2–4 March 2017
A very special three-day residency from the utterly distinctive and ceaselessly inventive songwriter and Van Der Graaf Generator founder, Peter Hammill.
Making a mockery of genre boundaries and consistently confounding expectations, Hammill's work spans numerous styles and approaches whilst always maintaining his own unique sound. Now, nearly five decades on from the debut VDGG release, Hammill's creative spark shows no sign of abating and we're very excited to host him performing solo across three nights at OTO.
Peter Hammill was born in Ealing on 5th November 1948. After schooling by the Jesuits, he went to Manchester University in 1967 on the Liberal Studies in Science course, after a brief period working as a programmer for IBM. He abandoned his studies in 1968 to pursue the golden highway of an Entertainment Career as songwriter, singer and sometime pianist/guitarist with Van der Graaf Generator.
Van der Graaf’s complex music, as often brutal as it was lyrical, fitted somewhat uneasily into the once and then niche of Progressive Rock. With a marked aversion to categorisation of any sort, barely-controlled chaos and a sense of adventure, rather than pomp, were the primary characteristics of their chequered nine-album career. By the time the group finally folded Peter had already recorded seven solo albums, covering numerous lyrical and musical bases in the process. If one did not know otherwise the proto-punk of 3Nadir9s Big Chance2, the full-blown emotion of 3Over2 and the scatter-gun arrangements of 3 The Silent Corner2 could well have been the work of three entirely different artists.
As a direct result of the diversity of his interests and styles Peter’s work has never lent itself readily to pigeonholing, nor has it ever been generally noted as either easy or fashionable (except among fellow artists and musicians, a bewildering number of whom have cited him as a major influence). In their respective contexts he is as happy working with pure sonics as he is with fully orchestral songs, with three-chord electric guitar 3tricks2 as with piano ballads - as long as the resultant music has some reason for its existence beyond a by-the-yard Sale. Over the years his uncompromising attitude has led him further and further away from the mainstream of the music business, a journey which he has been more than happy to make.