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B. Hamilton: 'Hey Sunshine'

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A black-and-white collage of two images. One is a close-up of a man next to a microphone. The other is a man with a beard seated in a studio with a drum symbol in the foreground.
Ryan Parks (center) and (top and bottom) Raj Ojha. (Photo Courtesy of Ginger Fierstein/Collage by Spencer Whitney of KQED)

The Sunday Music Drop is a weekly radio series hosted by the KQED weekend news team. In each segment, we feature a song from a local musician or band with an upcoming show and hear about what inspires their music.

The Oakland-based rock and roll band B. Hamilton makes humorous music about different subjects. Their song “Hey Sunshine” from the EP The Freest Speech Ever Attempted Without Disintegrating, released on March 24, is a character study on Elon Musk, Tesla CEO and owner of X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Elon Musk is just this character in the [Bay Area]; he seems so close, and yet he’s so far,” said Ryan Parks, B. Hamilton’s songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist. “It’s just a lot of moving parts…and it just seemed like he was unraveling or something. The song ‘Hey Sunshine’ is kind of that cocksure, manic kind of state he can get into.”

“He is not a very savory character, so being able to find the humanity in him is important to me as a writer because we’re all human,” said Parks. “And I think he’s probably very smart, but that can be isolating.”

He says he grew tired of writing sad and depressing songs, which weren’t as much of a challenge to him as writing humor. Parks is from Orange County and moved to the Bay Area for school. His father was a machinist with several musical instruments who allowed him to play at night in large warehouses.

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The origins of the band’s name comes from Tom Hamilton, the landlord of his father’s machine shop. “Then I just slapped ‘banana’ on the front of it,” said Parks. “So [laughs] it’s horrible. And each year it gets worse. … it’s this thing that just kind of exists from my twenties.”

The band’s members also include Raj Kumar Ojha and Ian Miller. If you’d like to hear B. Hamilton live, the band will be performing at Little Hill Lounge in El Cerrito on Tuesday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m.

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