Sitting Down With Hoobastank

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by Troy Lambert

Everyone at the Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio was rocking-out noon Tuesday February 3, 2009.

Multi-platinum recording artists, Hoobastank, were featured on WSRE-TV’s Studio Amped. Studio Amped is a music series that features local and regional musicians. However, while gearing up for there tour with fellow multi-platinum artists, 3 Doors Down, Hoobastank donated their time and talent to provide Pensacola Junior College students with a stellar performance and became the show’s first national act.

The preeminent alternative-rock group played an outstanding hour-long acoustic set for a crowd of hundreds. Songs performed include “Running Away” off of their self-titled 2001 release on Island records (past artists: Thrice, U2, Bob Marley and current artists: Bon Jovi, Mariah Carey, The Killers) “The Reason” off of the 2003 release of the same title and “So Close So Far,” which is destined to be their next smash hit, off of their latest Island release “For(N)Ever”(For Never).

While the guys from Hoobastank were cooling down after the set and getting ready for the VIP meet and greet, I was privileged enough to hangout with members Doug Robb, Dan Estrin, Chris Hesse and newcomer Jesse Charland to get a personal insight into what keeps them going while on tour, the pressure that bands are put under to stay on top, and how they feed their inner geek.

Corsair: I know you guys hate this question, but I promised my friend, Virginia, I would ask it. What exactly is a Hooba, and why does it Stank?

Dan: “I’m gonna go make a Hoobastank real fast.”*walks into the restroom*

Doug: “There you go. No really, if I new what a hooba was I would tell you, but it doesn’t exist.”

Corsair: So, where did the name come from?

Doug: “It’s totally fictitious. We just made it up out of thin air because, number one, we were 18 and…”

Chris: “I was 20.”

Doug: “…, he was 20, and immature and dumb and all the cool band names were taken. We were going to be called Metallica182, but we thought there might be some lawsuits involved.”

Corsair: How much time went into recording the new album?

Doug: “The recording process wasn’t too painfully long.”

Chris: “The bulk of it took about a month, but the fine details took about five. I feel like we’re still working on it.”

Doug: “The little things, you know, tweaking out this and that, took a longtime, and the writing took a little over a year.”

Corsair: Will there be a tour for the new album?

Doug: “Absolutely, that’s what we’re doing now. We are on tour with 3 Doors Down promoting this record and in between shows with them we’re doing our own shows.”

Corsair: While on tour, what keeps you going night after night? (Someone from the back of the room jokingly yells, “Coke!” *everyone laughs*) Well, I prefer Pepsi. *more laughs*

Doug: “This is going to sound so cliché, but honestly I think it’s the fans. It sounds very cliché and I don’t feel very rock-n-roll saying it, but going out on stage, you can be in the most bummer mood not even feeling well, like I am right now. I’m having stomach problems. Going on stage we see a bunch of our fans out there, who are so happy to be there and so glad we’re there to play music and have a good ‘ole time. It honestly makes me forget how sh*tty I may be feeling or how tired I might be. It’s really energizing.”

Chris: “I don’t think it’s cliché. I think every musician becomes a musician because they enjoy performing.”

Doug: “And the fans make it even more enjoyable.”

Corsair: Deep down we’re all geeks. What do you guys geek-out on?

Doug: “Halo 3! Xboxlive- Halo 3- if they wanna challenge me and Chris… Is it Chris Hooba?”

Chris: “Well, yeah, because somebody took HoobaChris. Who would take HoobaChris?”

Doug: “Chris Hooba and mine is Hooba Douglas. Those are our online names, so if they wanna fight us… Bring It On! I sent a blog out on our myspace page right when we got those accounts, and we were flooded with people who wanted to play us. We played for a longtime. It’s cool. Most of the time we end up just talking to the fans, over the headset, about random stuff.”

Corsair: Do you find it harder to be inspired to write new material after achieving such a high degree of success?

Doug: “I don’t think the inspiration is harder or the writing is harder, but we put a lot of pressure on ourselves, and probably unneeded pressure, to repeat the commercial success that we’ve had.”

Corsair: What does the next ten years hold for Hoobastank?

Doug: “That’s a longtime. That’s really hard to say, man. If you asked me ten years ago what the next ten years held for me, I could have never predicted what has happened in my life and in the band’s career. I think we’re just going to have to play and see where all of the chips fall.”

Corsair: Best New Artist, who is it?

Chris: “Kings of Leon, dude.”

Dan: “Yeah, but they’re not new. They’ve had albums out for a while.”

Chris: “Well, they’re new to us.”

Dan: “Um, I don’t even know of any new artists.”

Doug: “Yeah, I can’t think of any new artists.”

Corsair: So, everybody sucks?

Dan: “Yeah.”

Doug: “No, that’s not it. Me personally and the band in general… We’re just not the kind of band that has its finger on the pulse of new music.”

Dan: “Jesse is the one that listens to new music.”

Doug: “Jesse, who’s a new band that you like?”

Jesse: “I don’t really know any new bands that are out, how about the Mars Volta?”

Corsair: How do you feel about pirating music?

Doug: “Pirate music!?”

Dan: “Well, I love pirates and I love music!”

Doug: “I don’t have anything against it.”

Dan: “F#@k the record companies!”

Doug: “This band has always felt that it’s more important that people show up for the shows rather than worrying how the fans obtain the music. I used to copy songs off of friends all the time. You know? Half my Sh*t when I was younger, all my cassettes, was dubbed. So, technically that’s pirated music. I didn’t pay for a lot of my music when I was a kid, so it’s not like I should tell kids to pay for all of their music now. If the kids get their music legally, or illegally, that’s just how it’s going to be. It’s just always been more important to us that they come out to the shows and hangout because that’s where the real experience is.”