Takin’ it to the limit

Denise Wright

It’s Tuesday afternoon, and I’m anxiously awaiting the phone call from Blower, one of Hinder’s guitarists.

I’m wondering what he’s going to be like. I’ve read the stories about the backstage antics, and I’ve even seen some videos. This could be interesting.

The phone rings.

To my surprise, the Oklahoma City native reveals his southern roots almost immediately.

“How are you doing, sweetheart?” he asks.

And although he initially gives off a mild demeanor, as the conversation goes on, it becomes a little easier to see why Blower calls himself “the jackass of the band.”

On his musical influences

“Of course, I’m a big Guns N’ Roses fan,” he said. “Motley Crue, Def Leppard — you know, just the classic stuff we’ve been missing for a while.”

The same thing goes for the band collectively, especially because the band members grew up watching 1980s arena rock music on MTV.

“We pre-game and party to that kind of stuff,” Blower said.

When asked if he’d had the chance to meet guitar legend Slash and Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee, two of his musical idols, his voice became animated as he blurted out, “You know what? My dumb ass…” and he launched into a story.

He was in Europe watching Korn play for a crowd of about 140,000.

“I had just smoked a joint, so I was relaxed and watching people go ape shit,” he recalled. “I looked to my left and Slash was standing right next to me.”

Blower said he doesn’t know whether he was “too stoned or just paranoid” to say anything.

“I stood next to him, but never introduced myself,” he said.

Needless to say he was a little upset with himself the next day.

As for meeting Tommy Lee, Blower said that hasn’t happened yet.

He said the entire band would like to meet him. Lee indicated an interest in meeting them too, so Blower said he’s sure it will work out.

“I’m sure eventually down the road we’ll run into everybody,” he said.

On his first guitar

Blower’s first guitar was a red and white Fender Stratocaster.

“That’s pretty much everybody’s first guitar,” he said.

Unfortunately, it got stolen.

Blower played in his high school band, and he left the guitar in the band room one night.

“We all get in there the next morning and there’s a bunch of equipment missing, and my guitar was part of that,” he said.

Although that was a bad day for Blower, he has since moved on. He now owns about 17 guitars.

“I call them my kids,” he said.

These days, Blower is keeping closer tabs on “the kids.”

On life on the road

“Oh geez,” he said, recalling memorable stories.

It didn’t take him long to mention that Mike, Hinder’s bassist, frequently blacks out and falls out of the bus.

“Actually, today we got him a helmet for when he’s partying so whenever he falls he’ll be all right,” Blower said, laughing again.

He went on to say the stories of lighting himself on fire are true.

“I’ve lit my ball sack on fire about 14 times now,” he said. “I’m a non-stop source of entertainment on and off-stage,” he said with another laugh.

He said he enjoyed playing the Bad Boys of Rock tour with Papa Roach and Buckcherry and thinks touring with Aerosmith and Bon Jovi would be fun.

“But I’d still like to go back in that time machine,” he said, mentioning he’d like to go back to 1987 and go on tour with Guns N’ Roses and Motley Crue.

For the moment, Blower and the band are touring with 3 Doors Down and Staind.

“We’re all very excited to get back out and entertain some people,” Blower said. “You know, doing the whole crazy debauchery again.”

And what does he have to say about playing in Ohio?

“We always love Ohio,” he said. “You guys have some amazing-looking chicks there.”

On the new album

It’s safe to say Hinder has a lot to live up to after the band’s first album, “Extreme Behavior,” went triple platinum after being released in September 2005.

After recently finishing their sophomore effort, though, Blower and the band have no worries.

“We’re very confident with this entire album,” he said.

Blower said the sound and quality of the new album “totally blows the first one out of the water.”

He said touring for the last three years has made everyone better musicians and songwriters.

“We had more time to write and record, which really let us dial in on what we wanted to accomplish,” he said. “I think it’s just a great package.”

He also said he thinks the band made a good choice of sticking with the same team, including producer Brian Howes.

The first single, “Use Me,” hit radios Monday.

“It’s … an exciting week for us as we wait to see how our first single does,” he said.

Beyond that, Blower said the band will perform three to five songs from the new album on its 40-minute set this summer to see how the crowd responds.

The album, “Take it to the Limit,” is scheduled to be released on Nov. 4, which is also the day of the presidential election.

The band decided to release the album that day because it “thought it would be cool.”

And although Blower said the band is nervous about waiting that long because it’s been awhile since the first album, he said it will give the band time to release another single after “Use Me.”

“It will be a good timing for us,” he said.

On the success of ‘Lips of an Angel’

“We’d always hoped for (a big hit),” he said. “We obviously didn’t realize how well overdue it was.”

Blower said “Lips of an Angel” was one of the band’s favorite songs on the album from the start.

“It’s funny ’cause our A & R guy didn’t even want it on the album,” he said. “Now he’s kissing our ass.”

Blower said the band was very fortunate to have the single become such a hit.

“Hopefully we can repeat it multiple times for this second album,” he said.

On the band’s reputation

Blower is the first to admit the non-stop party lifestyle comes naturally to him and the rest of the group.

“It’s pretty tough having to party, drink and hang out with hot chicks all night,” Blower said with a laugh. “We definitely take advantage of what we get to do every day.”

Contact general assignment reporter Denise Wright at [email protected].