Was it one too many comparisons to their pals Incubus that led Hoobastank to write the frenzied rocker "Out of Control?" Probably not.
The band penned the first single from its upcoming album The Reason after it had already finished the rest of the disc (see "Luck Be A Lady To Hoobastank As They Prep New Album"), and while the song is a stormer, it's only representative of about half the new album. Sure, "Same Direction" and "Just One" are similarly heavy, amping up the style of melodic hard rock the band displayed on its 2001 self-titled debut, but "The Reason" and "Disappear" are far more delicate and ornate, colored with strings, keyboards and dripping sentimentality.
"We all love metal and other heavy, heavy sh--, but dude, I grew up listening to Air Supply and REO Speedwagon," guitarist and songwriter Dan Estrin said. "I'm totally interested in songwriting, and I want to write songs that make me feel good. I consider Toto and Journey to be just as influential in my life as Metallica and Faith No More."
At least vocally, "Out of Control" is largely influenced by Faith No More's Mike Patton. Musically, however, the song blends a variety of heavy styles; there's a buzzing alt-metal verse, a raging pre-chorus reminiscent of Nirvana and a rousing pop-tinted chorus. Estrin came up with the main riff on a whim in July while the bandmembers were on vacation in Hawaii.
"We had one show there, and at soundcheck I started playing the intro riff of the song," the guitarist recalled. "Our manager was like, 'Dude, what is that?' It's fresh and it doesn't sound like anything else you do.' So Chris [Hesse] just started playing drums over it and it kind of came together. After soundcheck, I played the song into my answering machine at home so I wouldn't forget it."
If it sounds like singer Doug Robb is angry in "Out of Control," it's because he is. He wrote the song about his distaste for religion, a subject he broaches throughout The Reason. Not only does he question blind faith, he points out how belief can be a damaging influence.
"The song was inspired by a friend of mine who's going through some rough times," Robb explained. "He's a really devout Christian and he's at a point in his life where he's saying, 'You know what? I've lived my life a certain way, and I thought I would be somewhere, but I'm really not and I don't know what to do.' " It's basically about taking a direction you think is correct, and then you find out you're just as lost as you were in the beginning."
Hoobastank shot a video for "Out of Control" in late September with Wayne Isham, who directed Metallica's "Frantic," as well as clips by Bon Jovi, Will Smith and others. Since it's a performance video, Robb and his bandmates wanted to make made sure it was filmed in an unconventional manner.
"We're pretty much against performance videos because we feel like we've seen every performance video that can be done," he said. "So we shot it at a bunch of different speeds. Some of it is really chaotic and fast and a little bit of it is slowed down."
Since Robb didn't want the cinematography to be slick or cheesy, Isham conceived a set that was more like an amusement park ride than a performance platform. "There were two huge circular stages that formed the infinity symbol," said Robb. "They were on separate hydraulic systems, and there was a crowd gathered around us with their hands on the stage and it looks like they're rocking it back and forth."
For much of the video, the stage rocks as hard as the band, and while drummer Chris Hesse was strapped to his kit, which was bolted down, the rest of the group had to fend for themselves. "We're just trying to play and stay on our feet," Robb said. "There are a lot of high-speed shots where we're falling over and trying to get back up. It's definitely not glamorous. We didn't want it to look pretty at all."