In the world of rock n’ roll, many bands get taken advantage of by management, by their record label or by unscrupulous promoters. As artists rather than business people, some go into the industry blind and never recover. Hinder founding member and drummer Cody Hanson had a leg up on most. Before he ever stepped on stage or in the studio, Hanson studied business and marketing.
“I have always been business oriented. I approached everything coming into the band from a business perspective,” says Hanson. “You have to build a brand, not just a band.”
Hinder has been playing and touring for more than fifteen years, an eternity in the fickle world of rock n’ roll. It is their business approach, coupled with a tremendous amount of talent and a seemingly bottomless spring of work ethic that has played a key role in the band’s success and longevity.
Hinder’s debut album, Extreme Behavior, a solid mix of guitar rock fused with infectious pop hooks, sold more than 3.5 million copies. Multiple singles including Lips of An Angel, Get Stoned and Bliss became radio staples. The band quickly earned a reputation as fan-friendly.
Tours and more successful albums followed. Hinder typically went from the road to the studio and back to the road again. To the hard-working young men from Oklahoma even that wasn’t enough. At one point the band actually installed a recording studio on their tour bus so they could continue song writing and recording on the road.
Asked at what point he knew he was in the music business for good, Hanson laughs and says, “I don’t know if you are ever in for good in the music industry. It can really change quick.”
Indeed, some things have changed for Hinder. On a recent tour stop in Washington DC the band played a weeknight gig at The U Street Music Hall. The venue is small. The stage is small. On this particular night Hinder found themselves playing to an audience considerably smaller than their arena crowds of yesteryear.
Hinder’s core audience is now in the 30-35 age bracket. That’s the age of having young children and early wake up calls for the work week. It is the age that makes it tougher to get out to a rock n roll show on a Wednesday night.
Based on their performance however, apparently none of this discouraged the band. There wasn’t a hint of anything other than excitement from the stage. Small venue? No problem. Lead singer Marshal Dutton took the band’s fan friendly attitude to another level, jumping into the front row and taking selfies with fans. He even took one woman’s phone, gave her the microphone mid-song and recorded her singing the chorus.
The music was great. If you like Hinder you got your money’s worth at the DC show. They play tight, each clearly knowing where the next is headed at any given moment, something only honed from great musicians playing for years together.
The music industry has changed considerably since the band burst on the scene in 2005. Not only has radio become less of a vehicle for success, streaming has all but replaced music sales, severely cutting into any group’s revenue. How then does a band like Hinder measure success moving forward? Hanson grins and says, “A band like us is still trying to figure that out.” He points out that they are free of any record label right now. There was a time when that could be the death knell for a band. Not today, and certainly not for Hinder. They own their own recording studio. They constantly write music. They produce music, not only for themselves but for a stable of other bands. Most importantly, they have a loyal core of fans.
Hanson says, “We’re the kind of group of guys that think we can figure anything out.”
Maybe so and they and their fans are having a great time as they do exactly that.