Hoobastank goes to Hollywood: Rockers play free show on Oct. 23.Written by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Guitarist Dan Estrin is tired of answering the question. He gets asked all the time — it’s one of the first things brought up in every interview. Still, he admits it’s pretty much inevitable. No matter how many albums the group has sold, no matter how long they have been together, the question always comes up.
Why is the band named Hoobastank?
“You know, I understand a little why that’s usually everyone’s first question,” Estrin said. “I mean seriously — What the f**k is Hoobastank? What does it mean? None of us ever thought or currently think the name is great. It is what it is.
“We named the band when we were very young and never thought about the future. We actually signed our record deal under ‘formally known as ‘Hoobastank.’ We were dead set on changing it. We had a bunch of different names written down. After we signed the deal, we played a concert back home at The Roxy and our record company came out to see us. The place was completely packed! People everywhere going f***ing nuts while chanting “Hoo-ba-stank … Hoo-ba-stank!” I remember after the show our A&R guy saying … ‘F**k it! Don’t change your name!’ So really Paul Pontius is to blame!”
During the decade-plus that has passed since the band first slammed into the public consciousness — and the years of refining that came prior to that — Hoobastank has brought its unique brand of alternative rock to stages all over the world. Their most recent tour began just days ago with stops in India, leading to its upcoming free concert at the Hollywood Casino Toledo on Oct. 23.
“The Midwest is usually really good to us. Lots of energy. The crowds on the coasts — including myself — seem a bit more jaded and used to bands coming through all the time,” Estrin noted. “I grew up and still live in L.A. … Going to a concert looks like a bunch of really important people standing there checking their tweets, updating their status on [Facebook] and posting pics on Instagram … while missing the moment they’re in during the concert.”
No matter the location or audience, the members of Hoobastank work to put on a consistently great show, drawing on more than a decade and a half of touring experience spent refining and improving their ability as live performers.
“I think like anyone, over the time of 15 years you grow, learn and hopefully get better at what your craft is,” Estrin said. “And also look back at some of the dumb s**t we or I’ve done through the years … and either cringe or laugh.”
Though Hoobastank has seen its fair share of upheaval during its years on the road, with a recent departure from Island Records and the departure of several bass players, the main body of the group has stayed relatively stable through the years. Since the group was first formed in the mid-’90s, the three members at its core — Estrin, singer Doug Robb and drummer Chris Hesse — have remained.
How has the trio maintained a healthy working relationship during that time?
“Well, it’s not always healthy. Especially early on when we were young,” Estrin said.
“I just believe people get tired of people. No matter if it’s your longtime best friend who ends up annoying the s**t out of you cause of the way he chews his food, or it’s your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife … people need space and breaks. Communication is super important and dudes usually f***ing suck at it … which ends up getting pushed down inside and ends up coming out way worse later.
“At this point in my life, I try to choose my words better than I might have in the early days. We all love what we do and the three of us have been through a lot together. We’ve been all over the world and made a lot of music together that has done very well for us. We’re like brothers.”
The group’s most recent album — the well-received 2012 “Fight or Flight” — not only saw them change labels for the first time in more than a decade, but also from longtime producer Howard Benson to new collaborator Gavin Brown.
“We had worked with the same producer for three albums. It was time to try something fresh. That was all we knew. We wanted and needed something different,” Estrin noted.
And what can fans expect at Hollywood Casino Toledo on Oct. 23?
“Some familiar catchy songs, a fun, energetic performance and we’re finally going to reveal onstage what the name Hooba-stank means!”