Indie-jam-folk-rock band The Mother Hips were signed to a major label when co-founders Greg Loiacono and Tim Bluhm were still living in the dorms at Chico State.
The Mother Hips were picked up by American Recordings in 1990, joining the ranks of high-profile rockers like The Black Crowes and Slayer. Unfortunetly, that arrangement didn't last long. Their third album, Shootout, received a lackluster reception and the band was dropped by American in 1996.
While the Mother Hips haven't achieved massive stardom, Loiacono and Bluhm are still writing the group’s weird, fuzzy alt-rock songs, touring extensively and maintaining a loyal fan base.
John Hofer was a fan when he started playing drums in the band in 1997. That's when The Mother Hips began taking their sound in a different direction.
“When I [first] heard the Mother Hips they were just unbelievably unique to me,” says Hofer. “Tim and Greg were amazing songwriters who could also perform those songs in such a way I just hadn’t really heard.”
Eighteen years later, Hofer still enjoys his job.
“I love being in The Mother Hips partly because we are still, in my opinion, quite creative. Tim and Greg are still coming up with great songs, they’re still hungry.”
Hofer says Bluhm and Loiacono bring that hunger into the studio without laboring over details.
“I never know what songs they’re going to bring into the studio or what direction they’re going to go,” says Hofer. “We don’t toil over [the recording] too long. We do the best that we can and make the best record that we can and then we move on and make another record. We’ve made country rock records, we’ve made indie rock records – that’s a little bit about us wanting to satisfy ourselves.”
Hofer says he’s been trying to get them to make a disco album; so far the rest of the band isn’t buying it.
In the past The Mother Hips kept a very aggressive touring schedule. Since starting families, they’ve had to slow down a bit.
“We turned into weekend warriors for the most part. Three of the four guys have kids,” says Hofer, who lives in Southern California with his wife and four-year-old daughter. “It’s been great. I fought it when it was happening. I thought that bands need to go on the road for months at a time.”
The band’s current tour brings them to Sacramento on Thursday and they’re working on their tenth album with producer and Sacramento-native, John Baccigaluppi, in Stinson Beach.
“It’s not about being rich and famous rock stars anymore. It’s about just being able to do our thing and make enough money to where we can continue to make records and play shows.”
Through it all, The Mother Hips have been able to maintain their distinct identity and pursue their own goals, which now include spending time with family, playing shows for fans and making music they want to hear.