Doug Robb - Vocals Dan Estrin - Guitars Chris Hesse - Drums
It?d be easy to recap the career of Hoobastank: a couple of guys meet in a Battle of the Bands in Agoura Hills, CA, in 1994. They grab a bassist and a drummer, damn themselves with a weird band name, build up a local following, get signed, put out two records that earn accolades like ?post-grunge ear candy,? release a monster ballad (?The Reason?), get nominated for three Grammys ? well, we can go on. But here?s why you should really give a damn about Hoobastank, and their third album Every Man for Himself.
Ten Amazingly Fascinating Things About Hoobastank
1) Guitarist Dan Estrin has a great story involving brain surgery and a catheter.
In 2003, during the band?s tour for its multi-platinum second album The Reason, Estrin made a fateful purchase. ?Everyone in the band rides street bikes and motocross bikes,? says the guitarist. ?I was fucking around on a mini-bike that I just bought. I was riding one around after a show ? and I smashed my head into concrete.? The result? ?They had to cut my head open. I just remember, before the surgery, I had two fears: they?d have shave my head and I?d wake up with a catheter in me. So I wake up, and lo and behold, my head?s shaved and there?s a tube in my dick.?
2) The band befriended Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas
After being nominated for three Grammys, the band started experiencing the perks of fame. ?I remember being at the VMAs, giving out an award on stage with Tyra Banks,? says Estrin. ?And we were on tour in Europe, and we kept running into the Black Eyed Peas and Fergie ? who?s famous and hot and was always talking to us. Doug and I would just look at each other and be like ?Who are we? Why the fuck is she talking to us??
3) There are flutes and seven minute songs on the new album (blame Pink Floyd).
If you liked the infectious pop-rock stylings of the last two Hoobastank albums, you?ll enjoy Every Man for Himself just as much, if not more. ?There are a lot of bands who have success, then think they can do whatever the fuck they want on their follow-up,? says Estrin. ?On the other hand, we just DO what we do, and we do it well.?
That said, Every Man does offer up some variety, even while maintaining the band?s core sound. The epic ?More Than a Memory?, for example, features flutes, accordion, chimes and trumpets. ?I was listening to a lot of Pink Floyd at the time, especially The Wall,? remembers Estrin. ?I like albums, and songs, that take you on a journey, that almost come across as a movie. And that song definitely does ? it?s like Floyd, the Beatles, and even tails off like ?Sir Psycho Sexy,? that old Red Hot Chili Peppers song. I just like applying lessons from bands I admire.?
4) Did we mention the Journey influence?
Listen to ?Moving Forward? and prepare to recognize a very familiar classic rock refrain. ?We wrote that song when Doug was driving one day and heard Journey?s ?Lovin? Touchin? Squeezin? on the radio,? says Estrin. ?We like Journey; we?re not huge fans, but I really liked that ?na na na na? part of the song.? He laughs. ?I don?t think it?s stealing. We made it our own style.?
5) Music critics despise them. The feeling is mutual.
?The album comes out in April. I expect we?ll do some shows, meet fans, and have critics ready to tear it apart,? says Robb. ?Honestly, I want to go ?fuck it, it?s not for you, it?s for me and the guys in the band.? If we?re happy with it, that?s what counts. We get a lot of shit because we don?t go out of our way to be ?different? ? we?re just trying to be who we are. And that?s actually the theme of the album ? being yourself.?
Estrin agrees. ?I want our fans to be happy -- our hardcore fans, not those people who just bought us after they heard ?The Reason?,? he says. ?When I read our message board, I value the opinions of our hardcore fans. If THEY think something is crap, it affects me.?
6) Speaking of message boards, you can find a lot of fun, weird stuff about Hoobastank on theirs? and some of it might be true.
* Dan used to be a roadie for Incubus.
* Chris worked in a plant nursery for 5 years..
* Doug and Dan used to be counselors at the YMCA.
* The name of the band? It?s the ?H? in Jesus H. Christ. At least, that?s what Doug will tell you.
7) They LOVE ballads. Their new album is full of ?em ... including the first single.
You want songs that inspire the rock?n?roll masses to hoist their lighters/cell phones in the air? Call Hoobastank. ?A lot of bands that made it big with a ballad come back and say ?We?re heavier now? or ?We?re a real rock band,?? says Estrin. ?Guess what? We know we?re a rock band, but we write ballads, too. They?re usually our most interesting songs. And there?s more of ?em on here than fast songs.?
Speaking of slow jams, the band?s first single, ?If I Were You,? is a definitely on the ballad tip. ?I?m proud of it, just like ?The Reason,?? says Estrin. ?But it?s darker, and it has a more interesting structure.?
8) That?s a real drill sergeant on the album. He?s there for a reason.
?Born to Lead? features the barking cadence of Sgt. Dale Guy. ?I wouldn?t want him there all the time, but he was cool,? says Robb. ?The song was about people wishing and praying for things instead of doing something to accomplish their dreams. It?s about getting off your ass, and I think the Sarge added a lot to the song?s vibe.?
Sgt. Guy certainly knew how to hit the band?s sensitive spots. Says Estrin: ?We told him to just order us around ? so he made fun of us for writing ballads. ?I?m sure your mom would love that? ? that kind of stuff.?
9) They recorded Every Man for Himself in a really backward, inefficient, grueling kind of way.
The band started work on the album during Hooba?s last mega-tour. Estrin would come up with musical ideas during sound checks, then record a demo later, hand it off to Doug for melodies and lyrics, and finally, fly home with the whole band to record the finished product during non-tour weekends.
?It wasn?t an ideal way of doing things,? admits Robb. ?But I think, strangely, it affected us in a positive way. Maybe it was the energy of being on tour, but I think the results came out far better than our previous two records.?
10) There?s a reason for the album title. It?s a theme, and it involves sex (sort of).
Individuality and personal choice are the overriding themes to Every Man. ?The First of Me,? for example, is Robb?s idea that people should start their own thing and be ?the first of me?, instead of ?the next of you.? ?The songs definitely reflect the idea that you are in control of your own life, and it?s up to you to change things if it?s not going well,? says the singer. ? It?s reflective of us, too. A track like ?If I Were You? attacks entertainers and athletes who get rich and then lose track of how good they have it. There was some of me in that, definitely.?
Then there?s ?Inside of You,? which appears to be about ? fornicating. ?Well, that?s kind of the rogue track,? says Robb, chuckling. ?We deal with a lot of more serious subjects, but that one comes along and it?s all flirtatious and sexual. But it still falls into the ?you want it, go get it? category.?