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Hum

Hum is an American alternative rock band from Champaign, Illinois. They are best known for their 1995 radio hit "Stars." Hum has not beenconsistently active as a recording or touring group since 2000.

The initial line-up of the band formed in 1989, with guitarist Andy Switzky, guitarist Matt Talbott, bass guitarist Akis Boyatzis, and drummerJeff Kropp. Matt and Andy met at a cafe named Treno's, in Urbana, Illinois, where Andy worked. Discussions about music led to the twoforming the nucleus of Hum. Matt had previously played in the local group We Ate Plato and was presently a me ...read more

Hum is an American alternative rock band from Champaign, Illinois. They are best known for their 1995 radio hit "Stars." Hum has not beenconsistently active as a recording or touring group since 2000.

The initial line-up of the band formed in 1989, with guitarist Andy Switzky, guitarist Matt Talbott, bass guitarist Akis Boyatzis, and drummerJeff Kropp. Matt and Andy met at a cafe named Treno's, in Urbana, Illinois, where Andy worked. Discussions about music led to the twoforming the nucleus of Hum. Matt had previously played in the local group We Ate Plato and was presently a member of Honcho Overload;Andy had performed in the semi-serious live band Obvious Man and had studio experience with Designer Mustard Gas.The group performed at Akis' basement for their initial months. Due to a suggestion from Rick Valentin of Poster Children, the band chosethe name Hum (over contenders like Grendel's Arm, Pod, and Feedbag), an intentional vague description of their sound, and went through asecond drummer before overhearing Bryan St. Pere playing along to a Rush record out of his apartment window and recruiting him.This line-up was not to last long, though, as Akis left home for Greece in 1990. Local musician Joe Futrelle, who played with Andy inDesigner Mustard Gas joined briefly, before leaving for more serious musical pursuits, and was replaced by Rod Van Huis, also of SteakDaddy Six. Due to personal reasons, he amicably split the band, and went on to perform in the Great Crusades. With the addition of Balthazar"Baltie" de Lay, of the band Mother (later Menthol), the band recorded their first demo in famous engineer Steve Albini's basement inChicago, Illinois.The band recorded eight songs in first or second takes, with only vocal overdubs, and had an official demo to shop around, named Is LikeKissing an Angel (She Said). At this point, the group's primary singer, guitarist, and songwriter was Andy, and that remained the case whentheir first album, Fillet Show, was released by local label 12 Inch Records in 1991. The album features a faster, heavy sound somewherebetween punk music and heavy metal, with more overt political and humorous material than the later oblique lyrics that Matt Talbott wouldwrite.Pressure grew on Baltie to focus his efforts on Mother and other pursuits, so he too left on good terms with the other members of Hum. Leftwithout a bassist again, Matt suggested Jeff Dimpsey, his bandmate in Honcho Overload. In that group, and during his brief stint with thePoster Children, Jeff played guitar and Matt actually played bass, but the transition was smooth, and the band recorded two singles, "HelloKitty"/"Roar, I'm a Tiger" and "Sundress/Time Is Melting", the former on 12 Inch, and the latter on the new Champaign-based label MudRecords. Around this time, the Champaign scene started to coalesce with members of one band joining up with members of another to forman indefinite amount of one-off side projects, and the Parasol Records distribution company helped promote local acts nationally andbrought in alternative music to record stores in Champaign, Illinois.In the interim between these singles and the next album, creative differences grew between members of the band, and Andy left. Theremaining members recruited a local fan named Tim Lash, almost a decade their junior, to play guitar. His previous experience had been in aspeed metal group The Grand Vizars (with Joe Ludwinski from Scurvine and Matt Friedburger from the Fiery Furnaces), and once casuallyremarked to the band after a show that if they ever needed a guitarist, they could give him a call.

The classic lineup of the band was in place, and the quartet headed to Idful Studios with Brad Wood producing Electra 2000. The album wasreleased in its first two pressings by 12 Inch Records and distributed through Cargo Records. The lyrics were far more non-linear andconceptual, and introduced some of the space and science imagery that would dominate later songs. The album produced no singles, butdue in no small part to distribution by Parasol, caught the attention of representative of RCA Records. The band was signed, and hooked upwith local club owner and sometimes-musician Ward Gollings as tour manager. They switched to producer Keith Cleversley for their major-label debut You'd Prefer an Astronaut in 1995. The album would produce their biggest hit, the single "Stars", with promotional appearanceson Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, and The Howard Stern Show.

The album swiftly sold 250,000 copies, and Hum played their largest dates promoting the record. Further singles "The Pod" and thepromotional "I'd Like Your Hair Long" failed to generate much interest, and the band spent much of the rest of the year and 1996 on theroad. In late 1997, they teamed with Mark Rubel at Pogo Studios to record their fourth album, Downward Is Heavenward.The biggest promotion for the album came with an appearance on Modern Rock Live on January 25, 1998, and the album was released inFebruary. Singles "Green to Me" and "Comin' Home" were promotional-only, and the band only sold 30,000 copies by the end of the year.Around this time, the band missed out on an opportunity to record live favorite the Police's "Invisible Sun" for the X-Files: Fight the Futurefilm soundtrack. At the last minute, Sting and Aswad decided to record a reggae cover, keeping the band from a large potential fan base. Dueto disappointing sales, and large record label mergers, the band was dropped from their contract in 2000. While touring in Canada, theband's van got into a minor accident, signaling the last straw. They played their final shows in 2000 on December 29 in St. Louis, Missouriand December 31 in Chicago, Illinois.

Matt went on to form Centaur with local musicians Derek Niedringhaus and Jim Kelly. The former had been in Castor and Sarge, who hadbeen produced by Matt, and the latter was involved with Parasol and drummed in 16 Tons and Love Cup. To date, only one album has beenreleased, In Streams, on the Martians Go Home label, set up by the band themselves to release the vinyl version of "Downward IsHeavenward" and the re-release of Electra 2000 on CD. A second is being produced. Matt produces in his studio Great Western Recorders,now Earth Analog Records and has started a family. He also teaches at a private university in central Illinois. Matt is also currentlycontributing to Open Hand, on Trustkill Records, and contributed vocals to First Days of Spring from the Neverending White Lights albumAct 1: Goodbye Friends of the Heavenly Bodies released in 2005.Jeff resurrected a side-project from 1997, National Skyline with Jeff Garber, also of Castor. This outfit put out a self-titled album, the ep ExitNow, and a second full-length, This = Everything. The band was also featured on the Parasol compilation Sweet Sixteen, Volume 2. Hemoved to Texas to pursue his career. Jeff is currently playing with Adam Fein (Absinthe Blind) in a new band called Gazelle. Their debutalbum, 'Sunblown', is available via Parasol Records.Tim has played in four groups after Hum, the electronic duo Glifted with T. J. Harrison of Love Cup, Balisong, a heavy rock trio with localmusicians Eric Steckler and Joe Ludwinski, as well as a mysterious unnamed sports rock trio with the legendary Johnny Chancellor and Mr.Franklin Wahler. To date, Glifted have released Under and In on Martians Go Home. A followup album was reported to be in production byLash, but in 2008 he confirmed that Glifted was no more. Balisong never recorded anything, but played a few live shows in Champaign. Timis currently working with Joe Ludwinski (Scurvine, The Grand Vizars), and Jason Milam (Scurvine, Lovecup) on a new project called AlphaMile. Alpha Mile played their first show in December 2008 at the Highdive in Champaign. Alpha Mile has been recording off and on, and hopeto have an album out in 2010. The 2009 Pygmalion Music Festival featured sets from both Gazelle and Alpha Mile. This was Gazelle's debutlive show.Bryan has largely quit music, and is rumored to have taken up residence in Indiana in the pharmaceutical industry. He also has a familytoday. « hide

Similar Bands: The Smashing Pumpkins, Spiritualized, Shiner, Centaur, Failure

Downward Is Heavenward
1997

4.3
176 Votes
You'd Prefer an Astronaut
1995

4.1
207 Votes
Electra 2000
1993

3.4
46 Votes
Fillet Show
1991

3.2
9 Votes

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