The Hoolapoppers were formed in August of 1999, in John McClain's Royal Oak basement. Rock trivia buffs will note the borrowed name. The original Hoolapoppers were, of course, a wildly popular Hawaiian jazz combo whose career ended tragically in 1968, when their plane was shot down while on a USO tour of South Vietnam. The new Hoolapoppers are a traditional rock outfit, in that they eschew keyboards and female backup singers. Their sound is timeless and often tuneless, but never toothless. They draw upon the existentialist alienation of Jean Paul Sartre, the comedic genius of Spiro T. Agnew, the pop attitude of 60's and 80's rock, and the bank account of their gainfully employed guitarist. The Hoolapoppers believe In God, root for the Tigers, frown on the constraints of the Political Correctness movement, and all had closed head injuries as children. But enough about that, let's meet the band! John McLain's parents were Belgian missionaries who settled in Michigan after meeting in Borneo in the early 1960's. His father was and remains a fundamentalist minister, making illicit his mother's secret love of the Beatles. John was born in 1965 and named after John Lennon and John the Baptist, the only name both his parents could agree to. He works as an exterminator by day and this has led to his colorful nickname within the band, 'Johnny Flea-bomb.' He plays guitar, mouth organ, and tambourine. John prefers the tambourine, as it rarely breaks or needs tuning. Paul Haines is the drummer for the band. He was born on a farm in Nebraska in 1967. He first showed a knack for music at age 5, when he ignored the cows and began pounding on empty milk pails. His father beat him for this. At age 16 he bought his first drum kit, and really began to attract notice two years later, when he bought his first sticks. His father beat him again. Among his professed influences are Gene Krupa, John Bonham, and Sheila E. A rabbinical student, he frequently assists with ritual circumcisions. Among his fellow clergy and band mates, Paul is known as 'Skins'. Jason Bowes plays bass for the band. He is currently in the FBI's Witness Relocation Program, so little is known about his early life. He recently co-authored a book with Salman Rushdie about the funeral rites of Devil worshipers called 'The Satanic Hearses.' Heavily in debt after the book's sluggish sales, Jason was forced to earn a living as a musician, and came out of hiding last year to join the Hoolapoppers. His musical influences include Kraftwerk, Lee Atwater, and a once popular local act called the Cunning Linguists. It is believed he learned to play bass by watching old Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis movies, but the FBI will neither confirm nor deny this. He is called 'Chunky' for reasons best known to him and his proctologist. Ken Haas is the group's guitarist, also playing lap steel and clavichord. He has traveled widely. He speaks 6 foreign languages, and understands fully half that number. His singing and songwriting pay homage to the Who's John Entwhistle. This is reflected in the title of one of his early compositions, 'Empty Cans.' A licensed mechanic, Ken is called 'Clutch' by his friends, and 'you greasy f***' by his customers. Ken's musical influences include Lee Ving, Brian Setzer, and Painted Wlllie. He likes to play blues, but is forced to play pop. Thus the Hoolapoppers. Every so often, a band will come along and make you want to chuck everything, throw your hands in the air, and shout for joy. The Hoolapoppers are not that band. Yet some musical things defy description. They force you, the listener, to give pause and sort through the sounds in order to pick out the vibe that speaks to you. The Hoolapoppers are those things. They say a lot. Not to cater to or please everybody, but because the Hoolas have many voices and mine many veins. This explains their variety, profound energy, and yes, their creative tension. They make each other suffer for their art so you won't have to. No one knows how long it will last for these guys, or even if they have fun all the time. They make music because they have to. You will listen because you want to.
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