By now you probably know Hootie & the Blowfish have announced a new tour and a new album, their first together in a decade. What some fans may not know is that the band began on indie footing, and according to frontman Darius Rucker, it took about seven years for them to get signed by a label.
Dates for the band’s Group Therapy tour are already being announced, and so far, Tampa and West Palm Beach are on the list. You can see the full list at the Hootie website.
Rucker continued a successful solo career after the band went on hiatus in 2007, although they did do some charity performances as a band in the interim.
Hootie formed in Columbia, SC, and went on to become one of the most successful musical groups to hail from South Carolina. Local 10 News (Miami) summed up just how successful they are:
“The Southern pop-rockers, featuring lead singer Darius Rucker, Mark Bryan, Jim Sonefeld and Dean Felber, broke out with their major label debut in 1994, which has been certified 21-times platinum and made the Recording Industry Association of America’s list of the top-10 most popular albums of all-time.”
Hootie and the Blowfish won a Grammy in 1996. Not bad for a band who in the beginning self-released their own work and lived in a state not exactly known for the music business.
For those of us who lived in Columbia when the band was gaining popularity, it wasn’t unusual to see some of the members shop at local groceries and such. Their annual golf outing for charity was popular, and my older daughter Jen went to one of those events. She still has a t-shirt signed by the band members from those years.
A large part of the band’s strength is Darius Rucker’s voice. You hear it and you don’t forget it. One of the most popular covers for indie musicians in bars and other venues is “Wagon Wheel”, a song Rucker made his own even though he didn’t write it and he wasn’t the first to record it.
The band appeared on The Tonight Show last night. They performed the hit song “Only Wanna Be With You.” If you watch the video I linked to, there’s a really funny interview with the band after the song. Rucker tells a story about the time they played in a bar and the only people there were the bartenders who insisted they play because the band was getting paid $100. So they played for three hours.
Fans on Facebook welcomed the band’s return, with many asking them to come to their city.
(Kay B. Day/Dec. 4, 2018)