Occupation: Local music cornerstone and sound technician.
Bio: Wallace Hammond rules. Born and raised in St. John’s, he has been a huge part of the St. John’s music scene since his student days as station manager at MUN radio. In fact, February 3rd marked the 30th anniversary of the first ever punk show in St. John’s—it was put on by Wallace’s band Da Slyme. Since that show, Wallace has been in bands such as The Wet Cheeze Delirium, the Bubonic Plague, Dog Meat BBQ and the Black Auks. He worked at Calio’s and the Cornerstone as a sound technician, where he watched the punk and metal scenes grow. He’s done sound for the likes of Bruce Cockburn, Muddy Waters and Pat Methany, and is still doing sound all over town, in addition to working with the Sound Symposium. In his spare time he makes his own switching boards, and tweaks pedals and guitars.
What was the first punk show in St. John’s like? “We were all involved in MUN radio and did a gig as a fundraiser for the station… There were about 200 people there. At 10pm Da Slyme went on and 22 minutes later it was all over, and the singer on his way to the hopsital.” Apparently, he cut himself on some broken beer bottles that people were tossing around. And lo! the St. John’s punk scene was born.
Any words of encouragement for the folks doing the RPM challenge?: “I think it’s a great thing.” He had a small label back in the day called Vikki Beat records, which put out CDs, tapes and vinyl, that “might have only sold about 10 copies or less”, including a Da Slyme vinyl which now sells for about $300. They even sold a copy to Jello Biafra. “The way we used to record, we’d be putting out tapes within a month. If you look back, records didn’t used to take years to make. Cream’s Disreali Gears was done in a weekend.”
What’s the greatest thing about what you do?: “I get to see an incredible array of musicianship that probably nobody would see otherwise, or that I wouldn’t see otherwise, but I’ve always felt that hardly a week goes by that I don’t see someone who is really good. People talk all the time about all the talent in Newfoundland, and nothing could be truer.”
— Sarah Smellie