A Tale of Two Bands
Part I: A Teen Dream Comes True — Hinder Headlines KATTfest
After all the major cities they'd already played, the millions of records they'd sold and all the big-time bands they'd shared stages with, Hinder's success didn't really hit home for Joe “Blower” Garvey until he stood on the hometown stage of the Zoo Amphitheater one warm September night in 2007 and felt the rock love wash over him.
The guitarist remembers: “The last time we played there was the Bad Boys of Rock Tour (which Hinder headlined). When we heard that it was the most tickets sold in that venue ever, and you know we were thinking about how many bands have been through there, and we sold that out, most tickets ever ...
“And then I remember when we were playin' ‘Lips of an Angel' — I think everybody else can remember this, when all those lighters and phones went in the air, I think I got a little teary-eyed a little bit,” Garvey said in a phone interview last week. “I was like, man, this is really cool. Hopefully we can do this forever.”
At the rate this Oklahoma City-based band has been going, that kind of longevity seems almost possible. Since fellow University of Central Oklahoma students Garvey and drummer Cody Hanson first met frontman Austin Winkler singing cover songs at a frat party in 2001 and decided to join musical forces — later recruiting guitarist Mark King and bassist Mike Rodden — they've risen from hometown neighborhood bar circuit obscurity to multi-platinum-selling, international-touring-star status.
Their Universal Records debut, “Extreme Behavior,” went triple platinum and resided on Billboard's Top 200 for more than 70 weeks and spawned three hits with “Get Stoned,” the Top 40 “Better Than Me” and “Lips of an Angel,” their first No. 1 mainstream Top 40 track as well as Active Rock Radio's most popular single of 2006.
After three years of relentless touring, they followed up with “Take It to the Limit” in 2008, which debuted at No. 4 on Billboard Top 200, bowed on iTunes as the No. 1 rock record and No. 2 overall album in the Music Store on the day of its release, and shot two singles — “Use Me” and “Without You” — into the Top 5.
Now Hinder is touring behind their third album, “All American Nightmare,” which brings them home again this time to headline the 2011 edition of KATTfest at the Zoo Amphitheatre with special guests Papa Roach, Buckcherry and Puddle of Mudd, among others.
Garvey admits there's always a little increase in jitters whenever the band plays in front of hometown family and friends and longtime local fans.
“But it's actually just an awesome feeling,” he said. “We've actually been talking about KATTfest for the last couple of days. We were talking about how we've been goin' to that festival since we were all teenagers, and now we get to headline it. So all the excitement definitely builds whenever we play our hometown, especially something like that.”
A Tale of Two Bands
Part II: Puddle of Mudd “Covers” KATTfest
Most musicians start out covering the hits of others until they accumulate a catalog of original tunes that — with any luck — lands them a major label contract and a name for themselves on the charts.
But Puddle of Mudd appears to be doing things backward.
The alt-metal band seemed to bust out of nowhere in 2001 as one of the first acts signed to Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst's new Flawless Records, following up with three more albums on big-time imprints, platinum-plus sales and more than a dozen self-penned radio hits, including “Blurry,” “Drift & Die,” “She Hates Me,” “Away From Me” and “Psycho,” Now, a decade later, the threesome has released a collection of other artists' songs — albeit remade the Mudd way.
And, “Re:(disc)overed” is being distributed on the band's new independent label, Arms Division.
“It kind of just fell into place,” lead guitarist Paul Phillips said last week from his Jacksonville, Fla., home. “I don't know that any of us came up with (the idea of doing a covers album). The end of our last record cycle we took a long-deserved break, and our label contract and our management contract had come up, so we kind of needed to take some time off and get our business in order, figure out what the next phase and the next scheme for Puddle of Mudd was gonna be.”
In February, Phillips, singer-vocalist Wes Scantlin and bassist Doug Ardito reconvened in the studio with the idea of releasing either a cover to AC/DC's “T.N.T.” or Steve Miller's “The Joker” as a single. Both songs had long been staples of Puddle of Mudd's live playlist, dropped in between the POM originals to keep things interesting for themselves.
“We got in the studio to do that and one thing led to another, and we started having so much fun that we just dreamed up this crazy idea of bringin' in additional musicians, piano players and percussionists, and then along with that came the idea of taking it out on the road. So we just started goin' and compiled like 30 songs, narrowed that down to 15, and cut that down to the 11 that you hear on the record.”
Those include reworkings of songs as varied as the Rolling Stones' “Gimmer Shelter” (now in heavy rotation on rock radio), Neil Young's “Old Man,” Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks' “Stop Draggin' My Heart Around” (with BC Jean singing the female side of the duet), Billy Squier's “Everybody Wants You,” Elton John's “Rocket Man,” Free's “All Right Now,” Bad Company's “Shooting Star,” Led Zeppelin's “D'yer Mak'er” and James Gang's “Funk #49,” plus the aforementioned Miller and AC/DC numbers.
“We actually already did the short run when we brought out all these musicians,” Phillips said. “But as far as (this) tour, it being a shorter set, we'll approach it like it's just a new record and throw a couple (of covers) in there. Then the rest will be the tried and true Puddle stuff.”
Phillips' choices for “Re:(disc)overed” were the Stones, Squier, Free and John songs, with Scantlin, manager Danny Wimmer and producer Bill Appleberry bringing the other picks to the table.
“It was important to us to actually pick stuff that actually meant something to us and had a reason behind why we were doing it, besides just doing some no-brainer cover with hopes of getting on the radio with a hit or something,” Phillips said. “We really wanted to pay homage to stuff that meant something to all of us personally. And it gave us the chance to do stuff that we can't do on a Puddle record. Like if we come out doing a piano ballad or a reggae kind of song, like ‘D'yer Mak'er,' that's gonna freak people the hell out. We had to practice and work hard, and it was so inspiring to do different things.
“If people are shocked by this record and say, ‘Oh, I don't like that at all, I like Puddle,' well, exactly. That was the point of making this record, is to be able to do something different. And it's a cool thing for the fans that hopefully they dig, and if not, we're back in the studio in January doing the next Puddle original record.”
• With: Hinder, Papa Roach, Buckcherry, Puddle of Mudd, P.O.D., Red, Crossfade, Drive A.
• When: Gates open at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
• Where: Zoo Amphitheater, 2101 NE 50.
• Tickets: $25 general admission, $69 VIP in Oklahoma City Buy for Less locations, in Tulsa at Reasor's or Starship Records, by phone at (800) 511-1552 or online at zoo