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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

The Hooters are taking it day by day as they prepare to play Spokane for the first time three decades

Since breaking out in the mid-1980s, Philadelphia-based band the Hooters have developed a big fan base in Europe. They return to Spokane for the first time in decades on Friday with Rick Springfield, Paul Young and Tommy Tutone.  (Marc Gilgen)
By Ed Condran The Spokesman-Review

It’s been at least 30 years since The Hooters played Spokane. It’s not as if the pop-rock band has ignored the Lilac City in favor of Seattle or Portland. The Philadelphia-based band hasn’t toured the West since 1992.

“I’m not sure the last time we played Spokane,” vocalist-keyboardist Rob Hyman said while calling from Chicago. “I googled it and didn’t come up with a date. It’s been a long time. I’m pretty certain the last time we were there was in ’92.”

(A search of newspaper archives didn’t yield any mention of a Spokane show in the ’90s, but the band performed in back to back years at the old Spokane Coliseum, in April 1986 opening for Loverboy and August 1987 opening for Bryan Adams.)

The Hooters broke in 1985 thanks to the rousing feel-good pop-rock from its second album, “Nervous Night.” Such bouncy tunes as “And We Danced” and “Day by Day,” and the darker “All You Zombies” charted and scored MTV play.

Much like U2 and Queen, the Hooters were buoyed by the 1985 concert charity event, Live Aid. The Hooters kicked off the American part of the show at Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium. The last-minute selection of the Hooters prompted Live Aid organizer and Boomtown Rats frontman Bob Geldof to utter, “Who the (heck) are the Hooters?”

Hyman laughed upon being reminded of Geldof’s quote. “In his defense, it was a fair question,” Hyman said. “Geldof was in Europe and people had no idea who we were at that time in Europe.”

Much changed for the Hooters. By the late ’80s, the Hooters caught on overseas, particularly in Germany. The Hooters are popular enough to headline festivals in Europe.

“Most of our audience has relocated to Germany and Scandinavia,” Hyman joked. “Yes, the fans in Europe have supported us for years and for the longest time we focused on touring in Europe. It’s a lot easier than touring the states. The drives are much shorter. The weird thing about us in Europe is that we’re really big in Germany and not so big in France, but that’s all right. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have such an audience in Europe.”

During a European tour back in the ’90s, Geldof opened for the Hooters. The turnabout was never discussed between the two parties.

“We didn’t have a lot of contact with him ,but we did several shows with Geldof and the Waterboys,” Hyman said. “We did get a bit of a chuckle about Geldof opening for us and of course we knew who he was.”

Hyman continues to write with his songwriting partner, vocalist-guitarist Eric Bazilian. Aside from crafting hits for the Hooters, the tandem penned smashes for Cyndi Lauper with “Time After Time” and “One of Us” for Joan Osborne.

“We enjoy our moonlighting gigs,” Hyman said. “ ’Time After Time’ and ‘One Of Us’ each hit and it’s fascinating when you break it down. ‘Time After Time’ isn’t that complicated of a song. Most Hooters songs are much more complex. ‘Time After Time’ is a couple of basic chords. ‘One of Us’ is a basic chord progression and Eric found a way to tell a good story.”

The story and song were compelling enough for Prince to cover “One of Us.”

“That was wild,” Hyman said. “When one of the greatest songwriters of all time covers one of your songs, it’s mind-blowing. It really is something that Eric and I treasure. When we wrote that song we never imagined in our wildest dreams that Prince would record it.”

The Hooters, including fellow original member drummer David Uosikkinen, guitarists John Lilley and Tommy Williams, and bassist Fran Smith Jr,, feature “Time After Time” and “One of Us” in sets.

“We Hooterize those songs,” Hyman said. “We’ve turned those tunes into rock songs. They’re so much fun to play and they mean a lot to us.”

A pair of original Hooters have died, bassist Bobby Woods in 1982 and John Kuzma in 2011.

“It’s tough when you lose people like that,” Hyman said. “But things happen when you’re in a band that has existed for 43 years.”

The Hooters still craft new music. The band released “Rocking & Swing” in May, its first album in 13 years. The fresh material harks back to the band’s earlier days when it melded ska, rock and reggae. Don’t expect anything from “Rocking & Swing” when the band plays Northern Quest.

“We’re focusing on the songs from the ’80s on this tour, but we’re still compelled to make new music,” Hyman said. “It’s not just about playing songs like ‘Day by Day.’ We do it for us and the fans want to hear the new songs, which we’ll play at our shows after this tour concludes.”