Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 | interviewZ, musiX, pdX
Tim Bluhm and the Mother Hips have been at it for the better part of two decades. The band has gone through it all—getting the ax from a major label, drugs, indefinite hiatus—and has still managed to hold it together without compromising their sound. I don’t think the Mother Hips have made a bad record.
The Hips released Kiss the Crystal Flake in 2007 after taking a few years off to regroup—it was the band’s first full-length since 2001′s critically lauded Green Hills of Earth. Crystal Flake received similar accolades, taking the band’s proclivity for ’60s-era Bee Gees and ’70s rock and country and playing like a love letter to the Golden State.
It’s safe to say the Mother Hips are in the best shape of their career—no label pressure, no bad feelings or vices, only the music. Bluhm and the rest of the band—guitarist/vocalist Greg Loiacono, bassist Paul Hoaglin and drummer John Hofer—are taking a break from work on the followup to Kiss the Crystal Flake to play a handful of West Coast dates, including this Friday (Feb. 20) at the Doug Fir. And if you’re hip enough to have scored tickets to SXSW, you’ll probably see them there, too.
Bluhm caught up with The Days of Lore to talk about the new record (tentatively due out this fall), and to reflect on 20 years of music making.
TDoL: You seem to be in a really good place right now musically with the Hips going stronger than ever, and your collaborations with Jackie Greene and others …
Tim Bluhm: I feel really grateful to be where I am right now. There is lots of great stuff happening all around.
How’s the new Hips record coming?
The Hips record is probably about 70 percent done and I think we are all very excited about how it is sounding. We have been so fortunate to find ourselves where we are, in a studio where we all feel comfortable [Mission Bells in San Francisco], and with a producer, Dave Simon-Baker, who is incredibly talented.
What do you try to achieve production-wise with each new record?
The Hips are in a unique position because we have a great fanbase without having a commercial-style record label breathing down our neck. We can really do whatever we want, and we do. We love to stretch out and see what we can get away with, make ourselves laugh. But also try and throw down some serious rock ‘n’ roll.
You’ve been making music for almost 20 years. What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the fact that the Mother Hips have been able to stay friends and have fun for as long as we have. My relationship with Greg [Loiacono] is one of the most important relationships in my life.
“Transit Wind” – The Mother Hips (Shootout)