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Hooker interview


Interview:

First I would like to thank you for agreeing to this interview about your band, Hooker. As usually I would like to start with questions about your childhood and teen years. Where did you grew up and what were some of the influences on you?

David: I'm From Houston, Texas. I was moved around from Houston to Galveston, as a child. I never lived in one home for more than three years my entire childhood. While staying with my mother in Galveston I saw the Ed Sullivan Show, as he presented The Beatles. I had heard them on the radio already, but seeing them totally did it. I was hooked, and the Beatles were the drug. I had a guitar, a Stella, but never really tried to play, but after seeing the Beatles, I knew that was it. I was eleven years old. I played almost every day.

Robbie: I was born and raised in Tulsa Ok. 1952. Definitely a “boomer”,  pretty ordinary stuff until Elvis came along. I don’t know exactly what it was about him, and not to sound corny, or weird, but that music really crawled up under my skin and lit a fire in me that still burns today. I know I was really young, but his music was everywhere. The biggest influence on me happened when the Beatles hit it big. That focused everyone’s attention on the whole British “invasion” thing of the early ‘60s. The Beatles played cool rock n roll, but there was a flood of other acts like The Yardbirds, Animals, the original Fleetwood Mac, Rolling Stones, and Spencer Davis, that were playing music that was influenced by American blues masters like Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Howlin Wolf, and Robert Johnson to name just a few. Then I realized that Elvis, and Jerry Lee were doing the same thing with Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Fats Domino’s tunes. It seems that everyone was getting fat on these great old tunes except for the guys who wrote them. But without that evolution in the music business, I doubt that today’s music would be what it is. Probably one of the biggest influence’s on me was that Muddy Waters was right when he said “the blues had a baby, and they named the baby Rock and Roll”

Robert: I grew up in beautiful downtown La Porte Texas. (heavy southern draw)   We always had a guitar around the house with one string missing.  I dinked around on that and took lessons, but I wanted to learn surfer music because of the guitar melody.  I was about 9 years old.  I listened to anything on the radio and then came the Beatles and Elvis. Rolling Stones, Dave Clark 5, and a bunch of the 60’s music, Moving Sidewalks, Electric Prunes, 13th Floor Elevators.  Then went to a movie on a Saturday morning with some friends and saw the Wild Angels with Bruce Dern and Peter Fonda and heard Blues Theme (massively distorted boss tone sound), and I said “That’s for me! I want an electric guitar, NOW!”   Then my real influences kicked in with Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad, Randy California from Spirit, and how guitarist started changing music.  When I first heard Jimmie Hendricks I thought what a sound, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhodes, George Lynch… and countless others to follow.    

Were you in any bands before Hooker? Any releases or unreleased material from then?

David: I played the Inferno club, on Richmond Ave. in Houston as house band, for a summer. I can't remember the bands name. We had to quit because the other guys had to go to school. I was 17 at the time and homeless. I met Ted Holly there, and he told me about a blues man he had heard, told me I should give him a listen. It was B.B. King. I've been a B.B. King fan ever since. I later became a Ted Holly Fan, as he became pretty hot around the Houston area. Ted had a GREAT band named "CHERRY". Great band. They would have the crowd in stitches with laughter, and just good entertainment.

Good rock & roll, around 1969.


When in Hollywood California in 1971, I played guitar for the Steve Furgeson Band. I was working at Paramount Recording Studios, (no affiliation with the movie studio) When I joined the Steve Furgeson band, I quit my day job as receptionist at Paramount, a move I later regretted. I thought I was on my way and would never need the little J,O,B! I had never seen this type of scene before. Frank Zappa was in the Studio every day mixing the Apostrophe, and Overnight Sensation Albums. I was hearing all those cuts before they were released. I loved the stuff, because it was a little more melodic than Zappa had usually produced. Billy Preston walked in one day and was angry with me because I didn't recognize him, and would not allow him past the gate. He was so mad, he stepped over the gate, (only 3 feet high) went into the studio, (where Truman Thomas was recording. They both walked out and Truman said, "Hey man, don't you know who Billy Preston is?" Billy Preston said, " Yea man, your white God here wouldn't let me in"!!! I shit. Preston was famous, but I did not know he was practically the fifth Beatle at the time. I really would have died. I talked to Neil Young one afternoon as he was walking into the rehearsal studios next door. "Mr. Young, I have a song some folks have told me sounds a lot like you. ( Ishould have said sounds a lot like something you might want to do), anyway, he just said, "no but good luck anyway. He went ointo the rehearsal building. Later my Girlfriend, Lisa, told me she had just played a game of 8-ball with Neil Young! Those were the days, and I didn't even know it.


Robbie: The first band I played with (that did gigs) was called Sweet Banana, a 3 pc and I was the drummer!  Tommy Lewis on gtr and Wayne Binford on bass. Wayne and Tommy both said I should play bass, cuz I sucked at drums!  I did a bunch of impromtu jam sessions. Played with Billy Gibbons a few times early in 1970 before he released the first ZZ Top album. Jammed with Johnny Winter a million times in the early 70's ( I think everybody did!) No recordings or releases.

Robert: My first band was Rare Breed, toured and recorded some.  This was my first real touring band experience.  I don’t think we ever released anything.  Then I went on to The Pinups and Short Fuse with my good friend Herndon Tukey.  My second touring band was Albatross.   This was a great band with wonderful musicians who could play pop, disco, country, but didn’t really show their talent.  Yet none of these bands released any material.

Hooker was formed around 1972. Tell us, how did you guys came together?


David: I was 19 years old, working in a bowling alley as a mechanic on the pinsetters, when I got a call from Rod Wilkenson, (a very tripped out drummer, who I had earlier rehearsed some original stuff with, but we never gigged anywhere) and he asked me if I wanted to come out to Hollywood California, because they were recording an album, & they needed a guitar player. I quit my job on the spot, and hitch-hiked to L.A. with my girlfriend in tow. When I got there I found he mostly lied just to get me out there, and there were lots of gay folks everywhere. I was from Texas so I was a bit of a novelty to most folks. I would get "say that again" because of my Texas accent. Anyway after six months of almost making it, I didn't, I ended up in Anaheim playing with a band called Joe Bananas, at $25 a night, we were starving, so we rented a car, and loaded our stuff and got back to Houston. After seeing how easy it was for me to write tunes I started looking for something better than that old band from the Inferno club. A childhood friend Rusty Hounsel asked me if I had ever heard these guys that were practicing at this storage unit. I had not & that is when I met Robbie Hodge. Robbie was not the best bass player I had ever heard, but he was a lot better than the one I had. I knew Robbie had the one thing I did not, I needed, and would never succeed without, and that was charisma. He had tons of it. Eveybody followed him around, and would always ask about him, and talk about him, and as you know, you have to have charisma. I asked him to come downtown to some club my old band was playing, and he did, and I asked if he wanted to hook it up and he did. I think the first or second night we started rehearsing on originals. I had some very complicated licks on a song called "war". I knew if he could play these licks, we'd have a go at it. He got them down, so I knew we were going to be working together. I'm surprised at the time we spent trying to be successful. He didn't join my band, I joined his band, it was already called HOOKER at the time. They had better equipment than I did anyway. After a few months Robbie & I knew we had to get a better drummer, and that's when we found Randy. I don't remember how we found him, I just know he was good. Really GOOD! Robbie & I were excited. We laid down some original stuff for him, and he followed so nicely, what a relief, someone can keep the meter!!!

Robbie: I had a friend living on the north side of Houston and Sweet Banana was practicing in his garage. Eisenhower HS was 2 blocks up the street and everyday at 2:30 we would start playing. All the chicks had to pass by, and hey, it was ’72………sweeeeeet! Anyway, one of the girls I met there said she knew this other band in the neighborhood that needed a bass player, so off I went. Tim Cannon, Ronnie Riley, and Bob Armour. We played together for a while and it was during that time that the name Hooker was coined.  I met David Howland while playing with Tim, Ronnie and Bob, and after a series of misfortunes, I left them and got with David, and the name came with me. The first working Hooker line up was: David Howland, guitar/vocals, Robbie Hodge, bass/vocals, and Marc Solmom, drums 

Robert: I met Randy and Robby in 1970 something.  I met Randy when he (with Hooker) came to play with Albatross for a while.  We started jamming with some music, just goofing off.  I knew the brothers in a band called Death Warmed Over (DWO) and we sat in at a show of theirs and played ‘Still I’m Sad’ by Richie Blackmore.  Here is the weird part, I met Randy when he drove up in a Honda Civic, I didn’t know of him yet.  But when he got out I said, “you play a red acrylic set of drums don’t you?” and he said yeah.  And we hit it off.  David showed up at my house one night with a six-pack of beer and some dingy blonde chick.  When a guy shows up at your house with beer and a dingy blonde wanting to talk about putting a band together there is no amount of respect to measure that by.  And I guess I was inducted into Hooker at that moment. 

What are some memories from »basement« jamming together? I read, that first recordings began in 1974 at Rampart Studios under the direction of studio engineer Jeff Wells. Those early demos featured Hooker as a three piece hard rock/blues rock band. Would you like to tell us more about that?

David: There's a cut on the CD. "Beatle" The night I wrote that song, I was, lets say, under the influence a little, and I thought I just had to go record this thing before I forgot it! So off to Jeff Wells studio I went. I called first, he had an open spot right then, lucky for me. Anyway, I think I used a tamborine for the drum track! and maybe just my ax and vocals. I promise you this, This is true, I heard Jeff Wells say to someone in the mixing booth' "Man, this guy is nuts"! I acted like I didn't hear it, he had his mic on but didn't know it was on. God Rest His Soul, Jeff was a little different, but aren't we all. We did record as a three peice, with Dave Hartman, on drums. (Not sure about that name spelling.) I can't remember all the sessions, but I did make some stupid deal with Jeff, for studio time, he'd get 50% publishing. Jeff Wells is the second, third, and fourth time I tried to record "When I finally Get to Heaven". The first time I recorded that song was in Hollywood at Paramount Recording Studios with Rod Wilkenson. I played Lead, overdubbed Bass and slide guitar on that old track. It was a really really bad sounding cut, but hey you gotta learn somewhere. Even Hookers final cut of the song sounds pretty bad to me. I would never allow it to be played anywhere anytime, if I had the control.


Robbie: David and I did a crash course putting the band together with drummer Marc Solman. Weeks rehearsing in a little mini storage, and weeks sitting on the couch in David’s apt. When we felt confident enough, we  went over to Jeff’s place and laid down some tracks. Mostly to see if what we were doing was as good as we thought it was, and then, to try to put together a decent demo to try to get some paying gigs. I remember that Jeff was as new as we were, and his studio was only 4 track at the time . I think we were one of his 1st paying customers, and we all had a gas. I have always loved the process of learning things together. It’s always been my opinion that people who learn together, grow together as well, and that is a bond that is hard to break.     

Robert: I went into ACA Studios with a three peice tape and added my guitar track.  I remember David came in behind me and added a little more grunge to it.   The best version of ''I'm Look'in''  was born in that studio and we can't find it anywhere.  Some of the best things we put together were in the garage.  I added a little harder edge which is what I thought it needed.  They had a Texas/blues sound and I put the hard rock/distorion/push the tempo into it.  I wanted to pull the best out of every member.  David turned out to be one of the best writer/guitarist I ever played with.  Robbie had a philosophy about bass which was and  still  is ''Where's the low end, man?!''  He had noticable fret wear on his E and A strings.  His G and D didn't have any.   This attributed to his keeping the low end down.  When he played on the higher strings he didn't make a steady diet of it and it was noticable.  Randy was the most awesome drummer ever.  There were other drummers out there, but they were into jazz and stuff like that.  Randy would take their idea and make into one of the most amazing rock licks. He also believed in simplicity.  One of my favorite licks he plays is a flam between both kicks and his two floor toms in as many notes as he can into the count of one.  All of us togther, being very good musicans,  worked very well together.  A four peice band with a single mind.

Later your sound changed due the lineup changes. Robert Hampton in place of Tim Cannon on lead/rhythm guitar. You started playing in clubs around Texas. What was the scene back then?

David: First of all, Hooker, with Tim, Randy, David & Robbie, was a party band, we drank whiskey, & smoked pot, at every practice, and the crowds just started gathering. Of course we started performing instead of practicing, but it served to tighten up the band. One day out of the blue, Randy told me and Robbie, that he knew a guitar player, and that he was going to be working with him, and if I & Robbie wanted to come along, he thought we would make a really good band. Robbie & I were good friends with Tim Cannon, and we were devistated, but we knew how good Randy was as a drummer, and we did not want to lose him, so it was we're sorry Tim, but...SO, the real shit is I had even stayed with Tim for a couple of months against his girlfriends wished, and I felt bad about the whole thing, but what are you going to do. It reminds me of (Scott)the drummer Robbie, Tim, & I fired when we found Randy. He was so pissed about it, he found Robbie & I, at Tims' place, (Tim wasn't there) and told Robbie & I, "Robbie, you're chicken, and David, you're shit! Of course at the time Robbie & I were like, "Oh come on Scott it's a proffessional thing, man, don't be like this, but later we laughed about it. Back to your question, the scene back then? Tim, Robbie, & I, and whoever was on drums, was playing a very little place, called the JOINT! No kidding. No stage, we just sat up in the corner, and played. We packed the place....I think it held 25 people! Hey we thought it was fun & it was, Until one night some ass hole stole my guitar. Somebody found it the next day in the pawn shop about a quarter mile down the road. The pawnbroker knew he was busted for buying stolen goods, but somehow he still managed to get $25 out of me to get my ax back. I didn't have a receipt, but everybody knew it was my ax. When HOOKER played it's first gig with Robert Hampton in the band things began to change. Robert didn't tell anybody, but when we got to the gig, he started with Where's the dressing room? Dressing room? I never changed clothes to play a gig before, but I didn't want him to know that. Immediately I started scrounging for something to where, "on stage". OH SHIT is he putting on eye liner? Man I ain't doin' that shit! I was from more of a bikers format of musician/hippie, if you get my drift. Anyway, we started playing, and it worked. We were asked to return to, Matagorda Texas, Randy Williams father owned the bar, I can't remember the clubs name, but we returned, and we knew they loved us. We were really going to blow the roof off the place now, and we really did. Before we took the stage the place was packed. We had our opening set ready and we kicked it off with kick ass Rock & Roll, the only problem was thirty seconds into the first tune, people started walking out. The club owner came over by the band stand and was franticly sawing at his neck to shut it down, the sound man was running back & forth from the mixer to the stage, of course we were so involved in kicking everybodys ass with this kick ass rock & roll, that we didn't realize that almost the entire club had walked out! what the hell, man? What's going on here? well, the sub woofers were out, no mids either. We had plenty of high end. I think they could hear the cymbals, and that was probably all they could hear. By the time we got it all fixed we had a couple of tables left, but man,. you talk about taking the wind out of your sails...that did it. We loved playing down there though, it was like a tropical island or something.

Robbie: On the road in Texas from '77-'80?  It was completely off the chain! To paraphrase Arlo Guthrie, if Texas were Alice's Restaurant, then we got everything we wanted.....including Alice! It was fast and loose. It was a gas!

Robert: Clubs in the local area that wanted bands to play 5 and 6 nights in a row wanted them to play cover tunes, so I suggested that the band throw in some cover tunes.  And we did them very well.   We had a whole set of country, party country, and a whole set of blues and party blues.  Fun stuff, no cry in your beer crap.  We 110 songs in our list.  John Bloomstrom (?spelling) was a booking agent for American Bands Management.  He had us on what we called the 'Bloomstrom trail'.  For instance, on week we would play in Columbus MI., and then the next in El Paso Tx.  We didn't care, we just wanted to play.  And when Hooker came to town everybody knew it was time to party. 

In 1978 you recorded at least eight tracks, included in really nice Shroom Angel Records, which also included one track from 1975 and one from 1979. Please tell us what are some of the strongest memories from producing and recording this tracks?

David: I guess your asking about "When I Finally Get To Heaven". This is the first song I had ever seriously wrote with the intention of selling records. It's been recorded four or five times. The strongest memories I would say would be from Inergy Studios, when I decided to help out as far as photos of the band were concerned. I thought that if we took this old sixteen track master tape I brought back from Hollywood with me, and unrolled it, and let it lay about the engineering room and the two sixteen track machines that were in there, that we could scare the crap out of Dave,(the engineer). He was on break, and when he got off his coffee break, or whatever, I told him, before he entered the room, "er ah Dave, I was just trying to playback a little of this tune and the tape machine did some kind of backlash, and the tape went everywhere. (and we had strung it everywhere) He freaked out for a second or two, and we told him immediately what the truth was. It was a good laugh. We took photos of it, then we took all that tape outside, ( I don't know why) and took more stupid looking photos. Four guys and a half mile of 2 inch tape! Not very interesting. The old tape was just an old test tape that Roger Dollarhide gave me when I was working at Paramount Recording Studios in L.A. It really was of no musical value, it had splices all through it. And I had grown tired of lugging it around with me everywhere I went. In those days I never knew where I was going to sleep one night to the next.

Robbie: Actually, we only recorded 5 songs in 78 at ACA studios, but of those 5, 3 made it onto this album and CD. I'm Lookin', Downhearted and When I finally Get To Heaven. We recorded the rest of the tunes at Energi Studios. There were 2 ballads that, for reasons known only to those who put the final product together, were not included. I Love My Friends, and Phone Call. I have always felt that either of those 2 songs could have broken Hooker into the mainstream back in '80. The strongest memories I have about the Energi sessions was the excitement about finally getting to record for real, and the disappointment in not having any input in the post production / mix down process. 

Robert: When recording  Beatle, Mr, Kickerillo, owner of Energy Studios, came in to check us out with his two VERY HOT daughters.  They were a very Christian family.  They thought that the song was very nice as the first line was 'Thank you Jesus in the sky'.  The second line ' I'm drinking whiskey, don't know why', (oops), Lord, that LSD gets me high' (OOPS).  WEEEEELLLLL, that left a rather different impression on Mr. Kickerillo.  But you to understand the time frame back then.  It was the 70's.  


How do you feel about the fact, the whole compilation/album came out on Shroom Angel Records after all this years? Do you like it?

David: Let Me just say Thank you to Rich Patz, he is the man. I don't know why he made all this happen, but he made four old dude very, very happy. Our life long dream finally come to light!?!?! yea, we love it.

The key here is after all these years. That's reason to say yeehaw! I am not a singer, and never was, but like most folks that end up in front of a microphone, started singing in church as a little kid. 6 years old or there abouts. It just evolved like, somebody has got to sing, and so I always volunteered. My Mom and stepdad in Galveston loved it when I would play guitar and sing House of the rising sun, and/or twist & shout, Beatles version. When I was in the sixth grade, I entered a talent contest, borrowed a Beatles wig, and played Twist & Shout, when I heard all them little girls scream, (as if I were, well you know,) I was hooked. ON the CD, the song I think I like the most is Mister Sister. I wrote that song for Robert Hampton. It was the only time I ever had a title first. I had to write the song around the title. Robert always carries a purse, (manbag) whatever, and it just came into my mind. I didn't want him to feel like  was calling him a name or anything like that so I never told him that he was my insiration for the song. I like it because it sounds more commercial than anything else of ours. It also has the fewest off keys vocal notes than any other song on the CD. I think.

I can say that I was trying to avoid singing flat so I would sing a little sharp intentionally, so I wouldn't be flat, and that sounded even worse. Get a singer, you guys! But we never did.

Robbie: I really love the fact that our music has finally been made available to the public for the first time, and I really love Richard Patz' commitment to bringing all of the great Texas music of our day to the people as well. Thanks again Rich!


Robert: Do I like it?  I'm the one who spent years collecting it and putting it together.  I spent countless hours in the studio after work with Karim at Magik Studios remixing and mastering every song.  I even found four of the two inch 24 track reels with the help of Sugar Hill and Sound Arts Studios.  They baked the reels so they could be transfered to wave files.  I used modern technology with the help of Pro Tools HD.  I didn't want to change things too much, I wanted the feel of the  70's but with the enhancements of today.  I really did not cheat on the vocals or guitar as much as I wanted to.  I left it with the original tracks. Thanks to Richard Patz at Shroom Angel Records for finally getting this out.  I was blown away with the logo of the H guitar, which I still own to this day.  That was the first guitar I ever made. 

I once saw you were a fan of Tin House. I'm asking you this, because in a few days I will be publishing an interview with them. What are some other bands you liked?

David: I guess I should apologize right off to TIN HOUSE. I have never heard of them, and I'll give them a listen as soon as I can get time to You Tube the guys. I don't listen to a lot of other acts, because it's hard to hear how bad you suck, or how good everybody else is. I'm sure these guys are a fantastic group. I never got into grunge, and really I started getting away from rock when AC/DC came out with a song called Highway To Hell. I pretty much cashed it in that day. I don't want on that highway. What if there really was a Hell. Eternity? What the...I just freaked a little, acid will do that to you. You ever see demons coming out of your speakerbox? Oh well that's another interview, with a doctor. Bands I like? The Eagles, Did I mention The Beatles, my all time favorite. My favorite LP is "Songs In The Key Of Life" by Stevie Wonder. The man is a musical genius, no doubt. It's better than anything the Beatles have put out, it was just a freak thing that album. It possessed me for years, people would be angry with me because I wouldn't stop playing it. I couldn't get enough of "Songs In The Key Of Life"! I still Love it. Steely Dan, Queen, Divo, The Steve Miller Band, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Steve Winwood, Blind Faith, Blood Sweat & Tears, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, Joplin, BUT!!!! I did not like The Grateful Dead. I thought there was something wrong with me, but I figured it out, they just didn't sound that good.

Robbie: I only knew of Tin House from Robert Hampton doing a cover of their song 'I want Your Body' in the post Hooker band, Stallionz. Influences? Led Zeppelin would have to be the 900 lb gorilla of my list. I mean, c'mon......John Paul Jones? I have always been a big fan of Trapeze, Glen Hughes in particular and Grand Funk Railroad (3 pc.), Mel Schacher had a big impact on me as a bass player.

Robert: I liked them.  My favorite song was 'I want your body'.  One of my favorite local bands was Zero Stone.  They also played oringals and covers.  But there is a long list of other bands, top touring types, that I liked.  I favor Ozzy and Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Grand Funk Railroad.  The list goes on. 

Did you toured with bands like Ultra etc?

David: No we didn't really "tour". We played clubs, some B curcuit, some C. We did some concerts that really made us feel good. We had a bus or two, we traveled around, and there are some stories, if them busses could talk. The whole band went to jail! We crossed the state line from Alabama to Louisiana when we got pulled over. It seem that they heard about the case of oil the drummer took from the store we had stopped at when we needed gas. There wasn't anybody there! We hollered and yelled, and nobady showed for the longest time. Finally, being rockers, we needed an extra pack of smokes, and I could go for some Fritos, surely they won't miss one little bag, then here he comes with that full case of oil! Oh man! So we got out of there and we thought we were home free when we crossed the state line, but nope! And some strange things occured while we were being booked. One of the roadies asked if he could talk to them in private! I never did find out what that was all about. We made it back to Houston with about $2.

Robert: We didn't really play with other bands or head line or follow.  We were the band for that night in places like A rooms.  We played places that held 1000 people or more and as small as 500.  What made the touring fun, memorable, were the antics, women, the drugs, booze, rock and roll, the fans.  Hooker would party with the fans, we would hang with them and we never held ourselves above the public.  I usually drove the bus but we did take turns.  But I would get this 'great idea'  to pull off to a road side bbq.  The result was usually rather dangerous, and the band decided not to listen to my suggestions anymore. 

Any particular memories you would like to share, that happened to you in a band?


David: The breakup was my fault and my fault alone. I got totally wasted, drunk, on the most important gig of the bands career. I can never blame them for kicking me out of HOOKER. I blew it, and please allow me to publicly apologize to the rest of the band members here and now. I've kicked myself in the ass for years over this.



What happened was we were booked for a seven nighter at one club, and on the 8th night at Cardies, in Houston, & we were to play for the people who were going to make HOOKER, and put us on the map. I had drank too much every night, but on the 7th night, I really got shit faced and on the final night, at Cardies, I told everybody in the band, I was sick, and I was, I had alcohol poisoning, but didn't know it at the time. I pleaded with the guys, just let me get some of the hair of the dog. They were not happy with me and we had not even set up yet. I was too sick & too weak to help, everybody was getting pissed at me. They had the right. I had not held up my end of the deal. It was all happening a little too fast. I snuck out the side door, went to a cafe, and ordered a couple of beers and downed them, I really didn't feel better, so I went back to the club and ordered a kamakazi. The Kamakazi was the drink that had filled my liver all week. I thought that if I could just get myself to feeling not sick, we could pull it off. Then the soundmans sister came up to me and asked me to play one of our tunes, and I told her if she would get me a kamakazi, I'd do it. Well, she brought me a tall glass full, and I figured that should get me to feeling well. Later, all I remember is the drums stopping, and all three of my bandmates were walking off the stage, leaving me there playing by myself. I saw people dancing so I thought I'd better keep playing, so I tried to improvise a little jam thing, but I could tell I had been pulled completely out of the house. I didn't know that I had shifted from one song to another right in the middle of the song! I remember throwing my guitar to a roadie standing in the back because I thought If they're going to cut me out of the house I'm just not going play. Then there was me, on the dance floor, putting on a SHOW? I don't know what the hell I was doing, but I remember apologizing to a young lady who I hit on the side of her head with thew microphone while swinging around the top of my head. These are only the horrid details I remember, I'm sure it got much worse. We were packing up and the club owner said you guys are welcome back but that guy can never come in my club again. As we were packing up, I was told, "Don't put your stuff with ours, you're not in the band, that's it. The problem was I had been staying with Robert Hampton, and this left me on the street. Well, I had a keyboard and my guitar, a gig bag and some opther stuff I drug out to the side of the road. I didn't know where I was going to hitch-hike to, I was just going to hitch out of there. So, I'm standing on the side of the road about a block from Cardies, when somebody stops. It's the bands bus, with Robbie driving, and Randy riding. Robert had already gone home I guess. Robbie opens the door, looks at me and says, "well"? As I started to pick up my gear and get on the bus, he slammed the door and drove off. Randy hung his head out the door, and yelled, "Hollywood is that way, asshole". So, I dragged my stuff back to the rear of the club, after trying to hitch for about an hour, ( I even called Roberts wife) nope! I slept under the back steps of the club that night, called my long time pal and soundman Billy Teague, and he came got me. I couldn't blame the guys. I screwed up big time, and I probably would have done the same thing. What really surprised me was, after a few months went by they were still playing MY songs, using singers that were willing to learn someone elses originals, and they never told me until a few years ago. I guess it goes to show how much faith Robbie had in my songs. I've had to live with this for many years. Out of all the drugs, alcohol is definitely the worst.


Robbie:  Oh lord.......You know, I've decided to write a memoir about our time together in Hooker, and there are literally a thousand great stories surrounding this band, I wouldn't know where to begin.


Robert: Well there was this one time, at band camp... no seriously.  We had one of those huge comical syringes and during one of Randy's drum solos we pretended to 'shoot' him up so he could finish the set.  In reference to question 9, we stopped at a road side bbq which gave everybody explosive diarrhea.  (PULL OVER!! NOW!!)  OH! The fireworks, so we traveled at night because it's cooler.  So I would be driving and while everyone is asleep I would light a firecracker and through it on the floor. BANG! The reactions were priceless.  I'm lucky to still be alive.  So I'm driving down this long dark endless highway.  You know, the area where there is no local radio but Christian talk radio.  I lit up a whole pack of jumping jacks and throught them out the window  and watch them spin and light up in different colors.  I got bored.  I needed a distraction.  OOOO Pretty.  Robbie took a Co2 canister from the club and dragged it across the street to the hotel and proceeded to attack band members.  He blew the bed sheets off all the beds.  He went into the bathroom and caught Xeno with chick and completely blew the shower curtain off the rod.  He was so drunk, and that air was freezing!  He went to the pool and motorboated around.  He had the band money in his pocket and it floated on the water and some kid comes up and asks if it was ours.   Next thing we see is the water littered with cash.  And we weren't alone, as this guy we couldn't see traveled with us. We called him MURPHY.  You know him.  He has a law.  So he would show up usually about the time we are just 10 miles or so outside of the next town and conviently make something go wrong with the bus.  Battery goes dead, low tire or flat, no gas.  No matter, it happened more than once. 


Why did you choose the name »Hooker«?

David: Robbie Hodge named the Band HOOKER right before I showed up on the scene. I never really liked the name but I had no better choices so I went with it. Songs, good songs do have what is called a hook. It can be a melody line or a guitar riff, but most all good tunes have a hook, so that fact kept me quiet about not liking the name. It sounded too dirty, but it was rock & roll, and I always knew it could be changed, and it did get changed a few times.


Robbie: I have always said that there really wasn't any particlur reason in the beginning, only that it sounded cool and would probably help us secure the services of an 'easier' class of women.....I know there are several stories circulating about how the name came about, you'll just have to ask seek them out. I will neither confirm nor deny any of them ;)

Robert: That was all Robbie.  It was hard to explain to my Grandmother. 

What happened after Hooker and what are you currently up to?

David: After HOOKER, I had to wake up, realize I was, and had been, just a homeless bum. Yea, I could play, but when your band puts every dime into better equipment, you can't make a living at music. Even if you're good enough to make much money, you have to have financial support. You can't do it sleeping on your buddys sofa until times get better. You can't quit your day job. Now I make a pretty good living and I'll never give up my day job to go on the road. I have an IRA, medical ins. and I'm on a weeks PAID vacation right now. I wonder how the rest of the guys are doing. I know Robbie was doing really good, but he just got laid off. I hope the best for him. Robert is in all sorts of stuff, and I think he'll always land on his feet. I don't know where that damned drummer is!!!!

Robbie: I spent some time with Gary St. Kelly and toured around Canada from '85 and '86, then formed a cover band in '87 with Robert Hampton and Michael Harmon called King of Hearts. Hampton quit and Mike and I played together for about 3 yrs. I owned and operated a sound company called AVL in Houston until '97, when my wife and I decided to move to Jacksonville Fl. where I live today. I am currently playing with River City Bluez, and lovin life. 

Robert: I put a band together called Stallionz.  We lost members one by one and I replaced them with a memeber from Hooker and before I knew it Hooker was back together under the name Half Crazy.  But people recognized us so we went back to Hooker.  That lasted about another year.  Then there was Tracer, and  then Speed Limit with Benny Means, then St. Kelly, then Eyes, then Belladonna.  Mike Conde was just a kid then but a rippin guitar player and what a voice.  Still is.  Belladonna was a band set apart from any other I was in.  The music was before its time. Then there was Bad Nasty.  Now I play with a group called Spy Dust.  We play locally.  Covers.  I'm also working with August Music owned by Mary Minter.  I convinced the drummer, Mel Gilmore,  from Spy Dust to work with me and with Mary's husband Paul, who plays bass. I have worked handy man jobs, spent years in various stores repairing guitars.  It was not too long ago that I decided to go solo and have my own repair shop and also teach.  I have been teaching guitar for over 26 years.  I like being my own boss and the control of my own schedule.  I have learned dedication, self-management, and how to keep the customer happy.  I absolutly love my job.  Eh, it pays the bills.  Want to know more? See Dr of Guitar.com.

Thank you for answering a few questions regarding your excelent band! Would you like to send a message to It's Psychedelic Baby readers?

David: Oh yea, if any of you have listened to any of the cuts on the CD from HOOKER, I'd just like to say thank you, I hope the tunes are not too outdated, I wrote a lot of the stuff, but I never did any of it alone. In this world, it's all about LOVE. Or that's what we were trying to say in the late 60's early 70's, era. Thanks to Klemen for the interview, I hope I didn't blab on too much. You've got a very cool magazine. Rock On all you psychedelic babies!!!!!! A special Thanks to Rich Patz.

all my love;     
David Howland    5-09-2012


Robbie: It has been my pleasure, Klemen, and thanks for the opportunity to speak to all your fans.....In closing I can only offer this about our belated release:
What follows on this CD, is a “snapshot” of the bands musical endeavors during our most productive period, 1979 through 1983.
For all of the people who were a part of an unforgettable time in our lives, we thank you. This disc is as much for you as it is for us.
For everyone who will be hearing us for the first time, we hope you will enjoy our music. It was always about getting people to have a good time,
We damn sure did!

Hooker

Robert: This music is probably the most fun I have ever played.  I still love every member of the band like brothers.  When we walked on stage we were untouchable.  I'm really honored that the release of this music after 30 years

















Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2012
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/ 2012

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