Monday, July 22, 2024

Hootie Babylon! Darius Rucker Tells All

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Which Nineties band once dropped $32,000 to buy a dealer’s entire supply of ecstasy at once? The answer would’ve been hard to guess at the height of their fame, but it was the seemingly clean-cut dudes in Hootie and the Blowfish — who, as frontman Darius Rucker reveals in his excellent new book, Life’s Too Short: A Memoir, could out-party any band you can name. “When I’m dead, I’ll let them study my brain and tell you if I have any serotonin,” Rucker says.

Rucker looks back at those days and much, much more in the new episode of our weekly Rolling Stone Music Now podcast. To hear the whole interview, go here for the podcast provider of your choice, listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or just press play above. Some highlights from the interview follow.

Rucker says it’s time to forgive fellow country star Morgan Wallen, who was caught using a racial slur in 2021. “I think Morgan’s become a better person since that,” Rucker says. “I’ve known Morgan a long time. Since all that happened Morgan’s tried to really better himself and become a better person and see the world in a much better, better was. And you know, he’s not forgiven. He’s still not out for CMAs and ACMs. They can say what they want, but the fact that Morgan Wallen is not up for entertainer of the year and those things is crazy. No one’s selling more tickets than Morgan.”

Rucker is recording an album with a still-unnamed new band he’s forming with former R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills and former Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman. “You can call it a supergroup if you want, but I think people will really be surprised at how good it is,” says Rucker. “But we’re just a band. We’re friends and we jammed together one day at Steve’s kid’s school with [Nashville session player] Tom Bukovac playing guitar. We were just like, ‘Let’s go in the studio and see what happens.’ And we went in the studio and to be honest with you, magic happened, and then I just can’t wait for the record to get out.’”

Rucker is currently on tour with Hootie and the Blowfish, but he can’t guarantee that’ll ever happen again. “It would be five or more years —  if we ever do it again,” he says. “I was surprised I agreed to this tour. Because I mean, for me, it’s just like, I’m going backwards. You know, as an artist, sometimes you don’t want to go backwards.”

Hootie are doing Stone Temple Pilots‘ “Interstate Love Song” on tour simply because they wish they wrote it. “We do that song because I remember when that song came out in the Nineties, how jealous we were of how it sounded,” Rucker says. “You know, it just sounded perfect on the radio and it was so hard. You know, why can’t we play that? And so now I guess we’re just old dudes. We play whatever we want to play. So I love rocking that song.”


When Rucker named the band Hootie and the Blowfish, an obvious problem didn’t occur to him. “I’m telling you right now, I named the band, and I never once thought people would call me Hootie,” he says. “I look back now, and I go, ‘You’re such a frigging idiot,’ but I never once thought about it. And then when it started happening, I was like, ‘What did I just frigging do?’”

Download and subscribe to Rolling Stone‘s weekly podcast, Rolling Stone Music Now, hosted by Brian Hiatt, on Apple Podcasts or Spotify (or wherever you get your podcasts). Check out six years’ worth of episodes in the archive, including in-depth interviews with Mariah Carey, Bruce Springsteen, Questlove, Halsey, Neil Young, Snoop Dogg, Brandi Carlile, Phoebe Bridgers, Rick Ross, Alicia Keys, the National, Ice Cube, Taylor Hawkins, Willow, Keith Richards, Robert Plant, Dua Lipa, Killer Mike, Julian Casablancas, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Marr, Scott Weiland, Liam Gallagher, Alice Cooper, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis Costello, John Legend, Donald Fagen, Charlie Puth, Phil Collins, Justin Townes Earle, Stephen Malkmus, Sebastian Bach, Tom Petty, Eddie Van Halen, Kelly Clarkson, Pete Townshend, Bob Seger, the Zombies, and Gary Clark Jr. And look for dozens of episodes featuring genre-spanning discussions, debates, and explainers with Rolling Stone’s critics and reporters.

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