Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
The day after Dustin Hamman was here in Rock Island this past winter - in the heart of a dastardly spat of winter shiftiness - the Portland, Oregon, resident had to be in Kansas City at an early morning hour to duke it out with an insurance company over an ugly accident that royally fucked his body up for a long time. He's still not back to the good as new stage and he probably never will be. He can be fixed up some, but never will he be back to his old self. He's a frail man, though one could assume that he's had the advantage of time to have put on some needed meat since he was by lo those many months ago.
Hamman and the thought of the easily gone health and wellbeing seem to go hand-in-shaking-hand, enjoying their mouthpiece and his poster-boy status for the wounded. He says that he gets carried away with himself sometimes, taking the long-winded path in an effort to explain things, to make things clear, which could offer an insight into the stage name he takes for himself. He also says that he likes thinking about catastrophic possibilities, events that could just plundering down upon us, stopping time in its place and turning that boring normalcy into icky, wet chaos. It's how the most traumatic bouts of chaos like to be referenced against - this very dramatic contradictory point.
A sky that was clear as a bell and bright blue like a dolphin - and by all accounts the very picture of perfection - was what was pierced through when terrorists visited and some people had to choose between two different ways that they knew would lead to inevitable death. Quiet times are interrupted by tragedy all the time. Sometimes you even find yourself thinking, "What if this bridge collapsed right now?" as you run underneath it. Would I have enough time to get out from below it or would it fall so fast that I couldn't even blink one last time? It would just go black and then what?
One of the best scenes in "Fight Club" is when Edward Norton imagines if the plane he's flying - while still and out of harm's way at the moment - suddenly collided with another aircraft and the bodies suddenly were ripped from the cabin, being torn apart by the pressure, as he sat and watched. Chuck Palahniuk has a tendency of doing that sort of thing, of imagining catastrophes when there aren't any, and Hamman probably freaks out around cars the same way Stephen King does these days, allowing himself to go to those spots where the only response is to ball up into that always helpful fetal position and just try to survive.
Hamman as Run On Sentence, doesn't have a specialty, just a wide array of methods to gerry rig his general suspicion and wariness to sometimes hop-a-long and ragtimey music. It doesn't all have to be dragged through the muck to give off that dooming shine at the end of the line. He doesn't always go for the pessimist's take, but he's convincing there, shaking his fingers and legs in those waters, mumbling about the things he can't help but think - drowning and dark sides. There's a real spectacular backwoods, wild, wild wilderness vibe to some of the beefs that Hamman brings up (particularly in "State of the Union" where he spits bees and could be liable for scaring children) and it makes them all so real, all so scary, even from a vantage point some yards down the way. It makes you feel something different every time.
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