A version of this story will appear in Thursday’s The Oklahoman.
Oklahoma City rockers Hinder officially part ways with lead singer Austin Winkler
The band plans to continue with a new singer to be announced later, according to Wednesday’s announcement.
Oklahoma City rockers Hinder announced Wednesday (today) that they have officially parted ways with lead singer Austin Winkler.
“I’m really proud of what we accomplished over the years,” said Hinder drummer/songwriter Cody Hanson, in a statement from the band’s publicist. “We hold no animosity towards Austin, and wish him the best. Although it was a difficult decision, it was the best thing for everyone involved and time for us to move on.”
The band plans to continue with a new singer to be announced later, according to the news release.
“This summer/fall tour was a tough one. We want to thank the fans for all their overwhelming support. We couldn’t have made it through everything without you. We are very excited about the future of Hinder and can’t wait to share the next chapter with all of you!” Hanson added in his statement.
In July, the multiplatinum-selling band announced that Winkler was leaving its summer tour for “personal reasons,” with their manager later revealing the singer had entered a rehabilitation program for the second time.
“He felt like he was slipping,” Hinder manager Kevin “Chief” Zaruk of Chief Music Management told The Hollywood Reporter in July. adding that it’s not uncommon for people with substance abuse problems to opt for a refresher course. “We just want him to get healthy and get happy.”
“American Idol” winner David Cook, who has Tulsa ties, was the band’s first choice to fill in for Winkler, Zaruk told the trade publication, but the Season 7 champion turned down the offer.
With Winkler on hiatus, the rest of Hinder — Hanson, guitarist Joe “Blower” Garvey, guitarist Mark King and bassist Mike Rodden — recruited Jared Weeks of Saving Abel and Marshal Dutton of Drankmore to fill in on the band’s dates in support of its 2012 album, “Welcome to the Freakshow.” Dutton and Hanson are partners in the Oklahoma City-based production company Back-Lounge Productions, and they co-produced the band’s fourth album, released last December on Universal Republic.
“It’s been awesome. It’s been a really positive experience, not at all what I expected. You know, it’s kind of forced us to step up and step out of our comfort zone a little bit up onstage, and it’s made for a really fun and exciting show,” Hanson told The Oklahoman in an August phone interview before a hometown show at the OKC Downtown Airpark.
“At first, when the whole singer switch had to happen, of course, we were stressed out about it. We weren’t really sure exactly how to handle it. But one thing we did know is that if we’d have just kind of rolled over and gone home and canceled the tour, it probably would’ve ended our band. And at least the four of us we knew we weren’t ready to do that.” so we had to step up and make some big decisions and work really hard to make the tour happen. You know, we had a lot of fans depending on us, a lot of promoters had already put out money, and we couldn’t leave people hanging like that. We had a lot of commitments already in place that we had to fulfill.”
Hanson told The Oklahoman then the rest of the band had been out of contact with Winkler since the singer departed for rehab.
“I haven’t spoken with him since he left, so I have no idea what’s going on,” Hanson said. “We had to cancel a show in Denver, and he went straight back to L.A. right after that. And none of us have spoken to him since. I mean, I know he’s been in contact with our manager some here and there, but he hasn’t reached out to any of us. So, we’re kind of in the dark,” he said.
On Aug. 6, Winkler issued a statement on hindermusic.com that he was a month into his treatment program in Malibu, Calif., and expected to remain in rehab another two months. “I am kicking my disease in the face … and I can not wait to get back onstage with the boys and rock your heads off,” he wrote.
He posted on Twitter (@AustinHinder) last week that he was “4 months clean and I digs it!!!”
Hinder formed in Oklahoma City in 2001 when Winkler, then frontman for a local cover band, met Hanson and Garvey at a fraternity party. The group started playing local gigs, added King and Rodden to the lineup and signed to Universal after issuing a self-released EP, according to AllMusic.com.
The band’s 2005 debut, “Extreme Behavior,” sold more than 3 million copies in the United States, while its breakthrough single “Lips of an Angel” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Pop Chart. Three year’s later, Hinder’s sophomore album, “Take it to the Limit,” surpassed gold status after debuting at No. 4 on the Billboard Top 200 with more than 80,000 copies sold the first week.
Hinder released its third album, “All American Nightmare,” in 2010, followed by “Welcome to the Freakshow” last year. The band has shared the stage with several high-profile rock groups, from Motley Crue to Nickelback.