Rod Hamdallah reveals his ultimate summer playlist

Rod Hamdallah talks African desert blues, sexy blues, and more blues.


Rod Hamdallah, native to Clifton, NJ, may have started playing drums for Atlanta punk rock bands in 2003, but now his Arabic roots roll deep within the heart of Southern blues and Motown soul. When it comes to performing, Hamdallah channels the showmanship and power of early James Brown and the craftsmanship in Jack White's song structure. Not only does he have some serious pipes of his own, but he also "loves cooking everything," and introduced me to some crazy-cool, psychedelic African desert blues and a '60s Arabic garage band, which I currently have on repeat.

What are your summer plans? - Any solo vacations, tours, or projects you're working on that Atlanta can look forward to?

I'll be taking some time off to hit Crescent Beach in St. Augustine. After I get back home I'll start touring the East Coast in August and September. I'll also be doing some touring with The Legendary Shack Shakers and come back home to record a few tunes for a 45 release later this year.

What's on your summer playlist?

Marvin Gaye: "You"
The King Khan and BBQ Show: "Invisible Girl"
Black Lips: "Dandelion Dust"
The Growlers: "Beach Rats"
Flat Duo Jets: "Shape of Things to Come"
Roger Miller: "The Moon is High (And So Am I)"
Tinariwen (African desert blues): "Koud Edhaz Emin"
Lee Moses: "Bad Girl"
James Brown: "Just a Little Bit of Everything (ft. Herb Hardesty)"
The Devil's Anvil ('60s Arabic garage): "Wala Dai"
Black Lips: "Drugs"
Lead Belly: "If It Wasn't For Dicky"
The Clash: "Safe European Home"
The Blues Busters: "I Won't Let You Go"
Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band: Safe as Milk (full album)

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Do you think your musical taste varies from the other people that you play music with?

Yes. I like so many genres of music. Meanface Bear Lightnin' (Gabriel Pline drums) and I grew up as punk rockers, so we're similar on that level. Adam Holiday (organ) and I relate a lot more on '60s garage and surf pop stuff. And I'd say Gabe digs blues more versus something like Del Shannon.

What are your musical icons, past or present, who inspires you your music taste, style, and overall attitude and/or life mantra?

James Brown, Marvin Gaye and Dexter Romweber. Dexter had a band in the '80s called the Flat Duo Jets. They became a heavy influence of the White Stripes and I've played with them a lot in the past. I also like Jack White's creative mind and work ethic. Marvin Gaye and James Brown are the guys I went to when I was learning how to sing, even though they both have different styles. James Brown's voice and stage presence in his early years is my favorite singing.

Do you have a certain quote that you try to live by?

I don't know if it's something I'd live my life by, but it's my favorite quote: "Most of the people I admire, they usually smell funny and don't get out much. It's true. Most of them are either dead or not feeling well." - Tom Waits

What band would you empty your bank account to see live? Dead or alive ...

I'd have to say Ray Charles.

Who/what band would you want to play a show with and why?

Beck would be pretty great. His stuff has always been great and he'd be cool to talk to. My style would go really well with Jack White too. It's hard because I've played with a lot of the bands that I like already.

If you were trapped in a bunker with only one record to listen to on repeat, which one would you choose?

The Jerk Boom Bam Greasy Rhythm & Soul Party Vol 1. It's a compilation.

Which one would be the most tortuous?

The Shaggs Philosophy of the World. Cool name, but probably one of the worst records you'll ever hear because they don't know how to play music ... It's really funny to listen to. There's like three girls that are playing a sort of '70s pop that their dad recorded. It's just really bad.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?

I don't think anyone should be embarrassed of what they listen to, but I'd have to say the Shins. Most of my friends don't know I listen to them, but I think James Mercer is a great songwriter and melody maker.

What's the best thing about playing music in Atlanta?

The music fans and the venues are really receptive and understand Georgia's music history. Also, Atlanta music and nightlife is so good. You can go out any night of the week and hear great music and meet great people. I love Atlanta!!

Rod Hamdallah plays Park Pet Supply's 15th Anniversary Bash with Low Volts and the Western Sizzlers at the Earl on Sun., July 27. 488 Flat Shoals Ave. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com.