20 Questions Interview – Billboard

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On Dec. 9, 2003, Hoobastank followed up their breakthrough self-titled debut with what would end up becoming the biggest album of their careers. The Reason peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart, and when its title track was chosen as its second single, the yearning alt-rock sing-along became a smash hit, reaching No. 2 on the Hot 100 and scoring Hoobastank a pair of Grammy noms.

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Next week, the veteran band will celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Reason by performing the album in its entirely during an intimate show at The Echo in Los Angeles on Monday (Dec. 11). The album is also receiving a special edition vinyl reason, with new album artwork and a previously unreleased cover of Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” included.

Prior to the band celebrating the milestone, Hoobastank guitarist Dan Estrin answered 20 questions about his upbringing, The Reason turning 20, and the band’s plans for next year.

  • What’s the first piece of music that you bought for yourself, and what was the medium? 
  • Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction. On vinyl. With the original album artwork. Yes I still have it!

  • What was the first concert you saw?
  • Lollapalooza, 1992. Irvine Meadows. Irvine CA.

  • What did your parents do for a living when you were a kid? 
  • My dad had his own business supplying/selling clothing to stores, and my mom worked at a film company.

  • Who made you realize you could be an artist full-time? 
  • I don’t remember it being someone specific. I just blindly went for it. And I think I came to the realization on my own. My parents were always extremely supportive though.

  • What’s at the top of your professional bucket list? 
  • We have played so many amazing venues in our career. But we’ve never played Madison Square Garden. One of these days! We’ve also never won a Grammy. Nominated for three. But lost.

  • How did your hometown/city shape who you are? 
  • These are the things that were always around us. The stuff that we grew up doing, things we were exposed to, which had to have shaped who we are. Skateboarding, riding BMX, snowboarding, motocross, going to the beach, swimming, hiking, baseball, basketball, listening to and playing music. Going to local shows. Hanging with family. 

  • What’s the last song you listened to? 
  • Fleetwood Mac, “The Chain.”

  • If you could see any artist in concert, dead or alive, who would it be? 
  • The Beatles, Elvis, Michael Jackson, Nirvana, Pink Floyd.

    9.  What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen happen in the crowd of one of your sets? 

    Recently, we were outside onstage looking out at a sea of people. And way out in the distance was the most amazing lightning storm I have ever seen. That… Or a dude, crowd-swimming in his wheelchair. That was pretty awesome!

  • How has your creative process changed over the years? 
  • It honestly hasn’t changed too much. I still pick up my guitar or bass and randomly put my fingers somewhere. Sometimes I play something that inspires me, and other times I don’t. If I play something I like or I find interesting I quickly record it on my phone leaving myself a note. Then I’ll go work on it at some point later in my studio. What has drastically changed is the technology. I just have so much more access to so many tools that allow me to be creative.

    11. The Reason is about to celebrate its 20th anniversary. How do you look back on that moment for that band today? 

    That was by far the most exciting, fulfilling time of my life. I look back and have the fondest and best memories. Creating music with my friends for a living has been an absolute dream come true.

  • Hoobastank’s self-titled album achieved plenty of success two years before The Reason. What did the band set out to accomplish with its follow-up? 
  • I think we were just riding high at the moment. Everybody in the band felt great after the success of our debut self-titled album. I personally felt extremely confident at that time. Very focused, driven and obsessed with creating and writing songs. We never got together as a band to discuss what we wanted to accomplish with its follow-up. We didn’t really have to. It was somewhat unspoken and obvious where our heads were at.

  • “Out of Control,” not “The Reason,” was the album’s lead single. Why was that the right decision for you guys? 
  • As long as we have been a band, we have always written and played different styles of songs, whether the song was heavy rock or a slower ballad. But the majority of our songs leaned towards being rock or heavy rock. So we always wanted to lead with a song that we felt represented us best. “Out of Control” was that song for us. We knew we were going to get to “The Reason” at some point, but we were very adamant about leading with a rock song.

  • “The Reason” reached No. 2 on the Hot 100. How surprised were you that the song became one of your defining hits? 
  • I think we were surprised at how massive it became, and still is. But we also knew the record company loved the song and was going to do everything they could to get it out there. 

  • “The Reason” is a perennial karaoke and cover-song favorite. Do you have a favorite version of the song that’s not your own? 
  • Every single day, we get tagged in videos of people covering it. It’s pretty amazing. All different styles, from funk versions to Steve Aoki doing a remix at Tomorrowland. We’ve seen a country version, a group of dads that sing and harmonize together, punk rock versions, heavy metal versions, people playing it on drums, guitar, bass and piano. Different vocal performances and Latin versions. And so on. It’s insane! My favorite karaoke videos are when it gets to the bridge where the lyrics belt out “and the reason is youuuu.“ Watching and hearing the entire bar sing It together is always awesome!

  • What’s one thing your most devoted fans don’t know about Hoobastank? 
  • I honestly have no idea what our fans don’t know. If they are hardcore devoted fans, then they probably know everything. We are pretty transparent. So if they don’t know something, chances are it’s intentional and this is the last place I would say it!

  • What’s your karaoke go-to? 
  • I don’t karaoke. I actually never have. I go up onstage and play music with my best friends! No disrespect to all you karaoker’s. I’ve seen some pretty badass performances. I just need my guitar as my security blanket.

  • What movie, or song, always makes you cry? 
  • “Dust In The Wind” by Kansas. There is so much emotion in the melodies, music and lyrics. the middle section violin solo gets me every time. The George Michael cover of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” with Elton John is another one.

  • What’s one piece of advice you would give to your younger self? 
  • Chill the f*ck out! Sometimes I wonder what’s the one piece of advice my younger self could give/remind my current older self. 

  • What can Hoobastank fans look forward to in 2024 and beyond?
  • Hopefully some new music. We have been sending ideas back and forth to each other. Getting together to try working new song ideas out. We will also be out on the road off and on all year, celebrating The Reason 20-year anniversary.



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