If there is one band tailor-made to host Wednesday's Rock Girl Pageant at Val Air Ballroom, it's Hinder.
The band is pretty much partying personified, known for sending scouts out at concerts looking for hot women to grace with VIP passes, and even being asked by their label to tone down the debauchery. Of course, that's the kind of news that screams of marketing, but what smart band wouldn't try to capitalize on that?
Frontman Austin Winkler sees Hinder's partying ways as something that would be happening even without the fame and fortune.
"Us five guys were this way before we got into the band. Once we got together and rolling, it made it like 100 times worse as far as excessive partying goes," Winkler said in a phone interview. "We wanted to establish that when you hear Hinder you think 'Oh yeah, the crazy guys who like to party and have no limits.' We've established that, and now it's more about the music."
The band's current focus is its third album, "All American Nightmare," due in stores early next month. The title track has been getting heavy radio play, and "Waking Up the Devil" was featured in "Saw 3D."
Songwriters Winkler and drummer Cody Hanson broke from their usual routine with the new album. Normally they only write a dozen or so songs for a release, but for "All American Nightmare," the pair wrote around 75.
“I couldn’t be happier with this record. It’s never been more us, as far as who we are as people,” Winkler said. “In the past, we recorded what the label asked us to write. This time we just kept writing and said 'OK, let’s pick the ones we think are the best and build the album.’”
Hinder broke through in early 2007 thanks to the hit “Lips of an Angel,” which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 40 chart. The hits “How Long” and “Use Me” followed. Winkler said he knew “Lips” was special when he first heard the recording, and the band saw its fan base grow thanks to the song and touring with Nickelback. Country star Jack Ingram even covered “Lips of an Angel,” though Winkler wasn’t impressed.
“It was interesting, but once I heard it I was like 'Aw man, it could have been way better,’” he said. “I was flattered. It was cool someone wanted to cut it so fast, but it wasn’t my favorite.”
The group has never been known for pleasing music critics, and Winkler recalled his favorite negative review of “Take it to the Limit”: “Take it to the garbage.” But he learned early on to shrug off criticisms and have a sense of humor. He’s not making Radiohead albums — he’s making music that makes people want to party.
“I’m getting to do what I love; if I can have one person dig it a bit, I don’t care who trashes it,” he said. “I’ll go on the Internet and look at the bad reviews and comments and at least they’re talking about us. Someone is taking time out of their day to rip on us.”
Lazer’s Rock Girl Pageant, featuring Hinder
With: My Darkest Days, Red Line Chemistry, Default
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Val Air Ballroom, 301 Ashworth Road, West Des Moines
Info: Go to ticketmaster.com
Details: Ten local women will compete for the title of Lazer’s Rock Girl, which includes $10,000 in cash, a year’s lease on an apartment, a new scooter and more. Hinder frontman Austin Winkler shared his thoughts on what makes for a good Rock Girl.
“The girl on the cover of our album and in our video, Jesse Lee Denning is our definition of a good rock girl. She’s covered head to toe in tattoos and has the same attitude we do. A good rock girl definitely doesn’t depend on just looks. You can’t go around acting better than everyone. You have to be able to blend in, shrug shit off and have fun.”