Mark King of Hinder
On November 4th, Hinder (Austin Winkler on vocals, Mark King on guitar, Joe “Blower” Garvey on guitar, Mike Rodden on bass and Cody Hanson on drums) dropped their sophomore effort Take it to the Limit. After selling over three million copies of their debut album Extreme Behavior the pressure was on, but for these Oklahoma boys it was business as usual.
With the first single “Use Me” already a fan favorite and the newly released “Without You” right behind it, this album is sure to live up to expectations. Inspired by notorious rock bands from the 70s and 80s a guest appearance from legendary Motley Crue axeman Mick Mars on the title track comes as no surprise. The album mixes arena ready rock anthems with ballads and everything in between.
The band is currently out on tour headlining the Jagermeister Tour (with support by Trapt, Red and Safetysuit). Guitarist Mark King called us to fill us in on the new album, the current tour, and to clear up a few rumors perpetuated by the pesky media.
Interviewed by: Mary Ouellette | November 2008
I wanted to start off by congratulating you on the new album – “Take it to the Limit” ! It came album came out last week…did you do anything special on that day to celebrate or was it all work no play?
Thank you! We were in L.A. and any time we’re in L.A. it’s all press and interviews. We had a show that night so we didn’t get to do anything real special but it’s kind of funny – Mike, Cody and I went to find something to eat and we saw a place called “Sizzler” so we ate there for our cd release. I don’t know if that’s really special but that’s how it happened.
Let’s talk about the writing process a little bit. When you go from selling three million albums on your label debut did you feel any pressure going into the writing process for the new album?
Well there’s always a little pressure but it’s from us mostly. We just go in there and do what we do. We can’t control what’s going to happen and if people are going to be buying albums when yours comes out or if the industry is going to be down in a hole. We’re all very proud of the product we put out and stand behind it. We’ve been playing all the songs live and they’re going over very well so none of us are worried by any means.
Is everyone in the band involved in the writing process?
It starts with Cody and Austin on acoustic guitar and they write the meat and potatoes of the songs – the chord progressions, lyrics, melodies and then they bring it to the rest of the band so we can put our spin on things.
On the behind the scenes videos of the band during the recording process for the new album, we see you playing the piano. How long have you played piano?
I started taking piano lessons when I was in the third grade. I took them for a few years and then I thought I was too cool for it and started playing football instead. Fast forward to college where I was a guitar performance major and I broke a knuckle on my middle finger and lost my flexibility in it. It ended up being a blessing in disguise because after that I started taking piano lessons, voice lessons, composition lessons, all the things that help me with the band now. Guitar is definitely my favorite instrument but piano is my second.
So lyrically the songs on the new album are pretty reminiscent of rock of the 70s and 80s with themes of sex, booze, rebellion, partying etc…how much of the lyrics are pulled from reality?
I’d say pretty much all of them. The only one that’s really a story is “Loaded and Alone” which is a story about a guy who goes off to L.A. to become big and bad and ends up being “Loaded and Alone.” The rest of the song lyrics are real. The last track on the album “Far From Home” that’s very true and hits close to home for all of us. We just love all the gang vocals, we wanted to do more of that on the first album but I don’t think we could get away with it as much being a baby band but now that we’ve established ourselves and sold 3 million copies we are able to do a bit more of what we want to do which is awesome.
So as a musician, how does it feel to be able to say that “My band sold 3 million albums”?
It doesn’t really set in until I sit back and think about it. It’s very surreal, that’s the only word I can come up with.
You mentioned the song “Loaded and Alone”, I’ve read where Austin talks about the lyrics being about someone who has experienced a small amount of fame and let it go to their head, forgetting about the important things…as a band who has experienced some serious success, what keeps you from becoming your own song lyric?
Well put…honestly, all of our families have been so supportive. I can guarantee you that if I turned into “that guy” that my Mom would just smack me right back down to reality. I really think that it’s our families that keep us all grounded.
So the legendary Mick Marks makes an appearance on the album. I’m guessing that the band as a whole are big Crue fans but how did that collaboration come about?
I think he had approached us, he wanted to write some songs but we were already in the studio and our songs were done so we asked if he wanted to play a solo on one of the songs and sent him some options. Sure enough he wanted to do it on “Take it to the Limit.”
So was that a big deal for you, are you a Crue fan?
Oh totally, who’s not a fan of Motley Crue? It was really bizarre that it even happened, we’re just five boys from Oklahoma and now one of the guys from Motley Crue is on our record? It’s pretty amazing.
With three years in between your first and second album, what do you think has been the biggest transformation?
I would say just the slow progression. We started off with three crew members in an RV and now we have two tour buses and a semi. Our production is bigger and we have ten guys on crew now. I think that’s it, we’ve been working our tails out here on the road and slowly growing which is what I’ve always wanted to do so things are good!
Critics have not always been kind to you in the past…yet you still sell tons of records and sell out shows coast to coast…that’s got to be a little gratifying to prove that sometimes rock and roll in its purest form is the most satisfying? Do you read your reviews and if so, how do you react to them?
I read our reviews and I’m glad that we get bad reviews because it seems like everything that they say is cool…if you pick up a Rolling Stone and it’s something they like, it sells two copies, and everything they say is bad is what ends up being big. We’ve sold three million records and they’ve bashed us from day one and still do, and I hope they continue to do so because once they start saying we’re cool we’ve probably sold out.
I saw you live over the summer with Three Doors Down and you had a pretty sweet stage set up, and I read that that Cody’s dad actually built it…now that you’re headlining the Jägermeister tour and taking it to more intimate venues did you have to tone/scale anything down?
Yes Cody’s dad builds all of our stage productions. So far on this tour we’ve been lucky and we’ve been able to use our full production every night but it just depends on the stage. Tonight we’re at Ft. Walton Beach Fl but I’m guessing we’ll have to scale it down a bit but that’s the nature of the beast. We have more production on this tour than you saw this summer; we’ve brought our own lighting rig.
What are some of your favorite songs off of the new album to play live?
Definitely “Up All Night”, that’s my favorite. It’s kind of funny; when we started playing new songs in our set I had to rethink things because I already had my moves down for the other songs but “Up All Night” just came naturally to me. I’ve never seen a crowd respond to a song like they respond to that one from day one so it’s very exciting.
Devil’s Due Publishing has created a comic book based on the band and your tour…and you’re now using it for the tour guide correct? Where did that idea spawn from?
They approached us about it and at first I didn’t know what to think but it’s pretty sweet, a comic about Hinder, I’ll be a little comic character! It’s still in the beginning phases so we’re not really sure what direction we’re going to go with it but we’re trying to work out a way to get fans involved and submit their input. We just want to have fun with it.
Are any of you guys big comic geeks?
Honestly I don’t think any of us have ever owned a comic, it was never my thing growing up.
Given that the band is made up of such colorful characters, can you tell us one random or little known fact about each member?
Where to start..where to start…Austin. I don’t know if it’s little known but he’s married.
I don’t want to be responsible for telling your fans that.
Yeah, maybe that’s a bad idea. Mike use to be in an emo band. Blower went to college for communications. Cody went to school for some kind of management. And what about me, about a year before I joined Hinder I was a door to door salesman. It was awful. I had just moved to Oklahoma and I couldn’t find a job to save my life so I took this job. I think I made $200 in two months because I really sucked at it.
I think it’s great that you’re so honest about that and it kind of lends itself to my next question – the band sort of blazed their own path from the beginning, starting in clubs and building up a following and label interest…what advice an you give to other bands out there who may be struggling to stay together?
I would say one of the main things is that to put any money you make from playing gigs back into the band. That way you can make flyers, go out and flyer, stand outside for a few hours and tell every person you see about your band. You need to advertise.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about the band?
I want to make amends on this. We played “A Night for the Vets” on MTV and they were talking about a beef between us and Saving Abel, which is a different story entirely. They said that they were shocked that the party animals in Hinder would want Sprite for our room. We wanted Sprite to mix with the Vodka people. Come ON! So just to clear that up.
So what was the beef with Saving Abel?
They had been telling the press that they could out drink us but they had never even met us until that night. We’re cool though, we invited them to hang out – we’re good ole’ Oklahoma boys and they’re good ole’ Mississippi boys, we’ve got no beef at all.
Any pre-show rituals for the band?
About an hour before the show the five of us come together and turn up the old school Motley Crue, Guns N Roses, all that good ole music and we have a Jager machine on the bus and the bottles in the dressing room so we do some damage to that before hitting the stage.
Parting words to your people?
Go get our record; it’s out now, finally!