Darius Rucker never thought everyone would assume his name was Hootie

'I should have thought that, but now we’ve been a band for 35 years so I’m glad people still know who we are.'
Published February 18, 2021 2:59 p.m. EST
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Darius Rucker is getting us ready for the warmer weather with his new single "Beers and Sunshine" and he's promised etalk's Traci Melchor that his new album will be ready very soon. He's itching to get back on tour, perform to sold-out crowds and we might even get some new music from Hootie & the Blowfish in the next few years. 

Hootie & the Blowfish took a hiatus for a decade before coming back with an album and a tour in 2019. Rucker said that touring in 2019 was totally different than touring with his band in the ‘90s. “When we went out in 2019 it was the first time we’d all gone out with families. It was the first time we’d done that. It was totally different than back in the ‘90s when we were crazy out there, trying to take over the world and have a great time,” he said. 

When the band first started, it was called Wolf Brothers and then they changed it to Hootie & the Blowfish in 1986. But Darius never thought that the name (inspired by the nicknames of some college friends) would make everyone assume his name was Hootie. “I’m still so mad at myself about that. How could I not think that? How could I not think that? I’m so stupid,” he joked. 

“That didn’t cross my mind and I should have thought that but now we’ve been a band for 35 years so I’m glad people still know who we are,” Rucker added.

Rucker is focusing on his new album right now but he said that we can expect some new music from Hootie & the Blowfish “sometime down the line.” He continued, “We decided we’re going to do it every few years when it feels right. I’m sure there’ll be another record and tour sometime.”

He also said that he misses touring as much as he would miss sleeping if he couldn’t sleep. “I really miss it so much. I want to go out on the road. I want to play shows for people, packed crowds, so bad but I want to do it when the time is right,” he said.

Rucker will have something new to tour with because he told Traci that we can expect a new album very soon. “I’m about done with it. Hopefully it will be out in late spring, early summer but I’m excited about it. With everything going on in the world and everything going on in my life, there’s a lot to write about,” the “Wagon Wheel” singer shared. 

When it comes to his new single “Beers and Sunshine,” Rucker said his inspiration came from being tired of quarantine. “It was early, it was probably two months in and we were already tired of it and wanted to get back to regular life. We just wanted to write something light and fun, something that would make everybody feel good for a second and remember that there’s a lot of good stuff in the world too, even though this is going on.”

Just like anything else happening in this pandemic, the song was written and recorded over Zoom. “When we recorded it the studios were still closed and so my producer Ross Copperman, he just called everybody and they played in their own studios in their house. We just recorded it all over the internet and it worked,” he said, before adding that he doesn’t want to record music that way all the time. 

Rucker was the first Black country artist to reach the top of the country charts since Charley Pride in 1988. His 2008 single “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” earned Rucker the milestone accomplishment of breaking through the Top 20 charts, which was something a Black country artist had not done in 25 years. Rucker said that representation in country music has changed but when he first started he dealt with a lot of “naysayers.” 

“Early on it was tough. It was an uphill climb but we worked hard and visited a lot of radio stations, got to know a lot of people and they took a chance and we had some success,” Rucker said. Now, he loves to see the change in representation within the country music industry. 

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“I love to see what’s happening. There’s so many African-American acts and singers getting record deals… Kane Brown’s a superstar and Jimmie [Allen] going right up and Mickey’s [Guyton] out there, making all that noise and loving it. I love what’s going,” he said, before adding that all people want is a chance.  

The country superstar is not only a champion for other Black country singers in the music industry but he is also a man of the people. Earlier this year, the singer went into an IHOP close to his Charleston home and paid for everyone’s meals. The servers said that he also left a big tip for them. The staff said most people didn’t recognize him on that day because he was wearing a mask and following COVID-19 safety guidelines. We love to see it!

“I was going to play golf and I stopped into IHOP like I do a lot. I do it a lot, it’s just right on the way to golf. It’s easy. I just looked around, the place was packed and there was a bunch of families in there with kids and people going to church. A lot of people just looked like they were enjoying their time and I thought about how hard things are right now and how the economy’s so tough. I was like, you know, I’m blessed,” Rucker said, explaining his generous gesture.

The singer said he went up to the counter and asked the man working to let him pay for everybody’s meal in the restaurant. This is the energy we love to see in 2021!

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