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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." Humhas notbeenconsistently 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,anddrummerJeff Kropp. Matt and Andy met at a cafe named Treno's, in Urbana, Illinois, where Andy worked. Discussionsabout music led to thetwoforming the nucleus of Hum. Matt had previously played in the local group We Ate Plato and waspresently a member ...read more

Hum is an American alternative rock band from Champaign, Illinois. They are best known for their 1995 radio hit "Stars." Humhas notbeenconsistently 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,anddrummerJeff Kropp. Matt and Andy met at a cafe named Treno's, in Urbana, Illinois, where Andy worked. Discussionsabout music led to thetwoforming the nucleus of Hum. Matt had previously played in the local group We Ate Plato and waspresently a member of HonchoOverload;Andy had performed in the semi-serious live band Obvious Man and had studioexperience with Designer Mustard Gas.The groupperformed at Akis' basement for their initial months. Due to a suggestionfrom 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 drummerbefore overhearing Bryan St. Pere playingalong to a Rush record out of his apartment window and recruiting him.This line-up was not to lastlong, though, as Akis lefthome for Greece in 1990. Local musician Joe Futrelle, who played with Andy inDesigner Mustard Gas joined briefly,beforeleaving for more serious musical pursuits, and was replaced by Rod Van Huis, also of SteakDaddy Six. Due to personalreasons, heamicably split the band, and went on to perform in the Great Crusades. With the addition of Balthazar"Baltie" deLay, of the band Mother (laterMenthol), the band recorded their first demo in famous engineer Steve Albini's basementinChicago, Illinois.The band recorded eight songs infirst or second takes, with only vocal overdubs, and had an official demoto shop around, named Is LikeKissing an Angel (She Said). At thispoint, the group's primary singer, guitarist, and songwriterwas Andy, and that remained the case whentheir first album, Fillet Show, wasreleased by local label 12 Inch Records in1991. The album features a faster, heavy sound somewherebetween punk music and heavy metal,with more overt politicaland humorous material than the later oblique lyrics that Matt Talbott wouldwrite.Pressure grew on Baltie to focus hiseffortson Mother and other pursuits, so he too left on good terms with the other members of Hum. Leftwithout a bassist again, MattsuggestedJeff Dimpsey, his bandmate in Honcho Overload. In that group, and during his brief stint with thePoster Children,Jeff played guitar and Mattactually played bass, but the transition was smooth, and the band recorded two singles,"HelloKitty"/"Roar, I'm a Tiger" and "Sundress/TimeIs Melting", the former on 12 Inch, and the latter on the new Champaign-based label MudRecords. Around this time, the Champaign scenestarted to coalesce with members of one band joining upwith members of another to forman indefinite amount of one-off side projects, andthe Parasol Records distribution companyhelped promote local acts nationally andbrought in alternative music to record stores in Champaign,Illinois.In the interimbetween these singles and the next album, creative differences grew between members of the band, and Andyleft.Theremaining members recruited a local fan named Tim Lash, almost a decade their junior, to play guitar. His previousexperience hadbeen in aspeed metal group The Grand Vizars (with Joe Ludwinski from Scurvine and Matt Friedburger from theFiery Furnaces), and oncecasuallyremarked to the band after a show that if they ever needed a guitarist, they could givehim 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 albumwasreleased in its first two pressings by 12 Inch Records and distributed through Cargo Records. The lyrics werefar more non. linearandconceptual, 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 ofRCA Records. The band was signed, and hookedupwith local club owner and sometimes-musician Ward Gollings as tourmanager. They switched to producer Keith Cleversley for their major-label debut You'd Prefer an Astronaut in 1995. Thealbum would produce their biggest hit, the single "Stars", with promotional appearancesonSpace Ghost: Coast to Coast, andThe 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 theyear 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 albumcame 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 bandonly sold 30,000 copies by the end of the year.Around this time, the band missed out onan opportunity to record livefavorite the Police's "Invisible Sun" for the X-Files: Fight the Futurefilm soundtrack. At the last minute, Sting andAswaddecided to record a reggae cover, keeping the band from a large potential fan base. Dueto disappointing sales, and largerecord labelmergers, the band was dropped from their contract in 2000. While touring in Canada, theband's van got into aminor accident, signaling thelast straw. They played their final shows in 2000 on December 29 in St. Louis, MissouriandDecember 31 in Chicago, Illinois.

Matt went on to form Centaur with local musicians Derek Niedringhaus and Jim Kelly. The former had been in Castor andSarge, who hadbeenproduced by Matt, and the latter was involved with Parasol and drummed in 16 Tons and Love Cup. Todate, only one album has beenreleased,In Streams, on the Martians Go Home label, set up by the band themselves to releasethe vinyl version of "Downward IsHeavenward" and there-release of Electra 2000 on CD. A second is being produced. Mattproduces in his studio Great Western Recorders,now Earth Analog Recordsand has started a family. He also teaches at aprivate university in central Illinois. Matt is also currentlycontributing to Open Hand, on TrustkillRecords, and contributedvocals to First Days of Spring from the Neverending White Lights albumAct 1: Goodbye Friends of the HeavenlyBodiesreleased in 2005.Jeff resurrected a side-project from 1997, National Skyline with Jeff Garber, also of Castor. This outfit putout a self-titled album, the ep ExitNow, and a second full-length, This = Everything. The band was also featured on theParasol compilation SweetSixteen, Volume 2. Hemoved to Texas to pursue his career. Jeff is currently playing with Adam Fein(Absinthe Blind) in a new band calledGazelle. Their debutalbum, 'Sunblown', is available via Parasol Records.Tim has played infour groups after Hum, the electronic duo Gliftedwith T. J. Harrison of Love Cup, Balisong, a heavy rock trio withlocalmusicians Eric Steckler and Joe Ludwinski, as well as a mysteriousunnamed sports rock trio with the legendary JohnnyChancellor and Mr.Franklin Wahler. To date, Glifted have released Under and In onMartians Go Home. A followup album wasreported to be in production byLash, but in 2008 he confirmed that Glifted was no more. Balisongnever recorded anything,but played a few live shows in Champaign. Timis currently working with Joe Ludwinski (Scurvine, The Grand Vizars),and JasonMilam (Scurvine, Lovecup) on a new project called AlphaMile. Alpha Mile played their first show in December 2008 at theHighdive inChampaign. Alpha Mile has been recording off and on, and hopeto have an album out in 2010. The 2009 PygmalionMusic Festival featured setsfrom both Gazelle and Alpha Mile. This was Gazelle's debutlive show.Bryan has largely quit music,and is rumored to have taken up residencein Indiana in the pharmaceutical industry. He also has a familytoday. « hide

Similar Bands: The Smashing Pumpkins, Jawbox, Shiner, Quicksand, Failure

Downward Is Heavenward
1997

4.3
291 Votes
You'd Prefer an Astronaut
1995

4.1
344 Votes
Electra 2000
1993

3.5
80 Votes
Fillet Show
1991

2.8
23 Votes

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