If I told you that one of the biggest rock bands around these days hails from Oklahoma, would you believe me?
Probably not, considering Oklahoma is most often associated with country icons Gene Autry, Roy Clark, Merle Haggard and Bob Wills.
But if you think about it, the state that gives us the annual Rocklahoma hard rock music festival (which this year features acts such as Guns N' Roses, Korn and Bullet for My Valentine) has a rich and varied musical history. Elvin Bishop ("Fooled Around and Fell in Love"), The Gap Band and red-hot songwriter Ryan Tedder all hail from The Sooner State.
Not to be outdone is Hinder, who play at the Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury on Wednesday, Feb. 27, with special guests Nonpoint and ACIDIC.
The Oklahoma City rockers have been around since 2001 when singer Austin Winkler met drummer Cody Hanson and guitarist Joe Garvey at a party. When their first EP (Far From Close) sold 5,000 copies, they picked up bassist Mike Rodden and guitarist Mark King, and were on their way to their first major-label record deal with Universal Records in 2005.
Their first album for Universal, 2005's Extreme Behavior, went triple platinum. Their second album for Universal, 2008's Take It to the Limit, went gold. While their two most recent albums (2010's All American Nightmare and Welcome to the Freakshow, which came out in December of last year) have not earned such high sales marks, the band is now entrenched as a mainstay on the hard rock scene.
"I'm really happy with the new album," Hanson told me in a recent phone interview from his Oklahoma City home. "Fans seem to be reacting great to it. In fact, the reaction's been the best of the four albums. It's interesting. Albums don't sell as well as they used to, so you have to base its success on reaction."
Because Hinder is one of the few survivors of the dying rock music world, Hanson said they had more leeway when putting the new album together. "We had the freedom in the studio to experiment a little. We were a little more modern in the production. We had the chance to make production choices for each song individually as opposed to having a single sound for the album."
When Hinder first started, they drew comparisons to Nickelback and while most bands chafe at being linked in any way to the Chad Kroeger-fronted band from the Great White North, Hanson doesn't mind at all. "I think that band's great live, to be honest with you. I always have a great time watching them."
They've toured with everyone from Buckcherry to Papa Roach to 3 Doors Down to Motley Crue, Theory of a Deadman and Nickelback. But this is their first headline tour and Hanson is very excited to get out on the road.
"We're changing things up in the set," Hanson said. "It could get interesting. We're not planning anything out. We just want to go out and play the best show we can. We treat every show like it's a party and we want everybody to come out and have as much fun as we do."
Hinder plays at Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 8 p.m. with opening acts Nonpoint and ACIDIC. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at www.blueoceanhall.com, by phone at 978-462-5888 or at the box office.