"We bullied Hootie and each Blowfish, and we liked how it felt, so we didn’t stop. We laughed them out of the game for no good reason, while we let Dave Matthews Band continue kicking around the same hacky sack for their next few albums. We shamed them in a way we never did Counting Crows, and to this day Adam Duritz walks the earth with a hairdo that answers the question: what if a fireworks display could be brown?"
- Dave Holmes, Esquire magazine, January 2019.
It always seemed like those who supported H&tB were the same ones to turn on them when it was deemed no longer cool to like 'em. But here's the thing: they were never cool. Talented and hugely popular? Sure. But they were never cool. Regardless, they were singled out for being bland and/or hokey when there were, as Holmes points out, plenty of other guilty parties out there who did not suffer the same fate. (Dishwalla?)
One could argue H&tB were a reflection of their followers: folks who were, as most young people are, preoccupied with notions of cool but, not knowing how to discern this elusive designation in the middle of the 1990s alternative nation, latched onto something they could readily identify with, only to later find out it was the uncoolest strain of them all and eventually bailed.
But time has a way of blurring memories, burying shame and enabling the embracing of nostalgia, as we've seen with the throes of middle aged women attending New Kids on the Block concerts in the 21st century. And judging by recent developments one assumes Holmes' mea culpa might be unnecessary: the Blowfish are touring this summer and playing venues like NYC's Madison Square Garden and the Hollywood Bowl, so this is not has-beens embarking on a low-key, low rent affair.
Again, Hootie and the Blowfish were never cool and will never be more than an outfit which put out bland, ably performed pop/rock. But now, as their fans have gotten older, they get to acknowledge that and still enjoy them just the same. Good for them.