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Hootie & the Blowfish Playing Tunes, Collecting School Supplies

Of the Oakland Press

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The purpose of Hootie & the Blowfish’s Homegrown Concert Series probably isn’t what the name may have you thinking.

The 12-song trek of select shows that started in July and includes the South Carolina group’s two Oakland County shows next week are designed to gather supplies donated by fans Community Schools will receive goods donated at the Sept. 8 concert at DTE Energy Music Theatre.

Guitarist Mark Bryan says the Homegrown series grew out of a single show the quartet played in hits home town of Charleston, S.C.

“We decided to have people bring out school supplies; it fit in with what we’ve always done with our (Hootie & the Blowfi sh) Foundation,” explains Bryan, 39. “People really liked the idea, and it took off.

“So now we’re able to do it on a national level, without asking people to donate money — other than what the costs are for the school supplies. We’re going to try to double it next year.”

The Blowfish also are keeping their music coffers as full as the school buses. The group — whose 1994 album “Cracked Rear View” is the top-selling major label debut behind Boston’s 1976’s self-titled debut — recently released a “Live in Charleston” CD and DVD concert set and has been posting both current and vintage concerts at its web site. Bryan, meanwhile, has been “releasing” is second solo album by posting a new song every month on the Internet.

The band, meanwhile, is “definitely writing” for a new album, but Bryan says touring is where the Blowfish are making the biggest splash these days.

“Yes, we sold unprecedented amounts of records, all very fortunate things,” Bryan notes. “But it’s hard to sustain anything like that. Albums come as they come. What we found we can sustain is our touring. We started as a live band and we’re still primarily a live band. That’s a really cool realization.”

Hootie & the Blowfish and Better Than Ezra perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Meadow Brook Music Festival, on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester Hills. Tickets are $45 pavilion, $15 lawn. The groups also perform 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8 at DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road north of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $35.50 pavilion, $10 lawn. Fans are asked to bring new, unwrapped school supplies, which will be donated to districts in Pontiac and Clarkston. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit

Web Site: www. palacenet.com.

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