Helmet fans waiting for the defunct band's leader, Page Hamilton, to release his first post-Helmet effort may have to wait a little bit longer.Hamilton will be playing guitar in David Bowie's backing band when the Thin White Duke kicks off a brief promotional tour to plug his "hours..." album, due in stores on October 5. Hamilton will be filling in for longtime Bowie cohort Reeves Gabrels, who is taking a leave of absence from Bowie's band to work on his own solo projects. Bowie had originally planned on playing some December and January gigs, as he had a high-profile performance at the Gisborne Festival in New Zealand scheduled for New Year's Eve. When plans for that show fell through, he decided against playing other gigs around that time (see "David Bowie, Split Enz Withdraw From New Zealand Y2K Concert"). Former Rollins Band guitarist Chris Haskett, who guested on "hours...," was approached to play the late 1999-early 2000 dates, but, as Bowie posted on his Web site, "Because of the Gisborne Festival fold-up, plans for a small winter tour have been abandoned. Our friend, Chris Haskett, was ear-marked only for the cancelled tour. There will be no promo-tour... I have [now] undertaken to do only a handful of radio and TV appearances." Bowie's handful of radio and TV appearances include an episode of "Saturday Night Live," Canada's MuchMusic Awards, and performing at the NetAid concert in Wembley Stadium (see "Puff Daddy, Sting, More Join NetAid As Lineups Are Announced; Bono Talks Wyclef"). In other Bowie news, the re-release of Bowie's back catalog has been pushed back from September 21 to September 28 (see "Bowie Films Two Videos, Prepares To Release 'hours...'"). Meanwhile, Page Hamilton's manager told MTV News that the singer-guitarist's commitment to Bowie should only last from six to eight weeks. He also says that Hamilton has been working on his next venture, which will be a group project and not a solo album as previously thought (see "Helmet Calls It Quits As Hamilton Goes Solo").
-- Brian Ives