During the 1990s, most bands opting to carry on the torch of the hair metal days were quickly given the boot by hosts of grunge fans. The change in the music scene was obviously welcomed at the time, but the tide does seem to once again be changing. All-out, dirty rock has nosed its way back on to the radio, and record sales indicate that it's been a long time coming. Hinder
, who won over the public a few years ago with their big power ballads and arena rock, is once again back to give the people what they want. The new record Take It To The Limit
is fueled by gritty guitars, sing-along choruses, and plenty of sexually charged lyrics, and Motley Crue veteran Mick Mars even lends his talents to the title track.
While some critics are still upset by the 80's rock revival, Hinder
pays them little mind. After all, the Oklahoma natives have already scored a triple platinum debut album, which is almost unthinkable in the era of downloading. Guitarists Joe Blower Garvey
and Mark King
explained to Ultimate-Guitar
recently that they are just as proud of Take It To The Limit, and they'll be adding another impressive accomplishment to their resume in early 2009: a coveted slot on the Motley Crue Saints of Los Angeles Tour.
UG: Did you want to take a different musical approach with Take It To The Limit? Would you say that you've stuck with the traditional rock sound you had on the previous record?
Oh, absolutely. We went with what we know. With this album we actually had a lot more time writing, and we were able to do our own thing. Our influences definitely stand out on this record. So we had a lot more time to record it, write it, and the whole 9 yards. Everything turned out great. We stuck with the same producer to kind of get the same vibe. Obviously, we kept the drinking involved with everything! It was great. We were extremely proud of the second one.
Considering that your first album was certified triple platinum, did you feel a lot of pressure going into the studio?
It was always in the back of our minds. But like I said earlier, we had a lot more time to write for this second album and to spend more time throughout the process of recording. We were really able to dial in, as far as tones and the way we were going to set everything up. So we were pretty confident going into this one.
I think we put more pressure on ourselves than anyone else. The record industry being what it is today, it's going down in record sales. It's still very fragile. We sold over 3 million on the first album. What we were told when we first got a record deal was, Those days are gone, the days of selling a million-plus albums, blah, blah, blah. We do what we do. I think we put out a great product. We all stand behind it and are very proud of it. Hopefully the people will dig it.
Are you bothered at all by the increase in downloading?
It doesn't really bother me. It's probably because we were blessed to sell albums. It is kind of sad for the people that don't sell all those albums. Bands just come and go all the time these days. It's kind of crazy because you never know.
Did Brian Howes (producer on Take It To The Limit) have a heavy hand in the entire recording process?
Yeah, absolutely. Through every single process he's always there, which we love. He's our great friend and we just work well together. We all pretty much have our say and input, but we just tried everything. We had lots of old school equipment in the studio. We were getting those big rock guitar sounds again and big drums and everything like that. We were all, including Brian, right there and hands on, making sure it was the perfect sound or effect for that particular song.
You mentioned that there was old school equipment. What were some of the vintage guitars or amps used?
We had some old school Marshall stacks. I don't know! I can't even remember half of the stuff we used now! We had a nice little arsenal of old school Gibson guitars, classic Les Pauls and everything. It just turned out amazingly. I think there were some Led Zeppelin amps that they used or something. We had an arsenal of eclectic equipment and gear in there, along with some classic guitars and everything that just got that perfect, big 80's rock again.
You have an impressive guest, Mick Mars, who shows up to play on the title track. How did Mick get involved?
I don't know. It just kind of happened! He was always a fan of us, and we finally got into contact with him. We were interested in maybe doing some collaborations, so we sent him a song. Unfortunately I didn't get to go, but a few of the guys went to his house up in Hollywood. They showed him the song, he ripped through it 2 or 3 times, and he put it together. It worked out great. We're obviously huge fans of him with Motley Crue and everything. It was privilege for him to play on the album.
Were you able to be there for any of the recording sessions that Mick was involved in?
No. I don't know what I was doing, but I was pissed! They actually got to go to his house to do the recording, so I was pissed. But I'll get to meet him eventually!
We were up in Vancouver still, and Cody and Austin went down to L.A. They were going to work on some of the mixing stuff. I think I was doing keyboards at the time, so I missed out on that, too!
Who were some of your main influences as a guitarist?
|"We stuck with the same producer to kind of get the same vibe."|
I would probably have to say that Slash is my number one. Not only can he obviously wail on the guitar, but he's got such a great feel for the song melodically and the style he plays. Obviously I'm always a big fan of the classic Gibson guitars. It's just awesome. He was definitely my first influence, but we just kind of grew up listening to all of that and watching them have fun. He's probably my number one.
We both have Slash in common. The first time I heard the guitar solo for November Rain, I was hooked from that very moment. He's my number one as well.
There was a time in the early 1990s when guitar solos had decreased and grunge was king of the music scene. Had that pretty much blown over by the time you guy formed the band?
Yeah, it was '01. Obviously we were growing up in that time period and were hearing all that grunge crap and everything. But we also remembered before all of that, seeing just how much fun it was to go out to a concert. That was one of my favorite things to do whenever we're playing live - seeing the smiles on people's faces. Getting drunk, getting laid, just overall having a great time, and leaving with a smile on your face. I think it kind of got lost through the 90's. It seemed like there were some concerts you left even more depressed than even when you got in.
That was just one of our main things that we wanted to do. We just wanted to bring back the fun. It's what rock and roll is all about. It's going out, being crazy, and doing our thing. It's not an act! Even before we joined the band, we were always party animals and just always trying to live that rock and roll lifestyle. When everything happened, it just kind of kept on going.
What do you say to the critics who don't really get what you're trying to do as musicians?
They can say what they say, but we really just don't give a shit. Whatever they put in, that's they're fucking opinion. We're having a good fucking time, and our fans are having a great fucking time. If they want to try to continue to make this serious, I don't think it's going to last too much longer. The rock world is coming back to life, and they can just piss off in my opinion!
I don't really have to say much because there are at least 3 million other people that dug it and bought the album. What the critics say, I don't really care about. I actually kind of get online and read as much as I can because it just cracks me up. I don't think they ever really have anything negative to say. They just say they don't like it. They'll say, Oh, they've got big, catchy melodies and big, huge choruses. It sounds like total arena rock, but I don't like it. It's like, Well, what's negative? What do you not like about it?
Is the music usually written during jam sessions?
Usually what has worked is that Cody and Austin will start out with acoustic guitars. We believe that if the song doesn't sound stripped down to an acoustic and one vocal, then there's no sense in continuing on as a full band. So it kind of starts out in that process. Then when they have an idea, they bring it to us and I guess put the icing on the cake per se. We start jamming it out, just making a song the best it can be.
It's the 5 of us, and definitely our producer Brian Howes. He was a child of the 80's, and he definitely helped us with some of the licks. He's basically the unsung 6th member of the band. We'll definitely have him help us out because he's got a great style and looked up to Slash.
Are solos usually worked out pretty late in the game?
We'll figure out some stuff in the studio, but some of it just comes out on accident. We're like, Oh, that was cool! Do that! It's all just a combination of kind of everything and what will fit best with that part or section. I don't remember some of them because it was late at night and I was hammered. When I wake up the next morning I'm like, Wow, that did actually sound good!
Now that the band has experienced financial success, are you able to go out and indulge in an assortment of guitars, amps, and pedals?
We like to keep it simple most days. I'm not a big guy with all these pedals everywhere. We all like to move around and just keep it fun. We're pretty simple. Basically I always have Mesa. My main thing is I'm big into Gibson guitars. Well, I've always been. It's great to be able to see what's new that has come out, on top of what they have in store as far as classic stuff. I think I have like over 20 guitars now. It's great to just have a full arsenal old school and new school technology around. I mainly have Les Pauls, but I've got Flying Vs. I would love to bring it all out, but I know my guitar tech would have a shit fit! That's the one thing I do take pride in. It's the guitar and everything that it does.
I'm not really a gearhead. I don't have the good ear for getting the sound tweaked in right, and that's where our producer comes in. He's awesome of that. I'm more of a composition guy. I enjoy the composition of the song and the melodies.
Do you enjoy experimenting with differing voicing or harmonics? Or do you prefer a straightforward rock sound?
|"I'm more of a composition guy. I enjoy the composition of the song and the melodies."|
It definitely doesn't have to be complex, but I love going the extra mile with certain things. Yeah, I do like messing with the voicings and things. I was actually going to school to get a degree in music performance. I was going to be a guitar performance major, but then I broke my middle finger and that set me back a little ways. I was studying music theory and stuff like that. I love all that stuff now.
How far along were you in school before you broke your finger, Mark?
I was about 2 years in, but it was kind of a blessing in disguise. I was just totally guitar at the time. After that happened I started playing piano and taking compositions lessons. I apply all those things to the band now. I play most of the keyboard parts on the album. So it all worked out for the best.
Would you encourage young guitar students to study theory first?
I think it's different from person to person because Blower and I are totally 2 different trains of thought. He doesn't know the theory, but he just feels it. Whereas I will be like, Okay, this is a 6th chord, blah, blah, blah. I don't know. Everyone has to find their own way. I'm the only guy in the band who really knows theory and all that stuff, and obviously it's worked out for the 5 of us. I think everyone just has to go their own path. If you really love music and want to do this thing, I would suggest going to school and studying up on some things. It's definitely helped me out immensely.
Did you first become interested in Gibson Les Pauls after seeing Slash with one?
Absolutely. That was definitely a big influence. It's the look, too, and everything. I've always thought that Gibson guitars were the top of the line and the best things ever. I think everybody started out with a Fender or something like that. Then when you get your first Gibson it was like, Holy crap! This is a top of the line guitar! From then on, that's all I wanted. They're addictive!
I know that you tried out new equipment during the recording of the new album, but do you think you'll stick with relatively the same setup for future records?
Honestly, it's still the same stuff. I actually want to check out some of the new Gibson guitars they've got out there, like the Robot Guitar and all that! They say they're going to put one in my hands, but it hasn't happened yet. I'm totally a Gibson Les Paul guy all the way.
I just found out today that Hinder is also going to be featured in a comic book.
Yeah! Wow, I can't believe how fast this is getting out! I think it was our publicist that had this idea about a comic book. Someone approached him about it, and they had this guy draw up a poster of us. We loved it. So we're in a very early stage right now. We just met him again today, and we're going to try and get a story line together. We're going to have some fun with it and see what everybody thinks. We're getting pretty creative with it. I think our headquarters are going to be Hugh Hefner's villa at the top of the Palms! I've always wanted to see myself as a toon character, so it's going to be a fun little project.
Yeah, you know you've made it when you have your own cartoon!
Yeah. We've been blessed with everything. It's been a great thing for us.
Interview by Amy Kelly