Over the past four years, Darius Rucker has established himself as one of country’s top male vocalists. But of course he does have a famous past — as frontman of one of rock’s biggest acts of the 1990s, Hootie & The Blowfish. With Rucker’s success in country, is there a future for the South Carolina band? The singer tells Billboard that his old group will return, someday, but for now country is his priority.
“There’s one more Hootie record and tour that we’re going to do,” he says. “I don’t know when, because country music is my day job — it’s what I want to do.”
What might surprise some fans is that the band still plays together — albeit at a less frequent pace. “We’ll probably always be a band. We’ve got two shows in August, we do about four or five dates a year. We’ll do another album and tour for a year, then I’ll be right back to this music.”
He says it’s an interesting dynamic when his friends and touring partners start talking about Hootie’s impact — such as Lady Antebellum, who Rucker has toured with in 2012. “It’s amazing to me. When Charles Kelley and I first met, he sent me a video of him at thirteen with his brother Josh and one of their friends, and they’re playing ‘Hold My Hand.’ The first thing that Ketch Secor from Old Crow Medicine Show told me when we met was ‘I told my sister you were doing my song (“Wagon Wheel”), and she said ‘no way,’ because that record was so big in our house. She just didn’t believe it.”
The singer thinks if Hootie & The Blowfish made their debut now — things might be different, genre-wise. “I think if we came out today, we would have to change the instrumentation on a few songs and rewrite a few songs,” he says.” We’d have to be a country band today. I thought we were as close to country music as you could be then. That’s why I thought when I started doing my country records that I wasn’t doing anything different.”
That being said, Rucker believe that many of his current fans likely have “Cracked Rear View,” Hootie’s breakthrough album, in their collections. “I think a lot of people who have listened to Hootie & The Blowfish back in the ’90s have migrated to country music now, so that doesn’t surprise me at all.”