TODD HOBIN

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What was the biggest fun during the making of Keepin’ the Dream Alive? Can you still remember how the songs came together?

Every day was an adventure. Unlike our previous albums we booked studio time and secured a great producer (Mark Doyle) before we even had songs written. We walked into the studio with pretty much a blank sheet of paper and started writing. The fun was in the unbridled work of creation.

Sadly, I died near the end of these sessions. Mark and Doug Moncrief wrapped it up. True story, it was a tumultuous year. Keepin’ the Dream Alive took on a whole new meaning for us. Good doctors brought me back from the land of the lost and I was able to rejoin the band.

I can’t listen to this album without reliving some of the pain of that year. But, the songs have endured and the trauma we lived through was worth the pain of birthing this album.

 If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why?

Let It Roll. Somewhere deep inside all of us who play rock lives a little Elvis. His swagger, his cool, his reverence to the blues and gospel, as well as his boyish charm and quest for fun have influenced everything that came after him.

This song is homage to my roots. You can hear the influence of Elvis, the Jordanaires, Jerry Lee Lewis, and even the Big Bopper in this track.

Somewhere between that song and Tonight, I Wanna Be Lonely is who I am.

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

I’m lucky. I survive by doing my art. And when I’m not doing my art, I’m helping others with theirs. We own all the masters to our music, and the publishing as well. We also own our own studio. So for us, the changes in technology and the internet have helped us reach our fans.

On the down side, all of us have noticed that there is a lot of inferior music out there. Anybody can release anything they want. Touring is harder with a lot of wannabees willing to play for nothing. If we dumb down the art, the audience gets dumber and expects free music that they don’t really care about. Music becomes background music. Young musicians should aspire to greatness, not just acceptance.

Who is the best musician in the world nobody has heard of yet? And why will this change very soon?

I teach a college course in the History of Rock n Roll. Every year I make a prediction about who will be the next big break out artist. In past years I’ve chosen, Mumford and Sons, Adele, and Zac Brown. Last year my pick was Tori Kelly. In just about every case, when I introduced these artists to my classes not one of the students had ever heard of them.

This year, I am totally baffled.

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mixt tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

I Love You Just the Way You Are – by Billy Joel, The Nearness of You – Sinatra’s version, We Found Love – Ed Sheeran, (I’d insert the next song I write right here. It would be titled with “Her Name”), Bolero – Ravel. If that don’t score a second date, I’d move on.

I am an old, hopeless romantic. I love my wife like crazy. I think I’ll write that next song right now. I’ll call it “Joann”.

What’s up for the next couple of months?

I am recovering from vocal strain. I haven’t performed since November. SO, what’s next is my vocal rehab tour. The first date is with my songwriting partner and bandmate, Doug Moncrief – May 6th at the Ontario Performing Arts Center. I’m going to ease back into the full band concert dates by doing a few solo and duo shows. By July, we’ll take the monster back out on the road. I’m lucky enough to play in one of the best rock bands in the world… going on 42 years with the same guys.

New songs are in the pipeline.

Buy the re-issue of Keepin’ the Dream Alive here.

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THE NOBILITY – Sean Williams

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What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?
There was a lot of fun that went on during the making of this album-both large and small. What was the biggest? As a band, we like to laugh so I enjoyed the jokes and random comments that were shared during downtime in the studio. For most of them, you had to be there, but trust me, if you had been, you would have thought to yourself, “This band is hilarious.”
If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why?
Since you’re only reading this, you’re unable to see me deep in thought, stroking my chin as I ponder the hefty ramifications to this answer…. Hmmm…well, I’d have to go with a song from what I refer to as “The classic Beach Boys era”—Kokomo. I choose this song mainly because it taught me the most valuable of life lessons: If you want to woo a young lady, refer to her as “pretty mama” as much as humanly possible. Fellas, it works Every. Single. Time.
 
Oh wait…you wanted a Nobility song? On The Sly. It’s our latest single. Check it out.
The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?  
As a child, if I wanted to hear a song, I had one option—call my local disc jockey, request “Buffalo Stance” by Neneh Cherry and wait patiently by my radio for the next 3 hours. If I was on my toes that day, I’d have a boom box sitting on play/record so I could avoid this ritual the next time I had a hankering to hear the song. In an attic somewhere sit cassette tapes, filled with hours of late 80s/early 90s Top 40 songs with a DJ talking over the beginning and end. And if you wanted to own certain albums back then this was your only means of attaining them:
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Curious : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ISe0fdoaPs
But what if Spotify had existed? I wouldn’t have had to waste all that time waiting to hear one crappy song, wading through hours of Madonna and Color Me Badd in the process. I could have studied more and actually made something of myself. Great. Now I’m depressed. What was the question? Oh…right. The new Nobility album is easily accessible through iTunes and Spotify, but I highly encourage you to experience life the way your ancestors did and request it on your local radio station. You may want to bring something to read. 
 
Who is the best musician in the world nobody has heard of yet?
I have to go with Reggie Mantle. This guy is an absolute beast on the bass.  He drops the low end on a song called Sugar Spice…breathtaking. Sharp dresser to boot.
 
She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?
What kind of a girl gives you a mix-tape ultimatum after one date? I’m not 100% sure I’d put up with this. I’m assuming I was a gentleman on the first date and that I paid for dinner, opened car doors, etc. Who is she to start demanding I make her a mix tape? This relationship is off to a sketchy start. Having said that, one can assume that if I summoned the nerve to ask her out, I’m fairly attracted to her and am thus prone to surrender to any whim she might have. CURSE YOU!!!! CURSE YOU, ATTRACTIVE WOMEN!!! WE’RE POWERLESS AGAINST YOU!!! NOOOOOOOO!!!!
 
Here are my songs: 
1.    Tell Him / Hello
2.    One More Night / Phil Collins
3.    Got My Mind Set On You / George  Harrison
4.    Magnet and Steel/ Walter Egan
5.    Basketball / Kurtis Blow (It’s a good idea to not be overly predictable at this point in the courtship)
  
What’s up for the next couple of months?
The Nobility are about to play several shows in support of Ashford Castle, but if you are unable to attend one, let us know. We’ll send you the setlist so you can make a playlist on Spotify and pretend you were there. If there are any zany mishaps, we’ll be sure to pass those along so you can recreate those too. Don’t worry, because you’re not experiencing the show live, you’ll receive a 15% discount on admission.

 

BROKEN PROMISE KEEPER – Rob Stuart

 

What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?

The coolest thing about the latest Broken Promise Keeper album is that it’s an international affair.  Most of the drums were played by Will Jones, an session drummer in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. Then I had mixing/mastering consulting by Andrew Gosden, of Cold Room Studios, Brisbane, Australia. I’d met both on an online forum, liked their style, and ended up getting their expertise on album.

If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why?

On this album, it’s definitely “Here We Go” which is the kick-off tune.  It’s inspired by the often quoted definition of insanity:   “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result” – well, that resonates with me because I’m stupidly stubborn sometimes.  OK, most of the time.  But I’m getting better as I get older!

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

Well, I had a glimpse of the old-school music industry, circa 1985 or so, when I was about to graduate from college but was in a regionally successful band in the Southeastern US.  We got signed to a label, recorded several records (those flat, black and round plastic things), toured lots of clubs… lots of fun, but not so lucrative from a financial perspective.  Now, you don’t need the “music industry” — what’s left of it is focused on the mega-huge stadium acts like, well, you know.  So the ability for folks like me to record, distribute, and avoid any industry middle-man is a good change.

Who is the best musician in the world nobody has heard of yet? And why will this change very soon?

That’s the downside of the change in the music industry – I’m positive there are just the bestest, sweetest Power Pop bands out there, but I don’t know about them because it takes effort to find them.  There’s no longer any support from the music industry (if there ever really was) to grow new bands, and radio is no help.  So today, as a listener, you really have to make an effort to look for music that turns you on, searching either online with the help of sites like this or better yet by supporting your local music scene and supporting the bands you like.

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

Well, I’ve been married for a long time, so this is more of a list of the five Power Pop songs we fell in love with together.  I hope you like high-energy melodic rock from the 80s, all North Carolina or Georgia bands from the Southeast US:

“Love Is For Lovers” – The dB’s

 

 

“Double Our Numbers” – Parthenon Huxley

“Stone Cold Yesterday” – The Connells

“Praying Mantis” – Don Dixon

“Harborcoat” – REM

What’s up for the next couple of months?

I have to get back on the computer and find more sites like this one!  That and start recording again…

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