Hoobastank

  • Alt rock band formed in 1994 from Agoura Hills California. The founding members were Doug Robb (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, lyrics), Dan Estrin (backing vocals, lead guitar), Chris Hesse (drums, backing vocals) and Markku Lappalainen (bass guitar). There have been several other bass guitarists – since 2009 it has been Jesse Charland. All members contributed to songwriting, with Robb and Estrin the primary songwriters.
  • Robb and Estrin met one another at a local Battle-of-the-Bands competition. They decided to form their own band, recruiting Hesse and Lappalainen to join them. They chose the name Hoobustank (with a ‘u’) as a joke, needing something to call themselves before playing a show in the backyard of Robb’s parents. They played at venues in the Los Angeles area, gaining a local following. They made two demo tapes in 1995, and an EP titled Muffins in 1997. Later in 1997, they recorded an album and self released it on January 1, 1998. Titled They Sure Don’t Make Basketball Shorts Like They Used To, this early music had more of a funk metal sound (including saxophone on many tracks) compared to their later music. It featured eclectic songs like Can I Buy You a Drink, Naked Jock Man and The Dance That Broke My Jaw. 
  • Over time, they performed up and down the California coast, and record companies began to notice them. In 2000 they were signed to a recording contract, and they toured nationally. The following year, their self-titled debut album Hoobastank was released (now, with an ‘a’). The first single from the album, Crawling In the Dark, reached #3 on the Alternative Airplay chart, and #68 on the Hot 100 chart. Their follow-up single, Running Away, peaked at #2 and #44 respectively. Subsequently, the album was certified platinum, and it reached #25 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
  • After touring in Europe and Asia, the band recorded their second album, and late in 2003, The Reason was released. The album had a harder rock edge to it, though their mega-hit from the album was the title track, more of a ballad. The song The Reason peaked at #1 on three of Billboard’s charts and at #2 on the Hot 100. It was top ten on 15 International charts, including #1 in Canada, Italy and the UK. It ended 2004 as the #6 Hot 100 song for the entire year, and it was nominated for a Grammy for Song of the Year. The album reached #3 on the Billboard album chart, and it was certified 2x platinum. Other singles that charted on the Alternative Airplay chart were Out of Control (reaching #9), Same Direction (#14) and Disappear (#24).
  • Albums were released in 2006 and 2009, but Hoobastank wasn’t able to sustain the success of their second album. Six singles were released from these albums – the highest charting single was If I Were You, which reached #18 on the Adult Top 40 chart. In the 10s, they twice changed record labels, releasing two albums of new music, plus a compilation of acoustic versions of their early work. Their 2018 album Push Pull showed a marked shift in style, away from hard rock to a more pop-funk rock sound. It didn’t help – nothing charted.
  • In 2021, The Reason enjoyed a new appreciation when someone posted a video on TikTok that used the song. It went viral, leading to 50,000 similar video postings using the song, with over 150 million views. Over the years, they’ve made up lots of stories as to where their name came from – from the mispronounced name of a street in Germany to Jesus Christ’s middle name. But it turns out it was just a weird name invented by high school kids in a band. The post grunge sound of the 00s certainly includes Hoobastank as part of that sound, along with bands like Linkin Park, Nickleback and Puddle of Mudd. Here’s the video to the song that pays the bills, The Reason.

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