NEW YORK — When he has free time, Hinder’s Austin Winkler reads rock biographies — the trashier, the better.
While books like Nikki Sixx’s “The Heroin Diaries” may be written as a cautionary tale, Winkler looks at the debauchery of ’80s bands like Sixx’s Motley Crue and Guns N’ Roses with a sense of nostalgia, and is determined to bring that reckless abandon back with his own group, song by song.
Hinder’s sophomore CD, “Take It to the Limit,” is a good effort. While they offer a PG-version, there are also R-rated and X-rated versions available — and Winkler says the most graphic version “is the record that you want, I promise you that.”
During a break from rehearsals for a recent performance for U.S. troops, the singer talked about why the party lifestyle is so integral to Hinder’s profile, getting hate from critics, and why rock has changed.
AP: You had a slow rise. Did you ever wonder if it was going to come with “Extreme Behavior,” which went double platinum?
Winkler: We definitely hit the road and it seemed like we were out there forever before we saw like any kind of real fan base going on, but I definitely had my doubts a little bit. Originally, (the single) “Lips of an Angel,” the label didn’t want it on the record. We knew what a monster that was and basically the fans did too and made it a huge success.
AP: It also was a success on the country charts when it was done by Jack Ingram. What did you think of that version?
Winkler: (silence, then laughter).
Winkler: Silence is golden!
AP: But it does speak to the quality of the record that you can take it to different genres.
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Winkler: Absolutely, and having country fans would be enormous for us, especially because that’s one of the biggest markets you can hit.
AP: Besides money and fame, what else did success bring you?
Winkler: Definitely a whole lot of knowledge about how this music business works, and it’s really (messed) up. Whenever you go into it and you think you know a little bit about it, and it’s totally not what you expected it at all. It’s a whole lot of work and it’s a 24-7 job, for sure. Especially the road too, you always heard stories about what the road would be like, I’ve read “The Dirt” (by Motley Crue) twice, and until you actually get out there, once you get out there, everything you hear and see about rock ’n’ roll, it’s like, times it by 10 — it’s just crazy.
AP: You talk about bringing sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll back into the music. Do you think that you’ve been able to accomplish your goal?
Winkler: I absolutely think we’ve got a good start on it, that’s for sure. People are afraid to push the limits today, and that’s not what we grew up watching, we grew watching Guns N’ Roses on MTV and that influenced us and inspired us as musicians and wanting to be a part of that lifestyle. I mean, it feels like they were having an amazing time and they were playing stadiums. At the time, rock was the biggest genre of music out there, bar none.
AP: You talk about wanting to party, but of course there are the cautionary tales of Amy Winehouse, and Nikki Sixx wrote a book about how devastating that lifestyle was. Are you ever concerned with taking it too far?
Winkler: Well, you know, we’re very young, and (we’ve) got a lot to learn about that for sure, but right now, it’s just not the time.
AP: How has marriage changed things for you?
Winkler: It definitely hasn’t changed things as far as the band goes; we’re still amazingly tight and we still go out there and rip every night, and do our things, but it’s a good thing that I’m married, I promise.
AP: What’s the best part of being married?
Winkler: Basically just having a person there at the end of the day, and to fall on whenever you need to. And she’s really (expletive) hot.
AP: What do you like about rock books?
Winkler: It’s absolutely mind-blowing what they got away with in the ’80s, and maybe that’s a part of the reason why rock isn’t pushing the limits anymore, because maybe they are scared that it could get that way again and it could get out of control like it was in the ’80s.
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AP:You have had a lot of success but get scorn from critics. Do you wish you could win them over?
Winkler: Honestly it doesn’t bother me. Our fans love us and we’ve got the best fans in the world.
AP: Why do you think there’s that disconnect between critics and fans?
Winkler: I guess because we’re on the radio, I don’t know (laughs). I guess because we’re selling records and they’re listening to records.
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