To survive, one must often learn to adapt and evolve. About 65 million years ago, dinosaurs failed that fact. They perished.
More recently, the multi-platinum-selling rock band Hinder was faced with a similar situation. They didn’t fail this fact. They survived. And now, with the May release of a new six-song EP, “Stripped,” on The End Records and an all-new tour to accompany it, Hinder isn’t just surviving — it’s thriving.
The five-piece band from Oklahoma, which got its start in 2001 and is best-known for hits such as “Get Stoned,” “Lips of an Angel,” “Better than Me,” “How Long,” “Use Me” and “Without You,” is in the midst of its first-ever all-acoustic tour that includes a June 25 stop at the Cargo Concert Hall in the Whitney Peak Hotel.
Hinder also has a new lead singer in Marshall Dutton, who wrote songs for the band’s third album, “All American Nightmare” in 2010 and co-produced the band’s fourth album, “Welcome to the Freakshow” in 2012, before replacing original vocalist Austin John Winkler in 2015. With the release of the band’s fifth studio album, “When the Smoke Clears” in 2015, Dutton became the only vocalist besides Winkler to front Hinder.
The reasons for Winkler’s departure aren’t clear, but it was reported by Billboard in 2012 that he entered rehab for drug addiction.
For drummer Cody Hanson, who started the band in 2001 along with guitarist Joe Garvey and Winkler, the decision to bring in Dutton — who was formerly the lead singer of rock band Faktion — as frontman was a necessity to the band’s survival.
“It was either make the changes that we made or we weren’t going to be a band anymore,” Hanson said. “We weren’t ready to give up on the thing that we love so much.”
Not everyone felt the same way, though. When the smoke cleared and it became apparent that Dutton was Hinder’s new lead singer, some longtime fans expressed their disappointment at the decision.
“There’s always people who are unhappy when changes are made,” Hanson said. “But it was something that had to be done. It was unavoidable. It obviously doesn’t have anything to do with Marshall. People just have a hard time accepting change.
“But Marshall has been involved with us for a long time and he’s probably the most talented musician I’ve ever known. His knowledge of music is insane. It pushes the rest of us to be better. As a result, we’ve become a stronger band. We’re all five on the same page and loving it and having a good time again.”
Along with Hanson, Garvey and Dutton, the band includes guitarist Mark King and bassist Mike Rodden, both of whom have been with Hinder since 2003.
A new voice, a new show
With a new voice and a fresh outlook, Hinder is bringing a show that its fans have never seen — an all-acoustic concert.
“This is something we’ve wanted to do for a very long time,” Hanson said. “It’s been a real challenge getting ready for this tour. We want to make these shows special, so we have a bunch of surprises. We’re doing songs we don’t typically do in our set. We’re doing different arrangements of songs. We’re throwing in some covers. The show is very different from anything we’ve ever done.
“I’m a little nervous, to be honest. We’re working really hard to get everything down. It’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of hours. But it’s also been a lot of fun. We’re all really excited.”
The new “Stripped” EP features the songs “Not An Addict,” “Intoxicated,” “Wasted Life,” “Hit the Ground,” “If Only for Tonight” and “Get Stoned.”
“It’s not new music, but it’s new music presented differently,” Hanson said. “One thing about this, at least for myself, is I’ve fallen in love with some of these songs again, some of the songs I’ve kind of forgotten about over time. It’s been really cool.”
Not simply content with reworking older songs, the band also has written a number of new songs for what will become its sixth full-length studio album.
“Before we even released the (’Stripped’) EP, we were almost finished with our next full-length album,” Hanson said. “We already have it pretty much in the can once we’re ready to come up with a game plan and decide what to do. I’d say we’re about 90 percent done.”
Focusing on the music
Hanson said he hopes the yet-to-be-named album will be out at the end of 2016 or the start of 2017.
While Hinder still hopes to have a few more hit songs in its future, Hanson said the pressure to come up with a hit isn’t the same as it was 15 years ago when the band was just starting out.
“There really isn’t any pressure on us (to have another hit), but only because I think the definition of a hit song is so different than what we thought it was at one time,” he said. “I think we’ve written songs that are every bit as good, or better, as our quote-unquote hit songs, in my opinion as a writer. But for a song to be a hit there’s so much more to it. It’s not just having the good song. It’s having the right machine behind it to force it down people’s throats to make it a hit song. To get it into people’s face enough for it to become what’s known as a hit.”
That’s a fact that Hanson has come to understand is mostly out of the band’s control. So, instead of focusing on hits, the band’s focus is on creating what it feels is good music and let the results land where they may.
“As long as we’re still having fun, at this point we’ve accomplished so much and experienced so much, I think we’ve done everything we wanted to do and needed to do,” Hanson said. “So, when it’s not fun anymore we’ll stop. But until then, we’ll just keep doing our thing.”