ISSUE 14  It's 2003
page 8 of 27



Is karaoke the new folk? Yes it is. Is Canned Hamm the new Bob Dylan? Of course.

CANNED HAMM: The New Dylans
by Reggie Queequeg

You know how music writers are always going off about how some new singer is the new Dylan, and it’s always bullshit? Even someone as awesome as Will Oldham, people say he’s the new Dylan, and I have to admit that if I am super drunk I may be all “Yeah, I can totally see it.” But then when I am sober I say “He’s not the new Dylan, he’s just Will Oldham. Besides, Bright Eyes is the new Dylan.” But all joking about emo bands aside (seriously, it’s not really funny anymore, and I feel bad that I did it) there is definitely a new Dylan in town, and his names are Little “Dylan” Hamm and Big “Dylan” Hamm. Without a doubt, their powerful brand of protest karaoke is taking the world by storm…Canadian Storm that is! But how could I possibly come up with any intelligent questions for such visionaries? Plagiarism, gentle reader. I took questions that the Brittish Music Press asked Bob Dylan in Don’t Look Back. “My” questions are in italics, and LH stands for Little Hamm and BH stands for Big Hamm. And the word “folk” has been replaced with “karaoke,” which everyone knows is the new folk. Seriously. Be sure to check out their fabulous web site, It’s the living end.

Why are you so big this time, what do you think?

LH: I don't think this question really pertains to me because I am Lil' Hamm so, i'll just pass this one over to Big Hamm.
BH: I'm always big but bigger than ever since this new Barbeque place opened up in town I've been getting bigger and bigger and Li'l Hamm, well in some circles we refer to him as Li'l BIG Hamm, if you get my drift.
LH: Yeah, in naturalist colonies. I keep getting all this spam on my e-mail and I wish they'd just leave me alone because any bigger would be too painful for the ladies. I don't want to have to resort to livestock. Then again, you can take the boy out of the country but you can't take the country out of the boy. Yup, I come from good country stock!
BH: When it comes to country, well, I'd rather listen to Chris Gaines.

What's the lightbulb for?

LH: Uhhhh, it's just a prop.
BH: We don't get much sunlight up here in Canada. Light bulbs help. Uh, yeah.

What's that, I didn't catch the answer...

LH: Alright, you got me. Due to certain follicles in my upper regions we have requested that we only have soft focus lighting from now on. It's more flattering. Are you happy to know the real story? Happy? We do like to keep some things private.
BH: Are you picking on us?

Are you karaoke?

BH & LH: NO!
BH: Karaoke is one of our many lovers.
LH: It is but one facet of our being. We can't call it karaoke anymore because it cheapens us.

What is your real message?

BH: There are many answering machine messages on our CD Karazma. If you buy it you can decide for yourself what our real message is.
LH: Yeah, there's a few to choose from to put on your answering machine. Choose your favourite real message!

Do you think a lot of the young people who buy your
records understand a word of what you're singing?

LH: Our third album will be a children's album because they do understand! So do seniors who will be up for reincarnation as young people soon. So do newlyweds who will be making young people of their own soon. We will play any wedding, rest home, or children's birthday party for a reasonable fee. Would you say you care about people particularly?
BH: We care about the young people at heart and try to bring out the young person in the most cynical of souls.

Are you protesting against certain things you're angry about?

LH:In an unspoken way, yes, becuase we praise what we love! We have been known to complain but that's what we pay Analyst Hamm for. Analyst Hamm is a very good listener with a comfortable couch. Hey, we did it to ourselves, okay?
BH: Performing live helps us to be happy and make others happy. Our sessions with Analyst Hamm have made us happy. But this is a very unrealistic way to go through life so we have our pal Hamster Hamm handle the anger in our camp. He calls us on all the slovenly habits we developed since becoming so happy. He's angry about a lot of things and is kind of becoming a drag, for a puppet.
LH: Yeah, he yells at us alot for a hamster!

(whispering in a semi-flirtatious way) Do you read the Bible? Because you see, a lot of the things you say...

LH: I've just started reading it again and inbetween alot of begetting and brimstone and stuff, i've found it to be really hot! It can be quite sexy!
BH: If you think what we've been saying in our songs is sexy then hot damn yeah we've been reading the Bible!
LH: Song of Solomon has been on my night table right next to two glasses of red wine.

Just how do you see the art of the karaoke song in contemporary society, has it any real social impact?

BH: Karaoke is for everyone. It is the great equalizer. Does this sort of compassion on your part present any problems in America?
LH: Now more than ever America needs us. America you need a hug! and you need to give hugs in return! Become a hug country!

Are you religious? Are you cynical?

LH: Only on Sunday.

Who's in charge? Are you Canned Hamm's manager?

BH: Why? Are you busy? What's your schedule like?