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- Posted on Mar 15th 2010 9:05PM by Sean Woosley
How did The Mother Hips officially start?
Greg and I had been playing for years acoustically, figuring out how to sing and play guitar. I wrote some songs and there was a good rhythm section in Chico that was interested in playing with us and we just started playing backyard parties and got popular in Chico very quickly. I think the first time we ever played as The Mother Hips, properly, was probably '91. Greg and I are the only two original members, but the current lineup has been the same for close to ten years.
What music first inspired you?
When I was first interested in music I didn't really consider that I would be making it, I just enjoyed it. Some of the first stuff Ilistened to was like, the Beach Boys' "Endless Summer." I really liked that record. For some reason I really listened to Little Richard and Buddy Holly and I don't know why.
Any guilty musical pleasures?
I try not to listen to stuff that I love so much, like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin. It's great and I still enjoy it. I love it, but I almost feel guilty when I listen to them because I've heard it so much. I feel like I should be checking out something that I haven't heard yet.
How do you describe your own sound?
I think our songs often times don't have a real structure, not a real defined chorus. They're creative and sometimes a little free form and the words are usually kind of obtuse or peculiar. Hopefully not too much, though. Our formative years were spent listening to all of this west coast '60s and '70s kind of music. I think that still comes through quite a bit, although we definitely have our own sound.
What positive changes have you seen as a touring musician over the years?
When we first started touring, cell phones, they had them but they were so expensive that the bands never had them. We had a pager when we first started. I can't even imagine trying to tour without cell phones and GPS and iPhones. It's just a part of touring now. It keeps you entertained. It gets you where you need to go. It answers any questions that may come up. Of course, the internet is huge for bands to be able to promote and communicate with your fan base. It's quite easy to forget that it wasn't like that not so very long ago.
Have any of the band's musical influences changed? Are there any genres that you are now open to that maybe didn't used to work for you before?
Yeah, actually. Just very recently we all started putting Grateful Dead songs on radio in the car. That's something that's very new.
Would that have caused a small riot ten years ago?
Yeah, we had a troubled path with being compared to the Grateful Dead and we didn't really understand what their music was about. At least, I had never really listened to them at all. I guess I thought of just the Deadhead culture. So, when we would get compared to the Dead we would be mortified. It kept us from listening to any of their music, at all. Of course, now that I listen to it, I realize it's very relevant to what the Mother Hips have always done, and if you can separate it from some of the themes around it, it's just a great band. Very interesting to listen to in terms of just the depths of the material and what the performance will tell you about them. They weren't afraid to be themselves. Sometimes they even sound awful and it's fascinating to me.
What's your biggest vice?
The iPhone, for sure, and nice hotels. We kind of treat ourselves right when it comes to hotels. We just had so many years of sleeping on floors, staying in Motel 6's. We can't do it anymore.
How did you hook up with your most recent label, Camera Records?
Actually, an old friend of ours,who used to play drums in a band that would open for us, started working in the music industry and works for many different record labels. He just couldn't believe that we didn't have a label and that we weren't selling more records, so he formed Camera Records to put out our records.
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