When you rack up big numbers, you can write your own rules, which is how Hinder’s story has played out over its 14-year run. The band has racked up sales of 3.8 million albums and 7.5 million singles, along with 1.6 million Facebook page likes, and over 130 million video views, according to a press release for its latest album, When The Smoke Clears.
However, you’re only as good as your latest song, observes drummer Cody Hanson– and the momentum it generates, once enough listeners start paying attention.
“For things to take off like it did for us, you have to have the right song – at the right time – and the stars have to align for you,” said Hanson. “There are a lot of bands out there that probably deserved to be in this exact spot, but didn’t quite make it. A lot of it is luck, and timing.”
Only three years ago, the Oklahoma City-based band found itself in an equally uncertain position, after deciding to part ways in 2012 with its label (Republic) and longtime frontman (Austin Winkler).
“For a long time, things had been really stale – we were really unhappy for a number of years, and it kind of came through in the live performance,” said Hanson. “But now, we’re recharged, and having fun again, and it comes through in the live show (as well).”
Getting there took some time, though. As any fan knows, switching singers is a risky exercise. For every outfit that accomplished the mission (Van Halen’s transition from David Lee Roth to Sammy Hagar), it’s easy to recall many others that botched it (Black Sabbath’s parade of vocalists after Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio).
The band spent 2013 and 2014 recording and touring with Jared Weeks (Saving Abel) and Nolan Neal, but when the time came to name a permanent replacement, Hinder chose Marshal Dutton – who’s co-written and produced with the band since All American Nightmare (2010).
Once the band chose Dutton, everything fell right into place, Hanson feels.
“This band was never about one person. Our (former) singer wasn’t the main songwriter. Marshal has been a part of our family, and sixth member of our band, for several years. It was a really easy, seamless transition when we made that change, and it’s going to continue to make life easier in the future,” he said.
Fittingly enough, the leadoff single from the new album – and first one to feature Dutton officially – is “Hit The Ground,” whose key line (“Falling feels like flying ’til you hit the ground”) offers a fair summary of the band’s recent struggles.
When The Smoke Clears also marks Hinder’s first release for its new label (The End Records), which continues a recent trend – beginning with All American Nightmare – of recording at Hanson’s home studio, in Oklahoma City.
“It’s much better. Besides worries about money, the product turns out better. When you’re away from home, your main focus is getting back home – it’s always in the back of your mind,” said Hanson. “It’s awful when you’re trying to be creative. There’s none of that (now), so that’s good.”
Hinder is out on a nine-week tour, and expects to go back out again this fall. Options include a trip to India, as well as revisiting Britain, Europe “and some other places that we haven’t been, in forever,” he said.
Hanson also hopes to see a couple more singles pulled from the album, which – like previous releases – reflects an intense woodshedding process, he suggests.
“Don’t let your ego get the best of you, and always think that everything you do is the best thing in the world. It’s gotta be amazing, or it’ll never cut through the rest of the crowd,” he said.
Live: 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 14, The Music Factory, 191 Angell St., Battle Creek (with Full Devil Jacket, Diamante, Autumn’s Fall). $25. Tickets available at the venue. All ages show (16 and under without a parent out by 10 p.m.). (269) 962-2121.