Jeff Porter- Lead vocals, lead guitar
Jimmy Palmer- Piano, organ, vocals
Jerry Adamowicz- Bass, vocals
Sandy Hancock- Drums, vocals
Additional Musicians Available:
Cello, Mandolin, Extra guitars (electric/acoustic), Percussion, Horns, Harmonica, backing vocals
Interview with Mama Hagglin
by Sarah Powell
On the weekend of the 4th of July, I had an opportunity to interview members of Mama Hagglin – Jeff Porter, Jerry Adamowicz, and Jimmy Palmer. Jeff, founder of Mama Hagglin, is lead singer and lead guitarist. Jerry on bass and vocals is the newest member of Mama Hagglin. As Jerry has his own recording studio in California, he worked on the production of Mama Hagglin’s latest album, Vibe. Jimmy on piano, organ and vocals joined Mama Hagglin late 2007 when the band realized it was time “to add some keys”. Sandy Hancock on the drums and vocals joined Mama Hagglin shortly after playing the drums with Jeff at a mutual friend’s wake ceremony. On the 4th of July, the Block Party at Huntington Beach, California was the first live performance for the current line up of Mama Hagglin. Each member coming from well-known punk rock bands, returned to his passion of rock music like “he listened to as a child”.
In 2003, Mama Hagglin was born. “The name was born, actually, before the band” explains Jeff as he reminisces the time. One day when Jeff and Jonny Phish, a friend and bass player, were jamming in the studio, they talked about Jimi Hendrix’s blues compilation record. In one of the live performances, Jimi Hendrix walks up to the microphone and mutters the words “mama mama hagglin”. “Listen closely, and you can hear it.” In search of “a name with nostalgic ties to the era they [Jeff and Jonny] enjoyed, Mama Hagglin was born”, Jeff states.
Mama Hagglin brings together an eclectic compilation of rock music that brings me back. From songs with a strong pro-peace message as ‘War’ to melodious ballads as ‘The Goodbye Waltz’ that reaches out and grabs you by the heartstrings. From high energy songs as ‘Pushing Up Daisies’ to songs with a pop rock sound as ‘End of the Line’. When I recognized that because of Mama Hagglin’s eclectic sound each song is a new story in the lyrics and the music, Jimmy responded that “it’s nice to take a trip with the album” – rather than listening to the same style of song. Each of these songs and many more can be heard on Vibe.
Along with the core members, other musicians join in bringing together the band’s eclectic sound, such as a 14- year-old cellist with amazing technique from a local high school, a string section, and a horn section. As Jimmy shares his passion for music with his family, he encourages his children to find their own passion in music. One of Jimmy’s daughters even got the opportunity to contribute her musical talent in Vibe. Another regular addition to the band’s sound is Tetsuya “Tex” Nakamura nicknamed “The Weeping Willow” who is a well-known harmonica player.
Music speaks differently to each member of Mama Hagglin and to the fans. In “The Goodbye Waltz”, Jeff wrote about his childhood; he did not have a great relationship with his dad who was abusive. Despite the abuse, Jeff spent his life trying to get his dad to appreciate and accept him. It wasn’t until he turned forty years old that he realized “it’s never going to change”. It was time to say “goodbye to all the bad feelings...carried inside” and move on with his life. Jeff also spoke of a performance in which Mama Hagglin played “The Goodbye Waltz”. An older lady who was standing in the back of the room caught his attention. As Mama Hagglin played, this lady was drawn closer and closer to the stage. When the song ended, she was no longer seen, until after the performance that night. She walked up to Jeff and began to cry as she shared her story with him. She explained that this song reminded her of her husband who died while fighting in the war soon after they were married. He always spoke of redemption for what people were fighting. This song meant something to her and it touched her heart. When speaking with Jerry about the eclectic style of music that Mama Hagglin performs, he commented that he normally enjoys the high energy rock music; but “the songs, “Let It Ride” and “The Goodbye Waltz” really hit home” with him as they are “very strong songs.”
Up to this point, Jeff has written the lyrics based on his personal or friends’ experiences. Jeff states that Mama Hagglin now has three additional band mates who he feels have more talent than he has and can work together to carry Mama to that next level. He looks forward to creating new music and lyrics with the band and building on each others strengths of Jerry’s music composition experience, Jimmy’s lyric writing and music talents, and Sandy’s music and percussion skills.
Though, Mama Hagglin is currently based out of California, they look forward to taking Mama on the road in the near future - even for a tour of Europe.
Keep on rocking, Mama Hagglin!