PORTLAND, Maine — When it comes to crowd capacity, the Asylum sports bar, grill and nightclub will never be confused with Madison Square Garden or even the Bangor Auditorium.
But that’s not only fine, it’s preferential for the rocking, five-man band from Oklahoma City known as Hinder continuing its “Welcome to the Freakshow” tour promoting their fourth studio album of the same name.
“Aw man, we love doing small shows and venues. It’s like a big, dirty rock festival,” said Cody Hanson, drummer, songwriter and founding member. “It feels a little like a party. We still try to keep venues as small as possible to keep the crowds more intimate.”
It should be that, along with hot and energized as fans ages 18 and up pack the nightclub portion of The Asylum to see opening act Nonpoint, which is scheduled to take the stage at 9 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and Hinder.
Hinder originated after Hanson joined up with singer Austin Winkler and guitarist Joe Garvey joined up in 2001, and then later added rhythm guitarist Mike Rodden and bass guitarist Mark King in 2005 to complete its current lineup.
Four studio albums — one a triple platinum (more than 3 million sold) and one gold (more than 100,000) — and a No. 3 Billboard hit single (“Lips of an Angel”) later, Hinder has been inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame and is a known commodity internationally.
And while that has changed a lot of things for the band members, it hasn’t changed their affinity for music.
“I actually enjoy the creation part of the music a little bit more now, but there are aspects of touring I still really enjoy, like talking with the fans,” said Hanson, “We like to go back in and be around the venue and sample the local flavor.”
When they were first embarking on their wildly successful “Extreme Behavior” tour, some of Portland’s local flavor didn’t taste very good for at least one band member.
“We’ve been to Maine several times. The one thing I really remember is our bass player [King] was having a good time back in the RV days [when they toured in a rented RV] after playing a little club up there somewhere,” Hanson recalled with a chuckle. “He had no pants on and the Kelly Clarkson show had just let out, and people were walking by banging on our RV, and he got pissed off and came out to yell out at everyone.”
Hanson said King was quite surprised to see such a large crowd of people that late at night, and anyone within line of sight was surprised to see saw a whole lot more of King than they were expecting.
Hanson said the success, fame and fortune that goes along with hitting it big in the music business is definitely not a bad thing, but there are certain things he misses about the days before they became widely popular.
“It’s funny you mention that. Things aren’t always the same from the outside looking in,” he said. “I really miss how we used to get together and just play music for fun and jam.
“Now it’s kind of a job with the writing, rehearsing, recording and touring, and then doing it all over just like that.”
“It’s a job, you know? So you don’t get to do it for fun as much,” added Hanson, who said he does still get a chance to have fun producing at his home studio, where he writes and produces songs for other artists.
Hanson said life on the road can be difficult, especially when it comes to finding ways to pass the time between shows and sleep.
“To be honest, I do a lot of drinking,” he said with a laugh. “That’s pretty much all you can do. You’re pretty much stuck on a tour bus until you manage to find a good place to eat.”
After placing their first two albums in the top 10 — “Extreme Behavior” was No. 6 on the U.S. charts and “Take it to the Limit” was No. 4 — Hinder hit a bump in the road as “All American Nightmare” peaked at No. 37 nationwide, but was No. 1 on the U.S. alternative album charts in 2010. The peak spot for “Welcome to the Freak Show” so far is 65 (No. 8 for alternative).
That’s fine with Hanson as long as the group’s progression continues.
“I think musically for sure we’ve matured and grown up a little bit, although definitely not as adults,” he said.