Blowfish Beyond Normal
"I just don't think we're normal. In fact, we're the exception to normal on the rock scene," says Rucker, whose band plays the Saddledome tonight. He denies the group has any of the trappings of rockdom. No drugs, no groupies. "We really don't have the groupies following us around. But we do have a lot of fun with our image and the image comes from the music itself. If we were who we are and played grunge or heavy metal, that image wouldn't be there, but we play straight rock, so it's there."
Is Rucker okay with being a nice guy? "I guess. Maybe there's not much of a choice," he says. But he does say the songs on Fairweather Johnson, the group's second album, are darker and more cynical. Wary of too much philosophy, he adds: "That's the mood the band was in at the time we wrote the songs." Denying that the band is headed in any particular direction, he says: "The next one might be a country record!" The next one, according to Rucker, is at least two years away.
"We're going to take a long vacation before that, two years long," he says. Accused of being the hardest-working rock band in history, he tries his hand at understatement: "We play a lot." Then he says, "We get tomorrow off!" He agrees that going multiplatinum with Cracked Rear View, their debut album, has been a bit of an albatross around the band's neck.
"We're expected to sell millions again." Here he lets himself get philosophical. "We didn't expect to do it the first time. It was a miracle. The second time, the record's going to do what it's going to do." So Hootie's lead singer is a nice guy, but is he willing to dish? He opens a small window and gives a peek at who he is and where he comes from. "I'm from a broken home. My mom had six kids, three boys and three girls and we all grew up very happy. "Normal, maybe not a lot of money. Sometimes we didn't have any, but we had each other and that was enough."
Is his mother proud of him? "My mom died a couple of years ago, before the first album came out. She was my biggest supporter," he says. But he did sing around home, so she got to hear some of the songs from Cracked Rear View. And he says it is from his choir-singing mother that he got his voice. "I got my voice the correct way - heredity."