FEST Band Interview: Jacob Hamilton of Alligator

by Jack Diablo
Immediately identifiable by their Alligator visors, the group of the same name is a St. Augustine institution. In a town obsessed with pirates that may or may not have tarried long on it’s shores, this band is one of its true treasures. Alligator is the embodiment of Florida punk, just as their iconic namesake serves as the reptilian mascot of the Southeast. They will play the Kickstand during FEST 8 on October 31st. EU met up with Alligator guitarist Jacob Hamilton to discuss the upcoming rager and the incestuous nature of their hometown scene.
EU: Who is Alligator and how did you guys come together?
Jacob Hamilton: Alligator is a reptilian. As one whole beast of a reptile we like to rock and roll. We were born in somewhat of a different form. . . with two full drum sets, two full drummers and a bass master without any words. About six months later we evolved into a four-piece with two guitarists, a bassist and a drummer. . . including lyrics and all. Our first show with this new evolution was October 20, 2006. Jeff plays guitar and sings. Matt plays Drums. Tim plays bass. I play guitar and sing. We’ve all been friends long before this reptile was realized.
EU: What role, if any, has being a part of FEST helped out your band?
JH: The Fest has certainly helped with the amount of fun we have as a band and as fans. It is a blast. You can’t go wrong. The Fest is like a whole U.S. tour wrapped into just one killer weekend. We are lucky to be a part of it. We get to look forward to The Fest in October and now Harvest of Hope Fest in March. There is a lot of good leaking out of the North Floridian aquifer these days.
EU: What is your favorite part about playing the FEST?
JH: The best part about playing the Fest is being able to share the stage with all the other bands. Most of the bands we usually end up playing with are our friends’ bands and even if we don’t know them you can basically count on them to be good. And. . . it is Halloween Weekend! Costumes and tribute sets are everywhere. . . and the beer floweth all day and all night!
EU: Do you have any FEST survival tips for a first-timer such as myself?
JH: Drink water, don’t drive, get to the venues early. The more in advance the better. Wear condoms, sleep in, and most importantly make sure you are off work on monday. . . your body will need it.
EU: There are a lot of great bands in St. Augustine and you guys seem to have your fingers in just about every one of them. Tell us about your other projects and perhaps a few other St. Augustine bands we should know about.
JH: St. Augustine is full of incest. Jeff and I have been playing in bands together for ten years now. Here’s a list of the incest: Tubers, Vicious Fishes, The Winslows, Premadonnasaurs, Solid Pony, and The Rivernecks just to name a few. It gets way deeper and way scarier for sure. I’m really stoked on The Winslows right now. They are awesome. Alligator just finished a tour with them and it was a treat to see them every night. For fans of Screeching Weasel and Jawbreaker. Also Mr. V and The Cougs are killer too. There is a lot of excitement down here and it motivates me more and more.
EU: I saw you guys play for the first time at Harvest of Hope last year and you recently performed at a HoH house show benefit. Tell us a little about your connection to the organization and why you feel it is such an important cause.
JH: Harvest of Hope. . . There is nothing more important than knowing where your food comes from. Migrant farm workers are the life-blood in our totally screwed up food chain. They picked the tomatoes we buy at Publix. They harvest the soy for our cooking oil. They don’t get paid enough and they work in some of the harshest conditions of today’s work force. Harvest of Hope provides them with anything from shelter to healthcare to transportation. I think it is a great foundation to support. And you have to give it to them and No Idea Records for the killer work they put into the HOH Fest last year.
EU: Where can someone find more info on your band?
Alligator has :
Prehistoric Reptilians LP, CD, and Cassette
Out soon 7” split w/ Landlord on Recess Records.
[email protected]
See ya in da swamp!