As Mötley Crüe's members can surely attest, being in a platinum-selling rock band has its obvious advantages — perks, if you will.
There's the money, the adoration of millions of fans, the broads and the freedom to bro down with your best friends whenever the mood strikes. Some bands reject this lifestyle of excess to concentrate on more creative, more productive and more meaningful pursuits. Other bands embrace it — liver disease, be damned.
Oklahoma hard-rock troupe fit into the latter category. They've been carrying the torch for the likes of the Crüe, Poison, Whitesnake, Guns N' Roses and the rest of the '80s lot, who habitually trashed hotel rooms, swigged more booze than Gary Busey and spread more disease than rats did during the bubonic plague, at a time when the "rock star" seems an antiquated, abandoned notion.
"We've been blessed," drummer Cody Hanson said one week after the Hinder boys hit Hawaii for a little R-and-R ("We snorkeled, chilled on the beach and just got sh---canned," he said). "If we want to wake up in the morning and start f---ing pounding vodka, then play a 45-minute set and party our asses off all night, sh--, we might as well take advantage and do it."
That's Hinder's mind-set, and yes, they're quite open about it. A few weeks back, during the video shoot for their latest single, "Use Me," Hinder followed their hearts.
"We shot it with Wayne Isham (Godsmack, Avenged Sevenfold), and we got this big house up in the Hills, rented some Ferraris and Lamborghinis, had some Playboy models come in and got f---ed up all day," Hanson recalled. "It was pretty awesome. I've been asking myself for a long time why bands don't do videos like that anymore, and I don't know. Anybody can be lame and hang out and read books and play video games and sh--, but we've been blessed with this awesome opportunity that nobody else gets. You might as well live it up and have a good time."
And Hinder — who will be on the road with , and through late September, after which they'll headline this fall's Jägermeister Music Tour — are having the time of their lives these days. The band's 2005 debut, Extreme Behavior, has sold well over 2.7 million copies since its release, and on November 4, when Americans will participate in what may very well be the most important presidential election ever, they're dropping the follow-up, Take It to the Limit, which will feature tracks like "One Last Kiss Goodbye," "Loaded and Alone" and "Up all Night."
"We thought it was an exciting day for the country, so we figured it would be a good day to drop the disc," Hanson said. "I think this new one's a lot better than our first record. Everything about it is a lot better. I love the first album and I was really, really proud of it. But this one, I don't know. ... I think we've grown as songwriters, as musicians and even our producer [Brian Howes] has grown as a producer. Sonically, it sounds better. It's just bigger and better, and we didn't want to stop until we knew for sure that we'd killed the first one.
And while Hinder have drawn comparisons to bands like Nickelback, Hanson said he doesn't agree.
"It's something that we don't see," he said. "Whenever a new band comes out and they do well, that just happens. When Nickelback came out, they were compared to Creed. Is it the same genre? Maybe — I suppose it is. But to me, those two bands don't sound anything alike, and I don't think we sound anything like Nickelback. I think this record will kill that comparison."
While the new record lacks any overarching theme, Hanson said the songs Hinder wrote for the effort were inspired by what's been happening to them over the last three years.
"This one song, called 'The Best Is Yet to Come,' I think a lot of people are going to relate to it because it's a song about all those dumb things that you do when you're young, and you just learn to embrace it, because that's what happens in life — you learn from it, and things get better as you get older," he explained. "Every song is different. There are a lot of songs that, especially some of the songs we wrote early on, you can kind of tell what we were going through on the road. One song's called 'Far From Home,' and it deals with long-distance relationships and how difficult they are — a few of us were actually going through that at the time we wrote that song."
What do Hinder think about their rapid rise in the rock realm? Hanson said they always dreamed they'd make it big, but weren't sure it would happen for them.
"We felt that we were doing some things a little bit different than other bands out there, and we figured it would either do really well or completely tank," he said. "But we got lucky, and it went the good way. Hopefully, we can keep that up on this next one."