8.8.19: Philadelphia – (Music/Culture): On behalf of the iconic American rock band he co-founded nearly forty-years ago, Mr. Rob Hyman on Wednesday morning appeared at a press conference in Olde City, where the 2019 inductees of the Philadelphia Walk of Fame were unveiled.
Almost twenty-years ago, Mr. Hyman and Mr. Eric Bazilian, co-founders of The Hooters, had plaques of their own cemented along the Avenue of the Arts. This year, the entire Philly-based ensemble receives recognition.
“It’s all surreal … it gets more surreal every day,” Mr. Hyman told me at the conclusion of the presser, which also disclosed that legendary R&B group, The O’Jays, in October will be the recipients of the Philadelphia Award.
While we talked, the 69-year-old held in his hand a multi-colored melodica, also known as a hooter, the polyphonic instrument that helped define the band’s unique sound of ska, reggae, and rock. Such a sound would eventually catapult The Hooters from local talent to household names.
The band started in 1980 and their first show, according to Mr. Hyman, was in the suburbs of Philadelphia. After that performance, there was a consensus among the bandmates that something special was brewing.
By the fall of 1982, The Hooters opened for one of The Who’s farewell-tour shows at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia. In July of 1984, the band signed with Columbia Records. And the next July, The Hooters were the opening band at the Philadelphia Live Aid benefit concert.
“That was certainly a big break for the group,” Mr. Hyman said of the chance to perform in front of 100,000 people.
An extensive tour of Australia succeeded the Live Aid performance. And the group would go on the play across the globe, finding a particularly fanatic audience in Europe. But no matter where The Hooters played, and despite however long they resided abroad, Philadelphia has, and always will, be home.
Born in Connecticut, Mr. Hyman on Wednesday revealed that, over the decades, the band was pressured to move to a more musical city like Los Angeles, Nashville or New York City. But the keyboardist contends that Philly is a “great music town” and performers across the world value the audiences here.
“We liked Philly, and Philly liked us. It was an obvious decision for us to stay,” said Mr. Hyman, who today, in addition to touring, operates a recording studio just outside the city’s limits.
Next year, The Hooters will be four-decades-old. The group shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, Mr. Hyman said there’s still new songs to write and foreign places yet visited.
And seeing the world in the condition that it is, with bad news seemingly routine, people need good music more than ever, said the rock legend, who described the band’s shows as a “celebration.”
A celebration will, indeed, occur on October 22nd, when The Hooters are officially inducted into the Philadelphia Walk of Fame. The hometown heroes will undoubtedly attract a crowd.
“We found success in Philly, as a group, after many other bands hadn’t succeeded. We’re based here, and we’re staying here.”
Thanks for reading! Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® and I’m Drumming for Justice!™
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