In the world of modern music, bands arrive and disappear like sinking Titanics. However, there are those certain musical outfits that, despite their current obsoleteness, come up in conversation every now and then under the guise of “hey ,what ever happened to those guys?” Hootie and the Blowfish is the quintessential band that everyone kind of, sort of remembers. With their smooth beats, silky vocals and “cool enough to make your face explode” vibes, Hootie aided by the Blowfish can be reminisced about with the best of them, easily on par with Ace of Base and, to a lesser extent, Marcy Playground. You’d be hard pressed to flip through a karaoke book without finding “Only Want to Be With You”, then not singing it. “Holy My Hand” is a song that undoubtedly has been downloaded on Limewire countless times (three times). And who could forget “Let Her Cry”, besides mostly everyone? Truly, Hootie and the Blowfish have made their mark on fairly recent American music, according to their moms.
I was fortunate enough to catch up with Hootie and said associated Blowfish at an Arby’s, where they were all enjoying the same roast beef melt. They appeared to be in fine spirits, as Arby’s makes damn good roast beef melts. I pulled up a chair to their booth and shook each of their hands; they were all there – Hootie; Blowfish; Blowfish; Blowfish. With so many questions racing through my mind, I began the interview promptly.
Q: Before we begin I’d just like to say it’s an honor to be able to talk to you guys.
Hootie: Thanks man, it’s always great to be out of the house.
Blowfish 1: Plus, I’d had about enough of his mom’s cooking.
Q: So guys, is it tough to be Hootie and the Blowfish? I mean, do you still lead normal lives?
Blowfish with Hat: What’s considered normal, man, you know? I wake up every day like anyone else, and brush the hay off of myself like anyone else, and sneak off the farmer’s land like anyone else, and go through my neighbor’s trash like anyone else.
Hootie: It’s tough though man, it’s hard to go anywhere without not getting recognized.
Blowfish 1: Yeah, I totally know how the Beatles must have felt. You know, before they were famous.
Q: So Hootie…
Hootie: That’s not my name.
Q: It is. So Hootie, what have you been up to?
Hootie: Well, I’ve been spending a lot of time on some side projects – finger paintings, macaroni necklaces, that sort of thing. But you know, every now and then I like to kick back and just play some music. Unfortunately, my Phil Collins – The Hits tape is getting pretty worn out.
Q: I see, and how about the other Blowfish?
Blowfish with Hat: We have names, you know. For instance, my name’s Mark. Very few people know that.
Q: Well there’s a reason, no one gives a ***t’s ****.
Lazy Eye Blowfish: I for one have taken this little “career hiatus”, if you will, to spend more time with my kids. Well, not my kids, but some kids.
Q: So let me ask you this, why did you guys break up?
Blowfish 1: That’s an odd misconception people seem to have. We didn’t break up, we just kind of stopped.
Hootie: The record company stopped returning my calls, I mean…when I used to have a phone. We took a hint, but we’ve got some big plans for the future.
Lazy Eye Blowfish: Yeah, we’re going to turn “Only Wanna Be with You” into a Broadway musical. I didn’t think America was ready in 1997, but a lot’s changed since then. For instance, I can no longer afford gum.
Blowfish with Hat: We’ve also been trying to use Hootie and the Blowfish name to launch a successful line of contraceptives. So get ready for Hootie and the Blowfish Custom Douches!
Q: Now I want to address Hootie for a minute here.
Hootie: My name’s Darius! Darius! Not Hootie!
Q: Oh is Darius like your stage name?
Hootie: No, it’s my real name. I was never “Hootie”.
Q: Oh I get it; have to remain covert in public. I’m still going to be calling you Hootie, because I like saying the word Hootie.
Q: Is it tough as the leader of the band, to carry this legacy with you?
Blowfish with Hat: I’ll field this one. Yeah, it’s really tough to walk through a gas station on a Sunday afternoon, and see your Grammy winning album on sale at the register for $0.75 next to the matches, which cost a dollar. I mean, there’s your face on the cover, and you feel like when the owner kicks you out for drinking YooHoo’s and putting them back, he’s going to recognize you and start some awkward fan conversation. Luckily it never happens. Maybe the next gas station.
Q: Now, rumor has it that there is a “lost” member of Hootie and the Blowfish?
Blowfish with Hat: Yeah, that’s pretty much all of us.
Q: So do you guys have any favorite songs of yours?
Hootie: Probably “Only Wanna Be With You”, as along with most of America, it’s the only song of ours I remember.
Blowfish 1: Yeah, I agree. Did we do any other songs?
Lazy Eye Blowfish: I’m very partial to our early work, like the first half of “Only Wanna Be With You”. By our later period, you can really sense the disenchantment within the group, say about the last minute of the song. Then there was our “psychedelic phase” from about 1:13-2:38. Less said about that, the better.
Q: Where do you guys think you fit in to the music scene of today?
Hootie: Well I personally feel that right now we’re kind of on the sidelines, cheering the participants on.
Blowfish 1: We’re kind of a looming threat though, you know? I mean, current musicians probably are shaking in their boots thinking “Oh geez, I hope Hootie and the Blowfish don’t come back. Their silky smooth vibes will knock us right off the charts and probably end my career. Man I’m really scared. My name is Maroon 5!”
Lazy Eye Blowfish: And we don’t want to rock the boat.
Q: Fair enough. I want to ask you about the meaning of some of your lyrics. In “Only Wanna Be With You”, you wrote “Sometimes you’re crazy/And you wonder why/I’m such a baby yeah/The dolphins make me cry”.
Hootie: Yeah, those words are my babies. My poetic, awesome babies.
Q: Did the “dolphins” represent orphaned African babies during that strife filled era of genocide during the early nineties?
Hootie: No. I’m terrified of dolphins.
Q: If you had one message to send to America, what would it be?
Blowfish with Hat: I would definitely say – Hey everyone, dig peace, love and understanding. Music is beautiful.
Hootie: I’d say believe in the power of love.
Lazy Eye Blowfish: I’d say if you have any spare clothing or towels, please donate them to me so I can use them for blankets and pillows. Winter’s coming, after all.
Q: One more thing guys, before I go – how about a song?
Hootie: Song? Oh right, we were musicians. Mark, stop hogging that sandwich!
Blowfish with Hat: I’m the “hungry one” of the band, remember? I’m notorious!
Hootie: (slaps Blowfish with Hat)
Blowfish with Hat: (slaps Hootie)
Blowfish 1: Quit it, you guys! This is why we can’t do nice things! Well, this and the fact that we all have single digit salaries.
Q: Well I think I’m just about out of questions guys. Uh…I guess thanks for this.
Blowfish 1: Oh it’s been our pleasure.
Hootie: Now we have a question for you.
Q: Sure, shoot.
Hootie: Uh…can we have a ride home?