Interview: Hooby and the Yabbit
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today? Absolutely God knows. The only other thing I had passion besides music was motor racing, and still is, so if I had a choice it would probably be that. In reality, nothing is probably the answer. What got me into music? John Lennon was killed in 1980 and I discovered the Beatles, then a rollercoaster of the Stones, The Police, Motorhead, Hawkwind, Rush, and Zep. I saw Motorhead at Leeds in 1982 and from that moment it was all I wanted to do.
What do you like to do when you’re not playing music, and how does that influence your creativity? That’s a good question, I’m going to think about that while I answer the rest. OK, I’m back. For me, my life choices are reflected in my songwriting. I grow my own food and garden, love motor racing, like to drink a bit, and such. To me a day job is a dirty word, I would just be too bored but that doesn’t mean I don’t work if anything you have to work harder. But occasionally leading a life like mine enables you to step back and observe things a bit and this comes out in the writing.
How long has your band been around? As a project 11 years, as a gigging band since 2016.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music? So I live in Wakefield. Yorkshire UK. It’s a rock town, I think some of the people I’ve worked with here have definitely influenced me. Some great guitar players who I’ve backed over the years: Jon Strong, Stu Page, Duncan Wood (from The Deal, now based in Scotland), Dave Nutbrown (now Ghost’s front of house engineer and tour manager). All these guys have completely different things going on, like the 70s, Hendrix, country rock, blues and acoustic, for example, and I think all that’s all been a major influence. Also bizarrely through my contacts here I’ve toured with New York guitar player Adam Bomb on and off since 2006, he’s another whole deal altogether. I think because of these guys I started writing on guitar and moved from the bass because I had to lead the band from that instrument. As for the town itself? Dunno really. When I was younger it was a great place to get drunk and party. Perhaps you can hear that in there …
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you? Hooby is quite small, yellow, can rarely be found and, for some reason (in my head) smokes a pipe. The Yabbit has silly big ears, wears a dirty pink dress and bounces around on his bum. They’re a team though, and we’ll be carrying pictures of them with our merch when we get round to it
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played? For the best shows? The Pink Floyd tribute band, Off The Wall in Central America, Russia, and Portugal; crazy gigs and lots of party afterward. The worst? Well, there’s a few worse ones, but at my age you become immune. And as somebody once said to me: ’A bad day in this business is still better than a good day in any other business’. You just have to get tough, but keep your sense of humour.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already? I’d love to tour the states, and Japan so I can take my daughter.
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket? Jeremy Corbyn, Bill Hicks, Frank Zappa. We’ll play first so I can see the rest.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band? Listen to everyone, and then ignore them all and do exactly what you want.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why? On this current release the song Movietown. It’s the first proper song I wrote and the lyrics mean quite a lot to me. I played it at a solo gig recently and it’s very atmospheric.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most? That’s a hard one. The band has a lot of covers we like to play as well which can be a bunch of fun, like Led Zep, Neil Young, The Band, AC/DC and stuff. Sometimes we have to make ourselves behave and do what we’re supposed to be doing
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music? It happens all ways – riffs that start with the band or in my head become songs sometimes, other times I bring the whole thing in more or less written. I’m lucky enough to be a multi-instrumentalist so I bang away in the studio quite a lot. Where the inspiration comes from….being a human on planet earth seems to be an endless source of this
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music? Enjoy life, but think about life. And don’t be a passenger.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them? Well, depends who it is but taking the piss out of each other seems to keep things rolling along okay
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up? Yeah lookout for some gigs, they’ll be posted on the web and Facebook. I’ll also be releasing some acoustic music very soon, and hopefully a full album before the end of the year. Check out hoobyandtheyabbit.com.
Thank you all, Ian