Ryan Hamilton and Roger Clyne had a deal. American-born Hamilton, who found success first in the United Kingdom with The Harlequin Ghosts, allowed Clyne to open for him across the pond.
There was one condition: Clyne had to reciprocate in the States. The two are on tour and it comes to The Van Buren at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 5.
“I love those dudes,” Hamilton says. “It’s been great.
“I was a Refreshments fan and I used Roger’s career as a map for independent artist success. I’m lucky to have befriended him and Amanda Palmer. Both of those people have been really great to me. They’re huge in showing independent artists the way.”
Part of his path is his band’s debut album, “This is the Sound,” which is set for release on Friday, May 31, on Steven Van Zandt’s label, Wicked Cool Records.
“I’m from Texas and the rest of the band is from the U.K.,” he explains. “My previous band was successful in England, randomly.”
He’s referring to People on Vacation, featuring Jaret Reddick from Bowling for Soup. When Hamilton’s bands People on Vacation and Smile Smile folded, he felt he had to return to England start over and for American to “pay attention again.” Among his projects was a charity single with English rocker Ginger Wildheart that raised thousands for charity.
The track caught the attention of Wicked Cool honcho Van Zandt, who added it to his Underground Garage playlist, along with half the songs from Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors’ 2017 album “The Devil’s in the Detail,” the first album from the band prior to the name change.
“Something clicked the last year or so,” Hamilton says. “I feel like I’ve finally found my voice and my confidence as a songwriter and performer.”
The renewed attention set the stage for a name change, and the band reconstituted itself as Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts.
As for the 12-track “This is the Sound,” it was recorded in the United Kingdom last year, and features the new single “Mamacita.” Co-written with Van Zandt, the song follows the release of “Bottoms Up (Here’s to Goodbye).”
“I co-wrote this with Stevie Van Zandt, sort of by accident,” Hamilton says. “I had what I thought was a finished song, but Stevie heard it and said, ‘It’s good, but it needs a chorus.’ So, he wrote one and sent it to me. This song will forever be special to me for that very reason.
“Mamacita is a word I heard here in Texas growing up. I relate it to beautiful, sexy Mexican women, in the most respectful way. Combine that with memories of a couple of crazy nights just south of the border, and you have the inspiration for this song.”
Hamilton is excited about playing the new songs live with core members Mickey Richards (drums) and Rob Lane (bass) along with Carol Hodge (keyboards and backing vocals) and Dave Winkler (lead guitar).
“Our shows are what a collective experience should be,” he says. “We remove the fake barrier. I think it’s important to make everyone feel a part of it. It’s a good old-school rock ‘n’ roll show. It’s rowdy and drink and it’s fun. We’re going to keep doing that, but in America. It feels like a drunk saloon rock ‘n’ roll party with a mostly British band.”
Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers w/ Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts and The Cole Trains, The Van Buren, 401 W. Van Buren Street, Phoenix, thevanburenphx.com, 1 p.m. Sunday, May 5, $32.