Article By: Curt “Dudley” Miller
Originally Published In The March 2015 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Forget everything you know about tribute bands. Though Hairball does pay tribute to countless bands from the heyday of rock and metal, their shows are events in and of themselves. Every performance comes complete with multiple costume changes, extraordinary light shows, and pyrotechnics all combined to deliver far more than just the band’s perfectly recreated cover tunes. Hairball offers audiences a complete audio/visual experience capturing every moment of the original artists’ LIVE shows. Hairball’s performances are not just getting the attention of diehard music lovers. Those in the rock and metal community are taking notice, as well. On December 5, 2013, Hairball backed up several artists at the Brennan Rock & Roll Academy Fundraiser, an event supporting the academy’s initiative to provide musical education to children of the Boys & Girls Club. Performers featured at the fundraiser on-stage with Hairball included: Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer of KISS, Alice Cooper, Vince Neil, Rob Zombie, Dee Snider, Jack Blades, Joey Tempest and John Norum of Europe, Kip Winger, Stephen Pearcy, and Tom Keifer. Hairball’s monster LIVE performances, their huge, loyal following, and the recognition they’re getting from the very artists to whom they’re paying tribute made spending time getting the inside track on this one-of-a-kind band an absolute must.
CS: Every one of the songs you perform brings back fond memories. Hairball, in essence, performs the soundtrack of our lives. We all have rock and roll heroes. How does it feel to actually become your heroes?
HB: (Bobby) How cool is that, you know? You mean I get to be Gene Simmons and Alice Cooper and get chicks? (Laughing) I’m sorry; I’ve got to work tomorrow. When you’re a kid, you believe in Santa Claus. When you’re an adult, you believe in Hairball! We take you back to a time when you were making those memories. Rock and Roll is part of it. It’s a part of our lives. We’re not letting go of it. Just the opposite; in fact, we’re turning it up. (Blake) Turn it up loud and rip the knob off. (Happy) What Bobby said is absolutely true. Really, why should we grow up? Man, when things are this good, we’re living in denial all the way. We’re still there, back in the day. Santa Claus is alive and kicking!
CS: How and where did Hairball get together? How did the whole thing happen? What’s Hairball’s backstory?
HB: (Blake – the band’s only original member) The band started in 2001 and our first gig was in West Duluth, MN. (Laughing) I’m pretty sure we played to a crowd of at least dozens. (Bobby) You know; we don’t even know who we are, but it’s cool that we’ve had “real” artists want to come up on stage and play with us. We’ve done that as well as doing gigs, like Sturgis, where we’ve had an outstanding reception from the crowd. As a result, we’re looking to pick up every bike rally in the country. The world has taken notice and grabbed on to Hairball by the balls and they’re not letting go! (Happy) We’re online, so look us up. (Laughing) If you can’t find us, just ask your kid for some help. They all know how to use computers and will surely be able to find our website or Facebook page.
CS: We hear that you ride, Bobby. What kind of scoot do you have?
HB: (Bobby) I have a ’77 Shovelhead. Freaky rides, too. What do you ride, man? (Freaky) I ride a ’94 Springer with Heritage tins. You’ll never see another one anywhere. (Joe) I’ve got an ’86 Softail Springer. (Laughing) Hell yeah! Check it out. This place is starting to smell like high school.
CS: During the winter months, the motorcycle rallies take a bit of a break until Daytona Bike Week in March. Where and when can audiences catch the band during the rally off-season?
HB: (Bobby) After the Lone Star Rally, we’ll be doing a show in Deadwood, then another at the casino in Morton, MN for New Years. We like to do a lot of casino shows during the winter months, and are looking to be in Daytona for Bike Week in March!
CS: Sturgis was a pretty epic performance for Hairball. What’s the biggest gig you’ve done?
HB: (Bobby) Check this out. Let’s go back to Sturgis for just a second. The past few years we’ve been there, we’re the only band with an airplane flying around towing a sign with our name behind it … “Hairball and Easy Riders!” That puts us above the “real” bands. We’re lucky, we’re blessed, and we’re not stopping! So, f#@k you, world!
CS: We were absolutely blown away when we saw Hairball perform four years ago, then, again, and again. Before long, we became part of the crazy, fan-following that shows up at your events. It’s a real blast!
HB: (Freaky) (Laughing) Oh that was you! (Bobby) The one thing people should know about us is we’re no Rock of Ages show. We’re not a Broadway act. We’re real rock and rollers and, beneath it all, it’s the real deal. We haven’t grown up, so there you go. Why should we?
CS: Your LIVE concerts are a tour de force of entertainment with one band’s material after the next. How many acts do you typically cover in any given show?
HB: (Bobby) Let’s see, about sixteen or seventeen at least.
CS: There’s little question that Hairball is a fantastic, fun, and talented band. Though I hate to use this term, their shows really are epic! Hairball: One band. One show. Every band you’ve every wanted to see LIVE in concert on the same night, at the same venue, all done to a standard of excellence not often matched. I think Happy said it best when he commented, “Wait! Before we go. The world needs more Santa Claus! I like Santa Claus!” Me too, Happy, and you’ll find a great deal of the magic of Santa Claus in the band, Hairball!