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Interview:
Hootie's Playing For More Than Just Ticket Sales
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Like any touring band, Hootie & the Blowfish wants to fill seats at the places it plays. But the South Carolina quartet is looking to fill school buses, too.

Since 2003, the group — whose multiplatinum 1994 debut album, “Cracked Rear View,” helped Hootie snag a Best New Artist Grammy — has held Homegrown concerts in select cities it plays, where it asks fans to bring school supplies that are loaded into a bus at the venue for local students. This year’s area beneficiary will be the Pontiac School District.

“We’ve apparently filled 21 buses over the last couple years and counting,” says guitarist Mark Bryan. “Every year in the newspapers, there’s a big front-page thing that says teachers are in need of school supplies for their classes. We wanted to do something to help.

“The key is making sure the supplies get to the right place — not just handing them to the school board but finding out who really needs them and getting them there. That’s the real payoff for the whole thing.”

The group, of course, will reward fans’ generosity with hits such as “Hold My Hand,” “Let Her Cry,” “Only Wanna Be With You” and “I Go Blind.”

New music, however, is on hold; Bryan and frontman Darius Rucker are both working on solo albums, and Bryan says there’s “nothing on the slate right now” for new band recording.

But he hopes that being on the road together might change that.

“Whenever we want to do Hootie, we can,” says the 40-yearold father of three. “I would love to do more than we do, and I’d love to make albums all the time. But the band’s a democracy; I can’t force my hand with everything we do.

“But since we’ll be on tour for three months, we have plenty of time to talk about what to do in the future. Right now I don’t know what to tell you; by the end of the tour we may all be, ‘Hey, let’s make a new album!’ ”



Hootie & the Blowfish and Danielle Howe perform at 7:30 p.m. Monday (Sept. 3) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $34.50 pavilion, $10 lawn. Fans are asked to bring new, unwrapped school supplies to donate to the Pontiac School District. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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