John Hampson's 'Wallet' is on the money

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Glenn Gamboa Newsday columnist Glenn Gamboa

Glenn Gamboa writes about music for Newsday.

John Hampson wasn't sure it was a song.

He was toying with the idea that the less money someone has, the fatter his wallet gets with credit cards.

"I'd never written anything political in my life," the former Nine Days front man says. "But I'm older now, and I'm experiencing different things as a father."

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Once Hampson started talking about it, though, he realized he was onto something. "I was reading the lyrics to my wife one day and she said, 'You have to record that,' " he says. "It really does sum up a lot of things."

The song -- built around a chorus about a wallet "full of maxed-out credit cards and suicide dreams" -- became "My Fat Wallet," the first single from Hampson's upcoming EP "No Fairy Tales," which he plans to release next month. It also became a way for people to do something to help fix the problem.

Hampson will donate half the proceeds of the sale of "My Fat Wallet" on iTunes to Create Jobs for USA, the Starbucks-backed fund dedicated to job creation and retention in America. "It was a way to be proactive," he says. "It's a way for the song to be more than a funny little tongue-in-cheek thing."

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Despite its subject, "Wallet" still sounds upbeat. "I'm all about the third act in my songs -- the point where you try to turn it around," Hampson says. "I rewrote it . . . because I wanted to make the point without getting too heavy about it."

In the end, Hampson succeeds. "It's an upbeat anthem about having no money," he says, laughing.

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