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I got a chance to hook up with The Hunger after they played a set for the San Jacinto College Music Production class. The did the show to help teach the students what it's like to put on a real concert, from booking and prep to setting up and performance. It was really a class move by the band. Here's what we talked about after the show....
Samuel Barker: What are your names and what do you do?
Max: Hi, I'm Max, I respirate. I'm the drummer.
Jeff: My name is Jeff, I play the guitar, keyboards, and sing.
Darren: My name is Darren and I play bass
Thomas: My name is Thomas, I play keyboards and I sing.
Samuel: What's the story behind tonight's show?
Thomas: It's like Jeff said from the stage, we were approached by Les (San Jacinto's Music Production Director) about it and we were intrigued by the idea. And secondly we decided it'd be good to give back a little instead of always taking. We talked about it and decided, yes, we'd like to do the school, Les, and everyone the favor in a lot of way we did. We did it for a fraction of what we normally make. It's not about the money, we did it for the school and gave a little bit back.
Max: Plus, Darren went to school here.
Darren: Yeah, I'm the alumnist.
Jeff: You have to graduate to be an alumnist!
Darren: Well, I went to school here.
Thomas: He was the link that brought everything together.
Samuel: Is the first time you guys have done a charity show like this?
Thomas: No, we've done some charity stuff in the past. You get so wrapped up in touring and selling records that it's easy to become a machine. The opportunity presented itself and we took it. We hope to more in the future.
Samuel: Was it refreshing tonight to have a smaller show?
Thomas: I had a lot fun, except for the monitor problems. You couldn't have asked for a better crowd, they were energetic, they paid attention, what more could you have asked for?
Samuel: Was the new album on your label?
Max: So far.
Samuel: Do you have any other bands on you label?
Jeff: One! We have Isosceles Popcicle.
Samuel: Are you looking to keep expanding the label with other bands?
Thomas: Ultimately that's what we want to do. We would like to get the Hunger to the next level and start making some money then we could sign some other bands.
Samuel: Well, ideally?
Thomas: Ideally, yes.
Jeff: The idea of running a record label for us isn't something new. For us it's something more of a challenge, it's something we really like to do and with the proper backing we could really well. That's the end of that. We could do a lot of bands justice and not do to them what the music industry has done to a lot of other bands, which is shred them up and throw them out the door.
Max: Well said, well spoken.
Jeff: The music business isn't very kind.
Max: Yeah, I get tired of sleeping with so many different girls and the drugs and the alcohol. Sometime I have get up right at the crack of noon, and that sucks.
Jeff: For the record, the hardest thing this guy has ever drank is Amaretto or Malibu.
Max: You're ruining my front man!
Samuel: Was it nice getting here on your own terms, by doing the first albums through your own label and independents.
Max: Well, I don't know if you know this, this new one is our fifth album and the third and fourth were on Universal.
Thomas: It was good to help us learn the business from the inside. If you're going to make your own records and distribute them you have to learn the business. When we finally did get with a major label it helped us understand everything better.
Jeff: Universal actually bought our first national album from us. We had self-produced everything on that album from the artwork, everything about that record was from us. Universal was like "Hey guys we really like this record, here's a check."
Max: Then they put their stamp on it.
Jeff: For us that was the beginning of a huge growing experience. So now we're trying to do what they do, only better.
Samuel: So having your own label helped you understand what they were throwing at you?
Jeff: Yeah, we knew when they cutting corners and being cheesy, screwing us you might say. We knew when they were doing it, which I don't know if that's a good thing, but it's better to know than not know in my opinion. We can push and prod and yell and scream like kids do. Sometimes it worked, but hey, it's business, they know it.
Bystander: Do you guys have your own production company?
Thomas: We found it was more cost efficient to not get involved with production.
Samuel: Coming from all the independent things, was it kinda amazing when "Vanishing Cream" took off to number four on the charts?
Max: (in hick voice) It was pretty neat!
Thomas: It was like a whirlwind, it happened pretty quickly. The next thing you know, coast to coast people are spinning your record. The phone is lighting up and they're wanting you to play everywhere and you can't be everywhere at once.
Jeff: And they book you so that you're on the road for 5 months straight and you can't go home. Life has a strange way of biting you in the butt. Everything you've always wanted, when it's given to you, it's more than you can handle.
Thomas: Be careful what you wish for, because when it happens and you're not prepared for it, you'll shit.
Jeff: The only thing was we were right there on the edge and we fell off, but that's okay, we'll be back.
Samuel: You guys put on a very energetic show, was it hard to keep that up every night for so long?
Max: Hell no.
Jeff: We built up muscles we didn't have before. For us, it became nothing.
Max: That's like anything athletic, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Jeff: We played five shows a week.
Max: That's what we pride outselves on, we played a lot of festivals with anyone from The Foo Fighters to the Deftones. Just name it...
Max: Yeah, we played with about every band you can think of between '96-'98 and we just wanted to smoke them. We had the motivation, so when you have that it's easy not to get tired.
Samuel: Is that the thing, there is a lot of competition on the road trying to put on a better show than the other person?
Max: Hell yes, we want to kick everyones ass.
Jeff: Backstage, it's not like 'Hey man, how are you doing?', it's more like 'watch your back'
Thomas: Not really, some of the bands were friendly.
Jeff: I didn't mean they weren't friendly, but no one wants to be shone up by the other band.
Samuel: So it's like even though you're friendly, there is still a friendly competition?
Jeff: Oh yeah, absolutely. When we were on tour with Kiss I found myself, I didn't know it, but Paul Stanley does this 70s way of announcing songs and I started doing it. Thomas looked at me and was like "Dude, you're doing Paul Stanley."
Samuel: Do you have anything coming up?
Max: I have a shower pretty soon.
Jeff: We'll have some shows in the near future.
Samuel: Anything you'd like to add?
Jeff: Check out our records.
Max: Check out our website. We have some cool pictures on there and stuff.
Jeff: thehungeronline.com. We like to organize street teams. We have a section on the website about street teams. If you want to help the band and work with us. We don't expect you to go out everyday, but if we have an upcoming show you can help us out to promote it, in return we try to do nice things for the street team.
Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.