David Wellen lives a double life, but it’s the kind of life melophiles could envy. By day, Wellen is a landscaper and treasurer at the Riverhead Moose Lodge. By night, he is Joe Hampton, the lead singer of a local rock band.
“David Wellen and Joe Hampton are very different guys,” Wellen said of his alter ego. “I am more quiet and reserved off stage. On stage, I am an entirely different person.”
The Westchester County native has been hitting the stage since the late ’70s, forming his sound around punk rock. In 1979, he moved to the East End but needed a name that would look better in neon lights, a name that would accurately portray the vibe he was eager to put out. Thus, Joe Hampton was born, “like Joe Cool or Joe College,” he said. That’s when he started Joe Hampton and the Mindless Members, making appearances at East End destinations and then notable city establishments CBGSs, Max’s Kansas City, and The Mudd Club. “The music I play now is totally different from my early stuff and later releases,” Wellen said.
Gone are his punk rock days and instead replaced with a soft, classic rock style. In 2019 alone, Joe Hampton and his band members played to 71 different audiences. Throughout his 40-year-plus career the vocalist and drummer has released six different CDs with his two main bands, The Mindless Members and The Kingpins, a musical partnership formed in 1992. Albums include 1999’s Angry Joe and the Relatives “Revenge for Tomorrow,” 2001’s Joe Hampton and The Kingpins “Guilty as Sin,” 2003’s “Not Afraid of Anything,” 2004’s “Alligator Shoes,” 2015’s Joe Hampton “Back On Track,” and his latest, Joe Hampton and the Mindless Members with “Society is Snapping,” featuring fresh recordings of tracks originally written back in 1980.
“The last few years I am getting a better response than ever at my live performances and it is very gratifying,” Wellen said.
He has three benefit concerts coming up. On March 21, at 2 PM, he will be playing the Spring Fling Music Concert at the Riverhead American Legion. On May 2, at 6:30 PM, catch him at the sixth annual Rock N’ Blues for the Vets at the Riverhead Moose Lodge with special emcee Bill Evans from WLNG, and on September 3, at 4 PM, he will be at the Old Steeple Church scholarship benefit in Aquebogue.
Learn more at www.joehamptonmusic.com.