WHY ENGLAND SLEPT releases “House of Pizza”

“House of Pizza,” an eclectic 12-song mix of post-rock, new age, jazz and prog, has been independently released by WHY ENGLAND SLEPT, a musical recording project led by Salem, MA singer-songwriter Don Hammontree.

Hammontree, the guitarist, vocalist and chief songwriter for the local band Bad Fogelberg, was joined in the studio by producer Josh Gold, Bad Fogelberg drummer Eric Roebuck and noted Boston sessions bassist Matthew Edwards. WHY ENGLAND SLEPT, named after JFK’s senior thesis at Harvard, was formed to record a plethora of original instrumentals as part of a two-album project. The first, the piano-friendly “House of Pizza,” was released December 1. A second, more guitar-heavy album is expected to be released in late 2024.


Three years in the making (original rehearsal sessions began in March 2020, on the eve of the pandemic), WHY ENGLAND SLEPT’s sound on “House of Pizza” is a departure from the pop/punk of Bad Fogelberg and the alternative folk/rock leanings of Hammontree’s solo recordings. The album features various influences (including Vince Guaraldi, Liz Story, Miles Davis, Christian McBride, Erik Satie, Ritchie Blackmore, Bruce Hornsby, and Radiohead) from a number of different genres. The moods of the songs range from upbeat jazz (the title track and “Gimme Some Brighton!”) to atmospheric pianoscapes (“Montmartre from Space,” “Maplecroft”) to the eerie and jarring (“Playtime with Chafe,” “Pictures at an Exhumation”).

“I like to describe it as a ‘Charlie Brown Christmas’ at Pink Floyd’s house,” joked Hammontree. “It’s also a bit of a soundtrack in search of a film.”