Hinder has shifted gears and released a killer acoustic CD with some restructured tracks from their latest studio disc, as well an older track and a cool cover. As they take this acoustic vibe out on the road to promote the release, we were able to grab some time with lead singer Marshal Dutton to discuss the new EP, the tour, small concert venues, and Prince...
Toddstar: Marshal – thanks so much for taking time out of your schedule for us today. Let's talk more about you guys. There is so much going on with Hinder right now - the Stripped EP and the U.S. Tour.
Marshal: Yeah, we just kicked the tour off last night and had our first show. It was really cool. Kind of an intimate show, a bunch of people sitting at tables and just listening. We kind of had a storyteller's kind of deal where they ask questions and we talk and joke. It ended up being close to a two hour show.
Toddstar: That's awesome. Let's look at the Hinder Stripped EP for a minute. It's acoustic. Like you said, kind of a story teller mood for the live show. What made you guys really go back and strip these four tracks from the last album, When The Smoke Clears, and the older track, "Get Stoned"?
Marshal: When we start writing songs, we always write them acoustically. At that particular point, as far as production wise goes, they tend to go anywhere. When we're recording a rock record, there ends up being a lot of rock songs. We really wanted to kind of take some of our favorite songs off that record and strip them down and kind of do different versions of them. Not just acoustic versions of rock songs, but kind of do them in a different way to shed a different light on the songs. We picked some of our favorite songs off that record and then we picked a cover, which was the K's Choice cover. Mainly because we all loved that song and we'd kind of forgotten about it. It seemed to be appropriate for us at the time and we had a really cool version of it so we just went with it. As far as the "Get Stoned" song went, we had already been doing that acoustically out on the road so we kind of had that version going. We thought it'd be cool to record it.
Toddstar: Very cool. You mentioned the K's Choice cover. My first run through listening to the EP, I kept thinking, "I know this song. Why do I know this song?" I pulled out every one of the Hinder CD's and I couldn't find it anywhere and had to look it up. When I think of Hinder, I don't think K's Choice and vice versa. How is that something you guys really draw some inspiration from to be able to record?
Marshal: Like I said, we just always loved that song. It was kind of an obscure song. It was popular for a little while but not a lot of people had heard of it. Not a lot of people remember it. It just seemed like something cool to do.
Toddstar: You guys are out touring. Like you said, it started last night. What's it like for you guys to go out and do these kinds of shows versus the fully plugged, fully electric Hinder show. What's it like for you guys as performers?
Marshal: It's actually really cool. It's a great break for us to kind of get into a different mindset. It kind of forces us out of our normal element of being wrapped in a big show and big rock guitars and loud drums. I kind of forces us to pay attention more. Actually, we play acoustic a lot, just amongst ourselves, so we really enjoy it. It's a neat experience for us to get to do that and have a quieter, more sincere moment here and there throughout the show. We're doing some really cool stuff too where we took a bunch of older Hinder songs across all the records and made a big medley out of them. We're doing a couple other cool covers. We're doing a Prince cover. It's just something really neat for us. We're also doing different versions of some of the other songs. We're playing a song called "Red Tails Lights" that was on All-American Nightmare. We're kind of doing a broke down version of that with a piano. Everybody rotates in and out and plays different instruments. There are a couple songs where Cody plays piano. Mark will play piano. I'll play piano on some things. Cody plays guitar. It's kind of a musical instruments kind of musical chairs version of our set. It's really neat.
Toddstar: That'd be a great show to see. Going back and doing some of these older songs - you're the "new guy", but you've been with the band in one capacity or another since 2009. What's it like for you to go back and do some of those older songs, but specifically the stuff where you kind of helped with the writing and the producing once you guys did Welcome To The Freak Show? Is there anything there for you that you really love playing that you had a hand in, but you weren't the guy that was on the record?
Marshal: Absolutely, man. Like I mentioned, "Red Tail Lights" was one of those songs. I always loved that song. I was involved in the production of that record and actually a number of songs across that record and Welcome To The Freak Show that were doing that I was involved with and I actually sang the original demo to the song in the studio before we recorded it. I'm deeply attached to a lot of those songs so for me to get to perform them is just an extra treat.
Toddstar: You were a co-writer on two of my favorite tracks from that album. I absolutely love "Should've Known Better" and "Wanna Be Rich".
Marshal: We're actually playing "Should've Known Better". That was another song that I loved. That was probably one of my favorite songs off that record and it never got to see much light of day in a live sense so it's really neat to be able to do it acoustically. Mark plays piano on that song. It's a pretty neat version.
Toddstar: With all this stuff, it's cool that you guys released "Get Stoned" with you on vocals. Has there been any talk or any thought of going back and hitting the high points of the Hinder catalog with you on vocals and the band? They're much tighter now than they were back then.
Marshal: That's a debatable thing there. It could go one of two ways. I've had a lot of people hit me up and ask me about that. Like, "I would love to hear you do versions of these songs." But, there's also the potential of backlash. Once you hear something, it's hard to imagine a different guy singing it. That's definitely something we've thought about exploring in the future. Who knows? Time will tell. We're not concentrating on doing that right away, but it may be something we do in the next year or two.
Toddstar: Doing the stripped thing, you guys didn't have a whole lot of writing to do. Where does that put you guys with the next album? Are you guys working on something? Is there something out there kind of churning while you guys are out doing the Stripped Tour?
Marshal: Yeah, man. We already got a really good start on a bunch of new tunes. We're already well into that process. It shouldn't be long. Later, after the summer dies down, I think we're going to play some festival shows over the summer, some carnival dates and stuff like that. After that, we're going to get straight to work on it. We should have it around the later part of the year.
Toddstar: Does the new material build on the sound and the groove of When The Smoke Clears?
Marshal: It's actually a little different. I think some of the tunes are going to be a little heavier. We're going to actually have some poppier stuff as well. It's definitely going to be a different record, I think, than any of the others.
Toddstar: You mentioned heavier. That's something I think your vocals definitely built for. I've been lucky enough to see you front the band. You bring that heavier groove to the music, I think.
Marshal: Cool. Thank you. I was always a fan of that kind of heavier melodic rock. It comes out whether I want it to or not, I think.
Toddstar: You're out on this tour. In just under two weeks you're going to play one of my favorite venues in the world, The Machine Shop in Flint, Michigan.
Toddstar: Hinder has such a love love relationship with the Machine Shop. Machine Shop loves you, you love them, and the Flint fans can never get enough. What's it about the Machine Shop that allows Hinder to have that connection?
Marshal: It's really the people. Not only the people that work there and the owner, they're all great people we love. They're always the best, most accommodating. They're amazing. But the people that come there to hear rock shows are just true rock fans. You know what I mean. Something that's hard to find that level of commitment anywhere else here in 2016. It's a lovely place full of lovely people. I could go there numerous times in a year and not get tired of it.
Toddstar: They'd probably love to see you there that often. When you're playing smaller places like that, especially with this acoustic tour, do you think it lends itself to a smaller venue? A little more intimate, a little more personal?
Marshal: Personally, I like those smaller, more intimate shows anyway. I like club shows better than arena shows and bigger shows just personally because I like the vibe of getting in a room with people and being close and being sweaty in a rock sense. I think that translates easily into what we're going to be doing acoustic as far as the intimacy of it. I think it makes it more personable for the fans and us. It kind of works both ways.
Toddstar: That makes sense. Let's talk about you for a minute, Marshal, let's step back. You're the lead singer of Hinder, and that's cool, but who inspired you to say "This is what I want to do."?
Marshal: I always played music when I was growing up. I grew up in a musical family. My mother was in a singing group. It was always there. All my uncles played guitar. I grew up in that kind of musical sense. When I went to college, I actually majored in music for a while. I really loved it, but I wanted to have something to fall back on so I actually got a degree in something else. When I graduated college, I was so sick of going to school. I'm like, "I'm just going to take some time off." I had a job where I was working as a maintenance guy at an apartment complex. I was making pretty good money. I'm like, I just want to put a band together and play for the summer or for the rest of this year before I get serious and look for a real job. I put a band together and we kind of starting rising in the Dallas scene. We got noticed and the next thing you know we had a deal on the table from Roadrunner with my band Faktion. It just kind of drew me into this whole world of music. Next thing you know, I look up and here we are fourteen years later or whatever and I'm still doing it. I don't even know how that happened. I don't even know that it was completely intentional, but I'm grateful every day that I can still do it.
Toddstar: We've mentioned touring several times. What still inspires you to get out there and do it. Walking away from friends, family, the day to day grind of regular everyday life, it's not an easy task for anybody to do, but you guys do it day in and day out. What inspires you to still get out there and play?
Marshal: It's really just connecting with people and seeing these familiar faces of the fan base that you've developed over a long time, a lot of friends and family, and getting to see the world and then be kind of forced to hang out with your band mates again is a really cool thing. We all get along really well and we have a good time. We're kind of to the point where we're a little older so tour starts coming around we're all like, "Here we go." It doesn't seem as appealing as it used to when we were young kinds. But then as soon as we get out here we remember why we loved it and why we love each other and love hanging out. It's just always a good time. It's rare that you're dying to get off. I love it.
Toddstar: Very cool. We've talked about the K's Choice single. You mentioned you guys are doing a Prince cover in these live shows. If there was a song or two that you would just love to see Hinder put their stamp on and just tear it up or any songs out there that you would just really love to cover?
Marshal: We were actually just talking about recording the version of the Prince song that we're doing right now. We were playing it at practice and a couple people heard it and were like, "Man, we'd really love to hear that on a record." That might be something. We're actually doing "Pussy Control." It's pretty cool. We have all these harmonies going on, like a four-part harmony. It's a really neat version. It's really fun too. Cody raps a verse and then I rap a couple. It's just a lot of fun. That might be something that we could do. As far as recording other artist's songs, there are so many songs I love, but one of my favorite artists is Third Eye Blind so I would love to record one of their songs at some point. I don't know if I could do it justice but I would love to because I'm obsessed with that band.
Toddstar: That's cool though. As far as the "Pussy Control" cover, I've got to hear that. Like you said, that's kind of an obscure song, but that's one that stands out so it's kind of cool.
Marshal: Yeah. We were thinking we've got to do a Prince song but do we really because everybody's already done it to death. All the big songs like "Raspberry Beret" and "Little Red Corvette" and of course everybody's doing "Purple Rain" and "Nothing Compares 2 U"; all those big Prince songs. I was like why don't we do something a little more obscure and more fun, a song that people might have forgotten was actually a Prince song.
Toddstar: Very cool. One final one. I know you're busy. You're out on the road. You gotta get things done. Looking back at what you've done in the music world, if you had to stop and think, what's the one or two things you're most proud of professionally right now, Marshal, with what you've done so far?
Marshal: I think mainly just staying true to what it is that I love to do. I love the music we make with Hinder and the recordings that we've made and I love producing music. I'm proud of all of it. We've produced other artists as well here and there. We just produced a rock band recently and another little country act and I enjoy doing all that. I love writing music. I love performing it. I'm kind of fortunate in the fact that I get to do it all. It's the best of all worlds.
Toddstar: I think you worked on a country artist that I kind of dug her CD - Adley Stump.
Marshal: Yes, I know Adley. I just talked to her recently. She had a new song out. It's pretty cool. I was congratulating her on it. Yeah, we kind of helped her get her start. That's always a great thing to do, help develop other artists. That's something that Cody and I have spent a lot of time doing. I feel like we're pretty good at it so I'm looking forward to doing more of that in the future as well.
Toddstar: You guys are definitely good at it and it's definitely adding to your legacy, Marshal.
Marshal: Thank you.
Toddstar: We truly appreciate you taking the time out for you. Again, I know you're super busy out on the road. Safe travels until you guys make it back to Michigan on June 14th at The Machine Shop.
Marshal: Yeah, absolutely man. We'll have a beer.
Toddstar: Sounds good, brother.
Marshal: Thank you.