Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Hinder

CD: Take It To The Limit
Record Label: Universal

Rock-n-rollers and out-of-controllers, be advised: Hinder is en route to the northern tundra on a mission to “bring the fun back to rock & roll.” Scheduled to play three shows in Wisconsin this winter, they’ll be at The Eagles Club in Milwaukee Dec. 21, the Alliant Energy Center in Madison Feb. 14, and the Resch Center in Green Bay Feb. 19.

Formed in 2001 in Oklahoma City, this five man outfit experienced massive success with their first album titled “Extreme Behavior” (Universal Records, 2005). If you listened to the radio for any duration of time in 2005, you probably heard one of their many singles, most notably “Lips of an Angel” or “Get Stoned.”

The follow up to their initial triple platinum record is called “Take It to the Limit” (Universal Records, 2008). It appears destined for similar success. Two singles have been released thus far: “Without You” and “Use Me.” Rock legends like Motley Crue are embracing the band. The Crue’s Mick Mars plays drums on the title track of the album. Not only that, but they’ve invited Hinder to join them on their Saints of Los Angeles Tour along with Theory of a Deadman and The Last Vegas. Austin Winkler, Hinder’s singer, comments on the opportunity: “Motley Crue is a massive influence on us and an inspiration on so many levels for what we do! It will be an honor and privilege for us to tour with one of the greatest rock bands ever! And we can’t wait to party our asses off with them!”

Partying is what Hinder is all about, in opposition to the name of the band which means “to impede, hamper, delay, prevent, or stop (according to Webster).” A bit of a riddle, the name is the antithesis of the creed of the band, which is unadulterated excess. Don’t waste your time looking for any symbolism. There’s no deep meaning here. No tribal sweat lodge. No mystical dreams about the essence of music or liberation from societal confines. Bassist Mike Rodden describes the unsexy way the name of the band was created: they couldn’t think of a name that everyone could agree on. Someone unearthed a thesaurus, leafed through it until they found the word “frustrated,” which was how everyone was feeling, then ricocheted through the entry ultimately landing on the word “hinder,” which stuck.

Undaunted by after-school specials, sexually transmitted disease horror photos in health class, BeTheGeneration HIV education initiatives, or rock star overdoses, this squad is here to party. They enjoy women in lingerie bringing them drinks on stage while they perform. They hand out VIP passes to good-looking women and rid their tour bus of food to make more room for booze. In a lavish, bold, and sweeping embrace of denial, Hinder members are living the dream. “We’re playing music, partying, and getting paid for it. There’s nothing better than that.” When asked if there were any downsides to being a rock star, Rodden states: “There’s nothing bad about it. Wait, the only bad thing is when we run out of ice on the tour bus.” Rodden says that all the partying has been a liability at times, resulting in some self-imposed regulation, “We did a show in Columbus, Ohio, and when it was time to go on, me and Austin were so drunk that we could barely stand upright. Now we don’t drink as much before the shows.”

Rodden cites the reason for their success as the level of interaction they pursue with their fans, “We love talking and drinking with the people who come to our shows. It is the most amazing feeling to be playing music and seeing people singing along and smiling. When people come to one of our concerts, we want them to let loose, go crazy. We give everything we have, and we expect back as much as we give. Our goal is to rock peoples’ asses off.” People are, at least, getting their limbs rocked off. Rodden confirms that a fan actually threw his prosthetic leg on stage at a show in Idaho. Winkler “grabbed it and was going to ‘kick’ Blower in the balls with it. Blower stopped him by pouring vodka in the part of the leg where the nub goes. Austin swirled it around and actually shot it, nub funk and all.”

Reflecting on the evolution of their sound, Rodden says, “For the second album, we’re much more mature as song writers. Not more mature as people, mind you, but as song writers. We had a lot more time in the studio for ‘Take It to the Limit.’ A lot more freedom and a lot more time thanks to the success of ‘Extreme Behavior’.”

“Take It to the Limit” is laden with rock anthems that are sure to remind middle-aged rockers of football captain glory days and may serve as a gateway to a resurgence in RATT, AC/DC, KISS, and Guns N Roses sales. With GNR’s “Chinese Democracy,” Motley Crue’s “Saints of Los Angeles,” and AC/DC’s “Black Ice” on store shelves, we might already be there. Winkler’s whiskey-throated voice is impressive, not dissimilar to Steven Tyler’s vocals of Aerosmith fame. Hopefully young people who listen to the album will have sense enough to temper their admiration of the band’s reckless lifestyle with an awareness of the dangers of drug abuse and promiscuity. Hopefully they’ll appreciate the value of creative musical freedom and tap into the Rock & Roll spirit of rattling unnecessary, constrictive convention in pursuit a fuller human experience.

Critics seem to enjoy attacking Hinder, but the general public doesn’t share the hate, as evidenced by their album sales. Perhaps they’re an easy target for attack because their mission is so simple in the face of such complex societal problems, devoid of any extreme introspection or responsible social commentary. They seem to simply ask, “Where’s my guitar, and where’s my beer?” If their main goal is to “bring back the rock of the 80’s,” to “have fun,” and to “purge rock of its 1990’s depression,” then any critical heckling is displaced. Rodden, who graciously received the BMI Best Song of the Year Award in his underwear, momentarily shoved aside America’s burden of an ever-threatening terrorism, a dry-heaving economy, eviscerating political correctness, and emasculating relativism. The filmmakers of Heavy Metal Parking Lot might have a new chapter to film which looks oddly similar to the original, these many years later.

Reality is incalculable. If Hinder has their way, we might be this close to the return of the mullet. Say it with me: Business in front, and a party in the back. Or maybe this is a mere flash of thoughtless, highly marketed lunacy while world history churns out a new global epoch. Either way, one can’t help but hold the lighter up when the whole stadium is leaning and humming in the throes of Hinder’s rock anthems, guitar chords shimmering through arena crowds like wind through wheat. In the end, isn’t that what Rock & Roll is all about? To attempt to take life to the very limit of fulfillment by the boundless power of music? They may not be rocket scientists, but at least they know what their mission is: to rock.


article from Maximum Ink

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