The Mother Hips bring ‘Pacific Dust’ to Park City
February 9, 2010
In true California style, the motto for San Francisco-based band The Mother Hips should be: "Go with the flow." Whether they’re on tour or in the studio, a relaxed attitude is key. "We just have to make sure we have fun," says vocalist/guitarist Tim Bluhm.
On Saturday, Feb. 13, The Mother Hips will bring their unique brand of California soul to The Star Bar in Park City as the headlining act for the We The People party, presented by Mountain Town Music to kick off President’s Day weekend.
The quartet’s laid-back vibe matches their easygoing sound. Their songs run the gamut from rootsy Americana storytelling to psychedelic rock, a term that traces back to the 1960s and has been used to describe the likes of the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin and Cream.
"I think [psych rock] applies to some degree," says Bluhm. "When you talk about bands, you have to have catchphrases to describe them. You have to just kind of have to choose the one that’s least offensive and embrace it until a new phrase comes into vogue."
Bluhm co-founded The Mother Hips with guitarist/vocalist Greg Loiacono around 1991. At the time, the two friends were studying creative writing at Chico State in Northern California.
"[Greg] was a good guitar player, and I already knew how to sing a little bit, so we sort of taught each other what we knew and started writing songs, and we never really stopped," Bluhm explains.
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The duo joined a bass player and drummer to form "The "Mother Hips," which was the name of one of Bluhm’s first songs. "It has a slight mystery to it and it just stuck," he says." Once we got going, we had to stick with it, because that’s our meal ticket."
The group’s original music was influenced by L.A. bands from the 60s. "We were kind of isolated up there in Chico and there weren’t a lot of other rock bands doing what we were doing," Bluhm says. "I think we kind of developed our sound in this vacuum."
The Mother Hips began playing shows in San Francisco and as word spread, they branched out to other areas in California. By 1993, they had signed a record label and were preparing for a national touring schedule. "It seemed like it happened really quick. It really just took off fast," Bluhm says.
Eventually two of the original members decided the life of a traveling musician wasn’t for them, and they left the band, making room for bass player Paul Hoaglin and drummer John Hofer.
The current member lineup has been together for about 10 years and recently released the Mother Hips’ seventh studio album, "Pacific Dust."
According to Bluhm, the new record was borne out of a studio jam session. "We just set up a microphone and tried to remember stuff we had been messing around with on tour," he says. "Then we all took a tape of that practice home and listened to it and worked off of it. For the most part, that turned into the bulk of the record."
He says the sound hasn’t changed from previous records, but the content has. "As you go through life, you discover different kinds of music and you integrate those. You get interested in different things, and you get better at playing and singing and at the craft of songwriting."
As a songwriter, Bluhm says he tends to tell stories about things people can relate to. "If the songwriter can experience it, then chances are people who are listening have experienced the same things," he says.
But there are other ways of writing songs, too, he adds. "Sometimes you can just put random lines together and let the listener figure out what it means. Sometimes that works even better," he says. "You don’t have to know what you’re talking about when you’re writing songs necessarily."
The band performed at The Canyons’ Summer Concert Series last year and Bluhm says they’re looking forward to returning to Park City. "We’ve been playing really well lately and having a lot of fun on stage, so we’re excited to come back to Utah."
Casey Prestwood and the Burning Angels will open for The Mother Hips. Tickets are $10 in advance at http://www.24tix.com or $12 at the door the night of the event. Doors open at 8 p.m. for those 21 and over. For more information, visit http://www.mountaintownmusic.org or http://www.motherhips.com .