Hoobastank frontman Doug Robb wants you to know that despite published reports, he does not have beef with Velvet Revolver singer Scott Weiland. But Velvet Revolver fans are a completely different issue.
“We were on the Velvet Revolver tour, and some of the shows were amazing, but some of them were terrible,” he laughed. “The audience was filled with guys who love Guns N’ Roses and Stone Temple Pilots and think everyone else should go to hell. People would turn their backs to us the whole time and keep their middle fingers in the air. But they were probably really upset because they found some rust spots on their Camaros, or because they got their mullets caught in the door while tailgating, and they were like, ’Ow! Damn it! I’m gonna go mess with Hoobastank!’ ”
Those experiences — plus some rather chilly backstage behavior from Weiland (see “Hoobastank Singer Has A Few Words For Velvet Revolver, NHL” ) — inspired Robb to write “If I Were You,” the first single from Hoobastank’s upcoming album, Every Man for Himself, which is due on April 18. It’s a song that takes to task those who don’t appreciate what they have, especially when so many have nothing at all.
“When we were on tour, we had all that sh– happening with the audience, and then you have stuff with Scott Weiland, and then you go onto the bus and turn on ’Entertainment Tonight’ and you see some [celebrity] bitching about something. It was incredibly frustrating,” Robb said.
“So I wrote the song based on all that, about anybody who takes what they have for granted,” he continued. “And I’ve found that that’s pretty much everybody.”
Robb declined to expand on just what that “stuff” with Weiland entailed, but Hoobastank drummer Chris Hesse was more forthcoming when asked about the singer’s behavior.
“It was kind of strange, because usually when you go on tour with someone for six weeks, by the end you’ve become pretty good friends with them,” he said. “With VR, we felt pretty comfortable with all the guys except for one person, who never said a word to me or [guitarist] Dan [Estrin] or anybody until three weeks into the tour, when he was like, ’Welcome to the tour.’ Of course, for three weeks he’d been blowing by us in the halls, yelling at his assistant.”
A spokesperson for Weiland had no comment.
Then there’s the matter of the song itself, a flowing tune that features a plinking toy piano. This, of course, has given Hooba haters even more fodder, which in turn only makes Robb angrier.
“I remember being in the rehearsal studio, sitting on a couch, and there was this bass line playing, and I thought, ’Hey, it would be cool if we had a toy piano following the bass line,’ probably because it reminded me of something Faith No More would do,” he explained. “And I’ve heard a few people be like, ’What’s with that toy piano? It’s pretty lame.’ When a band like Radiohead does something like that it’s ’brilliant.’ But when we do it, it’s lame. Don’t get me started on that.”
Of course, there are some things Hoobastank are happy with, including the video for “If I Were You,” directed by fish-eye lens connoisseur Hype Williams. Unfortunately, no one in the band has actually seen the video, but Robb’s not worried. He’s used to this kind of thing by now.
“Hype had this idea to go guerrilla-style around the world and capture a bunch of images of youthful exuberance,” Robb said. “I told him that I wanted people to see the video and have an epiphany, like, ’I’m gonna call my son’ or ’I’m gonna hang out with my mom.’ Because everyone has something that they’re taking for granted. So there was no treatment. And we still haven’t seen an edit of the video. But that’s kind of the way everything is on this album — things just sort of appear. So, yeah, I’m excited about it.”
Track list for Hoobastank’s Every Man for Himself, according to Island:
- “The Rules”
- “Born to Lead”
- “Moving Forward”
- “Inside of You”
- “The First of Me”
- “Good Enough”
- “If I Were You”
- “Without a Fight”
- “Don’t Tell Me”
- “Look Where We Are”
- “Say the Same”
- “If Only”
- “More Than a Memory”