Peter Hammill
Singer, songwriter, piano, accoustic, electric and bass guitars

Peter Hammill still performs as a solo artist and you can find out more about his current activities on his own website at

Meurglys? Peter Hammill's Guitars.

Peter Hammill interviewed in Record Collector - June 2005.

The logo, shown above, first appeared on the cover of Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night in 1973.
In 1981, in Hamburg, Germany, responding to a question from a fan, Peter drew this diagram explaining how the logo is created from the letters in HAMMILL and the scorpio star sign.

"Van der Graaf's Spiritual Farewell" - Interview by Steve Peacock in December 1972.

"Keep an eye on Hammill" - Interview by Roy Hollingworth in April 1973 for MM.

"Van der Graaf Generator: A Requiem" - Interview by Teddy Rideo in May 1973 for Music Scene (In German with English translation).

"Peter Hammill - A Depressing Situation" - Interview by Pierre F. Häsler in November 1973 for Music Scene (In German with English translation).

"Four interviews with the enigmatic Peter Hemmill" - Interview by Brian Rivas in January 1974 (and previously) for Zig Zag magazine.

This picture appeared in Sounds as part of a Geoff Barton interview in 1974.

Verbal Chess with Dr. Hammill - interview in Liquorice by Howard Bellaby, January 1976.

The Generator Game - interview in the MM by Karl Dallas, 13th November 1976.

Will Peter Hammill end up crazy? - interview in the NME by Angus Mackinnon, 19th March 1977.

Peter Hammill plays chess with Bert Van de Kamp for OOR magazine in 1977.
(The piece is in Dutch).

Visa Records press photo (USA) 1978
Charisma press photo's 1973 and 1974

Charisma press photo from 1977

Peter Hammill with Van der Graaf in Sweden, March 1977
Marquee, London, England 1976

Montreal, Canada
October 1976

New York 1976
(Beacon Theatre page)
Oxford, England 1976
Canada, Québec Palais Montcalm, 8th December 1978

Peter Hammill and Phil Collins - January 1977...

Pictures left and right -
Peter Hammill in Montreal, Canada April 1974.



Peter Hammill was born on Bonfire Night, 1948, in Ealing, and educated at Beaumont College, Manchester University (Liberal Studies in Science) with further education in Van der Graaf Generator.

The band, which was given it's name by Chris Judge Smith, one of the founder members, was formed in 1967 and continued during 1968 by which time Peter had left University to devote his attentions entirely to the band. Chris Judge Smith left (though he still writes songs with Peter) and Hugh Banton, Guy Evans, Keith Ellis and Peter Hammill remained together until the end of 1968 when the band broke up entirely.

Peter Hammill played fill-in gigs at the Lyceum during 1969 and recorded an intended solo album - 'The Aerosol Grey Machine' - which, by virtue of the musicians taking part, unwittingly became a band album which duly gave birth to the formation of Van der Graaf Generator Mark II.

This period - which Peter regards as the 'real' Van der Graaf Generator - spawned 'The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other' and 'H To He Who Am The Only One', both of which received amazing reviews. The band at this point featured Peter Hammill, David Jackson, Hugh Banton and Nic Potter, although Nic left midway through the 'H To He' sessions.

During the later stages Peter put together an album of his older songs called 'Fool's Mate', which was generally in lighter vein than the music of the band and was followed by Van der Graaf Generator's last album 'Pawn Hearts'. Says Peter: "Both represented the best, if most extreme, work I had done to date".

Inevitably the band broke up "for reasons described as spiritual though never fully explained to, or understood by, anyone outside the band".


Thus Peter embarked on individual pursuits that duly led to further solo albums - 'Chameleon In The Shadow Of The Night' and 'The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage' which featured him variously as a soloist, and a musician working with other members of the old Van der Graaf Generator.
The following album 'In Camera' was virtually a solo album from start to finnish apart from overdubs, added at Peter's own four track home studio. "Again it was an extreme album", says Peter, "certain points leave themselves open to misinterpretation, but it's probably the most lasting of all my solo albums".

At around the same time, Peter's first book, 'Killers, Angels, Refugees', was published, incorporating recorded lyrics, poems and short stories. Peter recently completed a further book of short stories which will be published later this year.

Late last year Peter Hammill started work on a further solo album at Rockfield studios which he has called 'Nadir's Big Chance' and suggests that it is closer to 'Fool's Mate' than the last three solo albums, with lighter, shorter songs.....

The album is released by Charisma on February 7th, and, up to a point, manifests the completion of a full circle as Peter meets his alter ego, Rikki Nadir.

"I do have several alter egos," he says, in qualification of the pseudonym. "Nadir, a later arrival, is my pop component, and he is the perpetual sixteen year-old who loves smashing guitars - but there's very much a place for him. It's not such a serious side as 'In Camera', but there's still the same heart and soul - I mean, there are songs on the previous albums that could easily have been on Nadir's album, it's just lighter that's all."

Peter Hammill's vision of the future is typical of his attitude in general: "Hopefully I will go on doing what has to be done (which is known only in the moment of action) for as long and as honestly as possible......"