Hootie & the Blowfish: Yet Another Worship Temple

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Tiger Blows Off Hootie

Tiger and Hootie? Maybe some other time. Tiger Woods, the hottest young golfer, won't be paired with rock group Hootie and The Blowfish after all at a charity golf outing. Woods was supposed to play in the Columbia event sponsored by the band on April 14, the Monday after the Masters tournament. But Woods won't be able to make it, band manager Rusty Harmon said Friday. "We look forward to his participation in the future."


Successful Band With Silly Name

Hootie and the Blowfish doesn't give a hoot that the band's latest album isn't burning up the charts like the top-selling "Cracked Rear View".

"We're very happy with the new album, Fairweather Johnson, and not really concerned with how many it sells," guitarist Mark Bryan said. If the band worried about sales all the time, "it would drive you crazy," Bryan said. "We just go back to what we started the band on - being good friends and playing together."

The four musicians met at the University of South Carolina and played together in Columbia, S.C., for years before landing a major-label deal with hits like "Hold My Hand" and "Only Wanna Be With You."


Hootie Makes Charity Happy, Breaks Scalpers' Hearts

Hootie & the Blowfish are endowing a music scholarship with the help of some ticket scalpers. The band was left with an unexpected windfall after it learned that tickets to two concerts last weekend were withheld from public sale and scalped. Hootie voided the tickets to the first 10 rows and resold them. But only 135 of the 518 original tickets were returned for a face-value refund, leaving the band with a profit. The band made a $10,000 donation to the State University of New York-Stony Brook to endow the scholarship. The band chose Stony Brook, a publicly supported school, because they went to a public college, the University of South Carolina, manager Rusty Harmon said Tuesday. They picked a Long Island school because the concerts were at Jones Beach, which is on the island.


Man Claims Credit For Early Hootie Work

A man who says he knew Hootie and the Blowfish when nobody else did claims he's entitled to a cut of the now best-selling band's fortune. Henry Neuman of New York is suing the pop band, its general manager and its lawyer for $150 million US. The band, in a news release, said Neuman's claim has no merit. Manager Russell Harmon refused to discuss details. Neuman says he was the band's manager when it released its 1992 short album, Kootchypop, which contains early versions of some of Hootie's biggest hits, including Hold My Hand, and Only Wanna Be With You. Kootchypop, which attracted larger labels and propelled the group to stardom, listed Harmon as the band's manager.


Farm Aid Heading For Hootie Land

Hootie and the Blowfish called, so Willie Nelson is coming. Nelson is bringing his next Farm Aid concert to the rock band's South Carolina hometown, the country singer announced Saturday. The Oct. 12 concert will feature Hootie and the Blowfish, Nelson, and Farm Aid co-founders John Mellencamp and Neil Young. The Nashville Network will broadcast the concert a week later.

Farm Aid has distributed more than $12 million US to farmers since the first concert Nelson started in 1985 to help preserve family farms. This year "has been a rough year for family farmers," Nelson said. "With cuts in farm programs and natural disasters like the drought in the Southwest, more farmers than ever are facing financial hardship." Last year's 10th anniversary concert in Louisville, Ky., drew 50,000 fans and raised more than $1 million in ticket sales. Hootie and the Blowfish played there, and Nelson said the Columbia-based band asked him to bring the next one to their hometown.


Hootie Fans Left Holding Scalped Tickets

Front row tickets to two Hootie and the Blowfish concerts cost up to $150 each - and the tickets aren't even any good. The band declared the tickets void after finding out they had been scalped. More than 500 tickets to the Aug. 3 and 4 sold-out concerts at Jones Beach will be reissued by telephone through Ticketmaster on Wednesday, said Mark Zenow of the band's Fishco Management. A printout from the promoters showed that on the night before the tickets went on sale, someone in the main box office at Jones Beach held the first 10 rows for both shows, Zenow said. Two Jones Beach box office workers were fired.

People who bought the tickets can get a $25 refund - the face value of the tickets - even though they apparently went for as high as $150. "The chances are good they knew the tickets were being scalped," Zenow said.


Hootie's Strings Swiped

It wasn't just Hootie and the Blowfish that were unplugged at two concerts in their hometown last week. A thief walked off with two of the band's favorite guitars.

The guitars of lead singer Darius Rucker and bassist Dean Felber were taken April 19 after the band's MTV Unplugged concert at the University of South Carolina.

A university student, Anthony Magnarini, 20, was charged with grand theft. Another student, Nicholos Branchak, was charged with receiving stolen goods. They were released on $5,000 bail. When another student took one of the guitars to a music store to get a string replaced and was questioned about the initials DR, he said the guitar was a gift from Rucker.

Customers who overheard the conversation told security guards at the band's April 22 concert. That led to the arrests, and police retrieved the guitars.


No Free Lunchbox For Hootie

Cracked Rear View on a school lunch box? Hootie and the Blowfish doesn't think so.

The band is suing Best Buy Co. Inc., claiming it sold cheap lunch boxes bearing the band's name and image without permission. Richard Gusler, a lawyer for the Columbia-based band, said he bought one of the boxes for $1.99 in Raleigh, N.C. Another was bought at a Chicago store.

The North Carolina store said it was not selling the boxes but giving them away as a promotion. The lawsuit, filed Feb. 2, accuses the Minneapolis-based electronics retailer of trademark violation and unfair competition. The band, whose album Cracked Rear View hit No. 1 in the charts, seeks unspecified punitive damages and wants the boxes destroyed.


Bands Will Get A Helping Hootie Hand

The new label for Hootie and the Blowfish has an appropriate name: Breaking Records. The band, whose debut album Cracked Rear View was 1995's top seller at 10 million copies, will help pick bands to be signed to the label.

"We're not looking to make a gazillion dollars on this," band manager Rusty Harmon said Thursday. "We want to help the artists develop their careers and help them help themselves." The label, affiliated with Atlantic Records, will be based in Columbia, the band's hometown.

Hootie & the Blowfish: Yet Another Worship Temple
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