On Thursday April 14 at Party on the Paseo, UTSA was treated to the sounds of a musical foursome who’s started a buzz in Texas that cannot be ignored.
Comprised mainly of UTSA students and alumni, The Hooch has coined the term “rock and tumble” for their transitional style of alternative rock music. Each of their songs combines different genres from Americana to progressive.
The band is fronted by senior communication major, Taylor James on guitar, keyboard, and lead vocals. The Port Arthur native is joined by bassist and hometown friend, Joseph Dupuis; lead guitarist and senior public relations major, Mitch Stuart from Austin; and UTSA alumnus and San Antonio’s own, Cody O’dell on drums and vocals.
The band has been playing together for a little over two years and has steadily received exposure and accolades around San Antonio and Texas.
“I started out in a couple of bands in south east Texas and when I came to San Antonio, I met Mitch by a random chance,” James said, recalling his first interactions with his band mates. “He was hitting on an ex-girlfriend and he told her that he knew how to play really good guitar solos and she was like ‘well you need to meet my boyfriend’.”
Dupuis came to San Antonio after Hurricane Ike devastated the Galveston and Houston areas in 2008. “We found Cody singing karaoke at a bar and we approached him and asked if he wanted to sing for the band,” James said. “He came over and said ‘by the way I play drums too’ so we have dual singers.”
The Hooch started out as a cover band playing venues around the San Antonio area. They have been playing original music for about a year and a half, touring cities like Austin, College Station and Houston.
“Our first show was Battle of the Bands at Espana in 2009,” Dupuis said. “It was terrible. We came in third out of five bands for our first live performance but our first real gig was at the After Burner. They paid us in money and beer.”
Since then, The Hooch has appeared on FOX WOAI’s Garage TV, and has received radio airtime in various Texas cities. Their debut album, The Whiskey Policy, was released on Jan. 21 and the band was also featured in Raw Deal Production’s SXSW show this past March.
Aside from making music, members of The Hooch spend much of their time together; camping, hunting and experimenting with new music styles. After Stuart and James graduate in May, The Hooch plans to eventually move to Austin and continue touring around Texas, keeping true to their “rock and tumble” originality.
“Touring and having a very regional fan base in Texas are a top priority,” Stuart said. “We need to tackle the Texas region first and then release a second album before we think of expanding beyond that.”
The Hooch’s next performance will be at Night Rocker: Live at 605 San Pedro Avenue for Stand Up and Rock, an event which combines rock music with stand-up comedy, on Thursday, April 28. Cody O’dell will be performing his stand up routine as well as offering his vocal and drum talents for The Hooch later on in the evening.