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A Recent Interview With The Band

The Hippycrickets Interview Page
Rockbeat International - Towson, Maryland - Spring 1998

The Hippycrickets Do The Inconceivable!

By Geoff Cabin

The last few years have seen the emergence of a new pop scene, with a resurgence in pop-oriented bands, the formation of new labels to release pop sounds, and a proliferation of zines dedicated to covering pop music.  One of the best of the new bands to emerge from the pop scene has been The Hippycrickets.  The band draws on the classic pop sounds of the sixties, as well as the new wave and power pop sounds of the seventies and eighties, to create its own unique brand of pop.  The Hippycrickets are led by founding members Troy Paterson (drums) and Rory Odani (vocals and guitar).  Rory, who is originally from San Diego, had previously played in a ska band called the Skalatones and a Jam/mod-type band call The Darts.  Troy, who describes himself as "from all over", had little previous experience playing in bands.

The two first met during the late eighties in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, where Troy was attending college and Rory was stationed with the Air Force.  The meeting took place when Rory was invited to join a new wave-style cover band with which Troy played.  It turned out that neither was really satisfied with the mainstream-oriented covers that the band played.

The two soon found that they had common musical interests when Rory taped some songs for the band to learn.  "I put on a song by The Stems called 'Tears Me In Two,' which is an Australian garage/surf band," says Rory.  "And he just dug that song."

"I showed up at the next rehearsal," Troy says, "and I said, 'I didn't learn anything else on that tape, but I played that song "Tears Me In Two" about a billion times."

"From there, for us at least, it was like 'we want to go that way," Rory says.  "I guess we were just fish out of water, until we found our niche.  That's the most bizarre thing.  It was just a matter of saying, 'Hey, listen to this,' and he was like 'Oh, this is great.'"

This led the two to strike out on their own and form their own band.  The band was originally called Killing Time, but that name was discarded as too heavy metal-sounding and the band adopted The Hippycrickets moniker.  Rory explains that there is no great significance to the name, but that it is a "silly word association" and a "fun, sixties-sounding name."

The band started out playing covers, but eventually grew tired of that, and began to concentrate on original material, with Rory assuming the role of chief songwriter.  This led to the release of the band's first cassette, There Was One?, whose title was taken from a line in the movie Stripes.

Concentrating on originals, the band had difficulty finding work in the Pensacola, Florida area, and this prompted them to relocate to Atlanta in the Summer of 1991.

"We needed a bigger outlet," Troy explains.  "We had visited Atlanta a few times.  At the time we first came up here, Atlanta was really hopping."

In Atlanta, Troy and Rory hooked up with bass player Jeff List.  This lineup of the band recorded their second cassette, No Shoes, No Shirt, No Dice!, which was released in 1994.  Once again the tape's title was taken from a line in a movie, in this case Fast Times At Ridgemont High.

The tape was reviewed in the pop zine Audities and began to attract national attention to the band.  One song from the tape, "Margaret Sez," was later included on the pop compilation album Pop Matters on Paul Collins' Wagon Wheel label.

With Casey Jongko taking over the bass slot, the band recorded its first single, "How Can I?"/"Matter Of Time," which was released in 1995.  This release garnered excellent reviews from zines such as Twist And Shake and Hartbeat!  And continued to attract attention to the band.

Finally, in 1997, The Hippycrickets realized their ambition of putting out a CD, with the release of the ironically title Inconceivable!!! (this time the title comes from The Princess Bride).

Rory describes the CD as an "absolute DIY" effort, noting that the band members were responsible for the funding, recording, package design and marketing of the CD.  "The only thing we didn't do was press and shrink wrap it," Troy notes, "and we're working on that!".  Troy and Rory are quick to acknowledge, however, the assistance they received from Bruce Brodeen , who picked up the CD for distribution through his Not Lame catalog.  "If it weren't for Not Lame I don't know what we would have done," Troy states.  "Bruce has been great."  No doubt that's a sentiment that many other bands would share as well.

Having achieved the important milestone of releasing their first CD, The Hippycrickets are not resting on their laurels, but continuing to work on improving their live act, building a following, and writing new material.

Since the recording of Inconceivable!!!, Trey Hollingsworth has taken over the band's ever-changing bass slot and the band has expanded to a four-piece with the addition of Steve Baskin on lead guitar and backing vocals.  The expanded lineup strengthens the bands instrumental attack onstage, and frees Rory from lead guitar duties to concentrate more on singing.

Like most bands playing original material, The Hippycrickets face an uphill battle getting gigs and building a following.  "It's a catch-22 situation," Rory says.  "You can't play unless you have a following and you can't build a following unless you play…People have lost their passion for music.  People don't go out and actively seek music."

The band recently played a successful gig with Who Hit John, and hope to continue to network with Who Hit John and other like-minded bands to help link up pop fans and pull the pop audience together.

Rory continues to try to grow as a songwriter and The Hippycrickets currently have a lot of new material that they hope to record.  "I usually can write better when I'm low, you know, I'm really down," he says.  "What I'm trying to head toward is more happy, upbeat stuff, rather than downer stuff.  I want to grow more as a writer and write more positive things that people can kind of latch onto."

In closing Rory states: "We don't want to change the world, just make it a little more fun."  No doubt the bands would agree that they already have.