Although the members of the Los Angeles rock band Hoobastank are still in their mid-twenties, they have spent over a decade writing and performing music. The veteran band has already enjoyed international success with their 2004 single "Reason", which sold millions and made their strange moniker a household word. Hoobastank's 2007 world tour includes stops in South Africa, Japan and Indonesia. Before flying to Johannesburg to perform in Africa's biggest rock festival, Hoobastank's Doug Robb and Dan Estrin spoke with VOA's Larry London.
Hoobastank's third album, "Everyman For Himself," sold more than 100,000 copies in the U.S. in its first week of release last year, and proved that Hoobastank was more than a "one-hit wonder."
Singer/songwriter Doug Robb says the band took a new approach to making music on their third album. "With this album, we wrote a bunch of songs and kept them at their early stage of development. We went in (to the studio) with them at early stages of development. We let them grow in the studio, which is interesting, because I'd go in one day, and I have no idea what kind of sounds we were going to get, and really wondered how certain songs were going to sound, you know, which is cool."
And unlike earlier Hoobastank albums, the new CD explored issues other than love and relationships.
"As far as writing the songs,” says Robb, “it is always about where I was personally and philosophically in my own life. The reason there is not lots of relationship-based songs in this record, maybe one or two out of 12. A lot of it is just more philosophical or life observational-type songs, which, kind of shows where I was at that time, and I may not be there anymore. You want to sing about a lot of different things."
"The Reason", released in 2004, has remained the band's most successful song ever by topping charts in the U.S., and staying on Canada's Top 10 for a record-breaking 20 weeks.
Doug Robb reflects on their success. "If that is or was the most successful point of our careers, I would not change it."
The band came up with its meaningless but memorable name while playing after-school parties. They planned to change it as soon as they signed with a major label. But the studio urged them to keep the name.
"People don't realize that we have been in this band for 12 years,” Robb says. “Twelve years ago we were playing, you know, after-school parties, stuff like that. We were a much quirkier, less-serious band at the time. The name has that quirky, silly feel to it. But we grew and the name didn't. It is what it is now, and it is one of those things that, strangely enough, has become a semi-household name. Whether they like it or not, people have heard of it, and they remember it once they hear it."