Everybody is a freak in one way or another.
We all possess those idiosyncrasies and quirks that make us a little strange, whether it`s an odd proclivity or an offbeat fascination. In fact, that`s the one thing the entire world shares in common. Hence, the title of Hinder`s fourth full-length album for Republic Records, Welcome to the Freakshow.
"It`s not just you," affirms drummer Cody Hanson. "We all live this weird shit. There`s something strange about everyone`s life or situation. If you think about it, it`s universally relatable. The freaks make the world interesting though."
The multi-platinum Oklahoma City hard rockers got just freaky enough for their latest offering. Of course they`ve still got some big panty-dropping rock anthems such as "Ladies Come First," but tracks like the acoustic "Get Me Away From You" boast gritty charm with just the right amount of pop prowess. Welcome to the Freakshow is Hinder at their most diverse and dynamic.
Getting off the road in support of American Nightmare in November 2011, the group—Austin Winkler [Vocals], Joe "Blower" Garvey [Guitar], Mark King [Guitar], Mike Rodden [Bass], and Hanson [Drums]—entered a hometown studio to record what would become Welcome to the Freakshow. Co-produced by Hanson and Marshall Dutton, the musicians made a conscious effort to explore new avenues this time around. There were no boundaries, and every idea was fair game throughout the process.
Hanson smiles, "We like to think we can do anything. We don`t want to be stuck in a rut with one type of sound or formula. One song might have a country influence, while another might have a pop influence. Then, there are some heavy metal moments. We have every element covered on this record. You`ve got to do what`s best for the song."
"We stayed true to our sound, but every track is unique," Winkler goes on. "We intentionally wrote about different subjects for each song. That`s something we hadn`t really done on a Hinder record. That drove the new direction. We wanted to make the lyrics and the songs as real as possible. We were more honest than ever before."
That spirit comes through loud and clear on the first single, "Save Me." An arena-ready riff roars alongside Winkler`s infectious proclamation, "Get out of my face; I don`t need you to save me!"
"It`s really personal," reveals Hanson. "People will often judge you when they don`t know anything about you, and they`ll have some kind of bullshit salvation prepared for you. We don`t need somebody else to tell us what to do and how to change. We`ve lived more lives than the majority of the world. If we need to be saved, we can do it ourselves. We`ve figured that out by now."
For Winkler, the song hits especially close to home. "I had just gotten out of rehab for drugs and alcohol and I revisited the song," he confesses. "To me, it felt like I didn`t need anything negative like drugs. Those aren`t going to save me. I can save myself though."
On the other end of the spectrum, there`s "Is it Just Me." It`s a catchy barstool rumination that ponders how crazy the world can get with a massive chorus and soulful strumming.
"It plays on a couple of different emotions at once," continues Hanson. "Picture this. You`re sitting in a bar looking around by yourself. You`re in that half-drunk state and you ask, `Is the whole world fucked up or is it just me?` I like to think everyone`s been there at one time or another."
Elsewhere, "Shoulda Known Better" vividly recounts a relationship that just won`t end over resounding piano keys and a guitar hum. Then, there`s "Talk To Me" which examines a communication breakdown with a soft twang and one of their biggest hooks yet.
"You can practically see that song unfold," says Winkler. "That`s something everyone goes through, and you can take it from either the male or female perspective. Sometimes, you just can`t get through to the person you love."
Hinder`s certainly had quite the ride to arrive at this Freakshow. Their 2005 debut, Extreme Behavior, sold over three-million copies in the U.S., while its breakthrough single "Lips of an Angel" hit #1 on the Billboard Pop Chart. The record`s follow-up in 2008, Take it to the Limit, surpassed Gold status after debuting at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 with over 80,000 copies sold first week. Meanwhile, their third effort, American Nightmare, dropped in 2010. Along the way, the band has shared the stage on national tours with everyone Mötley Crüe and Nickelback to Papa Roach and Saving Abel.
After nearly a decade, Hinder are stronger than ever. Hanson concludes, "There aren`t too many bands that can stick together in the same lineup for an entire career. We all get along so well because we`re just five dudes from Oklahoma who like having a good time, laughing, and making music."
That`s also a big reason why fans will feel right at home with the new record. "I remember what it`s like being a fan," says Winkler. "There`s nothing more rewarding than baring your soul and having people connect with you."
Get ready to party with the Freaks. You`ll have the time of your life.
For more information visit: www.hindermusic.com