Hootie & The Blowfish would like to make one thing clear: They never really “broke up.” A turn that dramatic would have been fundamentally at odds with the quartet’s image (though they’d likely be loathe to call it that) -- four genial South Carolina guys who stumbled into mega-stardom while playing music purely for the love of it, only quitting touring in 2008 when amphitheater gigs had shrunk into shows at casinos and 4-H Club fairs.
They’re still really, genuinely friends, they insist, 34 years after guitarist Mark Bryan first heard frontman Darius Rucker singing a Billy Joel song in the shared bathroom of their University of South Carolina dormitory -- longevity that’s almost as remarkable as releasing one of the 10 highest-selling albums in RIAA history.
That’s not to say things haven’t changed. “It’s different than the old days,” says drummer Jim “Soni” Sonefeld. “When we went out to do the first record, we just spent six weeks in Los Angeles, basically living at the studio. There wasn’t a worry in the world. Fast-forward to kids and life and everything ... to find even three or four days to set aside was difficult.”