you been driving today?” Typically
they’ll say, “Since 4 a.m.” And it’s like noon, then. So you ask, “How much
longer you gonna drive today?” And they’ll say, “Until midnight.”
That’s 20 hours, people. Then you ask, “How many days a week
do you do that?” And they’ll say, “Seven.”
And you ask if they have a family, and they invariably do, and
then you ask, “Doesn’t your wife mind?” And they’ll respond, “She drives a cab,
That’s a tough gig, I think. More often than not they’re
working their butts off, when they used to work as a doctor in Africa, or
India, or Saudi Arabia.
You get the idea.
Anyway, I can’t remember what we talked about, this Arab cab
driver and me. I mean, I’m sure it was world politics, but I really don’t
remember specifically what was said.
I was riding in the front. I do remember that.
When I got out, not only did he hug me but he gave me the
ride for free. C’mon, cool or what?
So you see, I’m not such a bad guy. Remember, an indictment
is not a conviction.
Ed Hamell picked up the guitar at age 7 and started
writing songs not long after. In his early 20s, Mr. Hamell was the front man
and writer for an original band, but local bands were a dime a dozen in the
tough, working class neighborhoods in Syracuse, NY. So he launched a one-man
act called Hamell on
Trial. Six albums (plus a live one) and countless shows later, Hamell
himself is one of a kind. Catch him on tour this summer in the U.S., Canada and