You don’t need us to tell you how cool Pierre Robert is. Anyone who’s ever encountered WMMR mainstay knows he’s the man—a man of the people, that is. On and off the air, this Pierre Robert is all about the listeners, which translates directly to his passion for music.
When it comes to local music, the Hooters have always been one of Robert’s favorite local bands. Headed by Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman, the seasoned rock quintet is a uniquely Main Line success story, cultivating its core early-’80s fan base at high school auditoriums and clubs throughout the western suburbs before exploding nationally with hits like “And We Danced” and “All You Zombies.” Last year’s Time Stand Still, is the Hooters’ first studio album in 14 years, and they continue to play to enthusiastic fans in the United States and Europe.
Pierre Robert recently sat down with Bazilian and Hyman at WMMR headquarters to resurrect old memories and, hopefully, make a few new ones.
Rob Hyman: Our first official gig was in 1980, so just do the math. It’s 28 years.
PR: With a little time off for good behavior, which everybody needs. Your last studio album was in 1993, so it’s been 15 years—give or take—between albums. That’s a nice space of time.
Eric Bazilian: It was enough time for hell to freeze over and melt.
EB: This was, actually. There were several false starts in between where, for whatever reason, the planets didn’t line up just right.
EB: It’s all of the above. I mean, I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you. [Laughs]
RH: I don’t think any two songs have the same genesis. A spark does start, and it could be a title or a fully realized piece. The other one chimes in, chipping away at it as a piece of clay to be molded. No matter how much time we have, it’s always the last two or three weeks when the heavy lifting gets done.
RH: Finishing the song to our satisfaction. We might live with it, and then there’s a deadline of mixing and mastering—or our manager screaming, “Where is the stupid record already?” That’s the heavy lifting; that’s the hard part.
RH: “I’m Alive” and “Time Stand Still” just seem like companions, and they definitely open the album in a great way. Their themes coexist well together, and the rhythms just feel like we’re back to the kind of music we play.
EB: Got any?
RH: Please call our manager. [Laughs] Well, we’re going back to Europe several times this summer, which has really been keeping the band alive. Now, with the new album, we’ve played New York; we just did shows down in D.C. and Virginia, and we’re spreading out a little. It’s funny because we have to reacquaint ourselves with the U.S. marketplace.
EB: That one goes back awhile. Actually, I wrote the original version in 2000. Rob had always liked that one, and he had some ideas about making it better. I think we really took it up a major notch.
EB: Yeah, well, you know, until you dare to go where no man has ever been before … At this point, that’s what we’ve always been doing, now more than ever.
RH: For me, the ones we’re playing live tend to really rise up. Every night, it’s a little bit different.
RH: It’s a perfect opener. “Time Stand Still” is another favorite to play live, too. Another is “Free Again,” which closes the record—and Eric had this idea of doing some extended jamming. It’s one of the things the band does really well, but it’s hard to capture on record. In the studio, everything gets down to a three- or four-minute song. “All You Zombies,” at six minutes, was a stretch.
EB: Yeah, I went to Atlantic City to see them, and I’d never seen them live. I was absolutely blown away. Rob and I got together, and we had a very concentrated period of a couple of weeks where we really did a lot of writing for this record. I said, “You know, I saw Skynyrd last night. We’ve got to write a song like that.” Go figure—and we did.
RH: It does. It’s like the ultimate garage-band song. We all grew up playing in garages or rec rooms. We were allowed to make noise in our house—my parents were good that way. We had a little scene going on, and we all did wear white jeans. Back then, the band uniform was important. We wore white jeans. We knew three chords. Nobody owned a car—you borrowed your ma’s. It was kind of my story … But it’s our story.