An interview with Joel Hooks, Lead Singer of BLAMM-O!
by Mike Huberty
August 2011

Blamm-o! Live

Blamm-o! Live

Madison hard rock act, BLAMM-O! is celebrating their tenth anniversary this year with their release of their first full-length CD, THE ROAD. Featuring cover art of the lead singer, Joel Hooks’, real wrecked car, THE ROAD represents the band starting to re-emerge after a period of semi-hibernation. “The past three years BlLAMM-O! has been laying kind of low”, Hooks says. “We had not released any new music since our self-titled EP in 2006, so we decided to get off our asses and put out something which represents where we’re at right now musically.”

With a straightforward high-energy hard rock sound, their influences range from Van Halen to Meat Puppets to Joy Division. And you can hear an epic sweep in the vocals, raunchy distorted guitars, and the crashing rhythms. But just because they have a little U2-meets-Three Doors Down vibe going on doesn’t mean they can’t be a little more irreverent than Bono. As Hooks explains the origin of their name, “The name BLAMM-O! actually comes from REN AND STIMPY specifically from one of their mock commercials (remember ‘Log by Blamm-o!’). We tried dozens of names, even playing our first show and radio debut under a different one. BLAMM-O! seems to describe us best, a massive release of sound and energy!”

THE ROAD is the band’s first full-length and for people who aren’t familiar with their sound, Hooks has a suggestion. “Normally, I might answer with one of our full-on, in-your-face rockers,” he says, “but I think ‘Facing Fate’ would be a good first BLAMM-O! experience. I think the song has great dynamics. It demonstrates some of the range and diversity we have as a band and our unique style of rock and pop.” But his favorite song on the record is the title track. “I love ‘Free-Fall Cover-Up’ because of the kick-ass guitar riffs and solo. The guitars have almost a ‘middle eastern’ sound to them which is ironic once you understand the content of the song. However, because of the recent loss of someone dear to me, I’ve been leaning towards the title track ‘The Road’ lately. It speaks of the struggle, hardships, and tragedy of the path we all must travel, yet the strength we must maintain to get to our individual destinations. “

And Hooks hopes that BLAMM-O!’s re-emergence in the Madison music scene will last for awhile. He says confidently, “We just keep chugging along like the ‘little engine that thinks it can’, striving to write interesting music.  No one freaks out and has a hissy-fit if someone says, ‘Hey that lick or melody sucks, try something else.’ We all understand it’s the constructive criticism which forces us to write better songs. Plus we all like to spend time together outside of BLAMM-O! when we can. We’ve been in each others’ weddings, seen families grow, and have had good times the past five years… With the new album we’d like to get out and play more shows in Madison and beyond, perhaps doing some more work with charities. We’ll focus on writing new material and recording some singles. We already have one new song completed with several more in the works… I feel our personal relationships help stimulate creativity and our best songs are yet to come.”

BLAMM-O! is going to be celebrating their CD Release Party at The High Noon Saloon on Friday August 12th and it’s the next event on The Rökker Vodka Tour. As Hooks explains, “There will obviously be some awesome vodka to throw back!  The release party should be an interesting multi-media event. We’re having Madison artist, Everett Kitts, paint while we play. He’s going to tie the painting in with a T-shirt design he did for us. After the show, we’ll auction off the painting and give a portion of our sales from the evening as a donation to Porchlight, Inc. a local charity helping the homeless… Expect a tight, energetic, and entertaining show. One hell of an audio-visual, tasty Happy Hour to start the weekend. What else would you want to do?” And then he adds with his tongue firmly in his cheek, “If you’ve never experienced a BLAMM-O! show, come check us out.  You’ll be glad you did.  We’re way better than reality TV!”

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CD: The Road