George Hakkila
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George Hakkila

Band Alternative Avant-garde


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Alternative Press"

"Luckily, as 7" culture becomes more serious and onanistic, idiotic bands like Ham Steak are feeling free to step in and pollute the vinyl supply. This moronic early Ralph Records shebang rollicks with lobotomized Casiotone delightfulness. The punchline of 'The Happy Man Comes to Town with a Story' will make you want to sock yourself in eye. The inside poster depicts a grimacing man named Henry Rollins whizzing over a modern city skyline while standing straight up. Highly recommended!"

- Alternative Press

"Rudy's Bar and Grill"

Mom always said, "There's nothing like hamsteak to brighten your day," and how right she was. In this case, however, we're not talking about that delightful chewy pink slab with the bone in the middle, we're talking about Ham Steak, the lo-fi alter-ego of George Hakkila. The name resonates richly of rock and roll heritage: one man, an acoustic guitar, a bad drum machine, and a four track. I can't help it. I love Ham Steak. So when I found Ham Steak had landed a gig at Rudy's Bar in New Haven, I rushed right down.

Neither New Haven nor Rudy's had changed much since my last visit. The air was still smelly, the parking was awful, and the beer was still cheap. As we walked in the door, george was just beginning his set, sans drum machine. It was a large and boisterous crowd, and a lot of people were obviously familiar with Ham Steak's repertoire. Throughout the set, I was continually impressed with the number of people who were singing along, and openly appreciating the music. Connecticut fans certainly know how to treat an artist.

The set opened with "Shakey's Lament," from Ham Steak's new split 7" (with M.O.T.O) on Elephi Pelephi Records. Next up was "Lonesome George," which sounded great. George's voice was in fine form. The show really took off with "Vacation (I Got a)." This is a song also performed by George's electric group, Stringbean, but I really like the acoustic version Ham Steak does better. It's nice to hear the lyrics without the blare and crash of a full electrified band. One song in particular that stood out for me was "Gibbous," the refrain "...and my heart/will soon fall apart/and my head's not long to follow," is one of those lines that gets caught in your head for days afterward. "In Search Of," Ham Steak's nod to Leonard Nimoy, also benefitted from an acoustic arrangement as George whistled in accompaniment to his frenzied guitar strumming, til the set finally closed with "Varying Degrees" from the Ham on the Run CD.

Ham Steak has been opening frequently throughout the Connecticut and Massachusetts region; the show at Rudy's was followed by n appearance at Fat Cat's in Springfield and The People's Pint in Greenfield, MA, but extended runs are few and far between. If you like your music lo-fi, go see Ham Steak. You won't be sorry. And like Mom always said, it's good for you!

Brendan Skwire
- Northeast Performer


Trans Ham (Like The Pigs That You Are) &
The Raconteur
"For the past couple of years, self-taught guitarist and Connecticut resident George Hakkila has been sending home made tapes of his one-man wonder Ham Steak to a small circle of friends and a select group of lucky college radio stations.

Recorded over promo-tapes he scavenges from the record warehouse where he works, Hakkila's tapes are the perfect example of what's so great about underground rock. Delectable bites of poorly-recorded pop masterpieces that follow you around like beer-soaked shadows for weeks on end.

Finally, one of those friends offered to put out a 7 inch ep of the best material found on those cassettes and a minute portion of the world was treated to the limited-edition epic vinyl debut Blue Blue Ham on Elephi Pelephi records.

Unfortunately, my dear friends, George, a man who has been known to emit a nice head of Ballantine when he sneezes, came across that same virus that has felled the likes of ex-Mission of Burma member Roger Miller and developed what I refer to as the Maximum Electric Piano disease (or MEP). He then, in a state of obvious delirium, hoisted the cheerfully annoying Trans Ham upon an ill-informed public. Stuffing his Casio full of goofballs and putting little dresses on each of his fingers (along with assigning each of them names), George created four little light-as-air instrumental ditties that are so harmless and carefree that, if they were people, you would rip out their throats and tie them in knots in front of their still grinning faces.

Fortunately for Hakkila, and us, his friends Rich and Mark came over to his house, ripped those dresses off of his pudgy little digits and smashed his keyboard to bits. They then shoved an electric guitar into George's swollen gut and, acting as his rhythm section, forced him to juice up the Ham Steak staple 'The Balloon.' They then wiped off his chin and told him to make up something new. Something that didn't sound like a Mentos jingle. He came up with 'The Raconteur' and the band String Bean was born.

While some folks have mistakingly dubbed this Crash Test Dummies meets American Music Club, or something equally nauseating, this is in fact what Slovenly would sound like if they wanted more than fourteen people to show up at their shows. Combining the best of Beantown's pop craftsmanship with the crumpled rumble of George's gurgle, this splendid single ranks among the best to surface in 1994.

If you're the kind of dork who likes to play air guitar in front of the mirror and then pretends you've been brushing lint off your pants when someone enters the room, String Bean should be at the very top of your shopping list."

- Spec Magazine

"Ham Steak a.k.a. George Hakkila"

Ham Steak's deep-toned lead vocals recall Nick Cave, though Mr. Steak has the added bonus of a sense of humor. - Illinois Entertainer


Yellow Tongue, Black Label - cassette ep
Live at Naragansette, Songs That Made the Bay Famous - cassette ep
Blue Blue Ham - 7" ep
Trans Ham (Like the Pigs That You Are) - 7"ep
Ham On The Run - full length CD
Ingredient: Love - cassette ep
Jesus Loves Cheeses - full length CD
Sizzlin' With Mr. Steak: Live - full length CD
Live at the Iron Horse, MAfucker - full length CD
I Think Therefore I Ham - full length CD
Perfect Sleeping Weather - full length CD

Split 7" w/ Hospital
Split 7" w/M.O.T.O.

Featured on a couple dozen compilations

I've had airplay all over the world including Australia ("Grace" #1 most requested during drive time in Perth for two weeks), North America (#1 at several college stations for multiple weeks, top 30 CMJ at dozens of stations for multiple weeks), France, Italy, Germany, South America, ranked #5 for all artists (over 40,000) on IUMA at last available reading, and currently availble to stream on MySpace as both George Hakkila and Ham Steak.



I used to call myself Ham Steak but have dropped that moniker to use my own name. I write all my own songs and only play a handful of covers live. My influences include Devo, Mission of Burma, Johnny Cash, Dinosaur Jr., XTC, the Minutemen, the Residents, Pavement, Silver Jews, Blue Oyster Cult, Merle Travis, Thin White Rope, Raymond Scott, Giant Sand, the Girls, Moving Targets, Willie Nelson, and everything I've bought on Fonal Records. My voice is low-ish and my guitar playing can be frantic like a blast furnace with a crack in it or tinkly like a toilet.

I play the jingly-jangly songs as my standard repertoire but I would love the opportunity to perform my loud electric material. Either way I'm going to be playing some pretty physical stuff.