The Hooters

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Philadelphia's leading musical ambassadors in the 1980s, The Hooters have been together 38 years as a band.

In 2007 Philadelphia musical hometown heroes The Hooters began a tradition of playing a show around here each autumn. 

After attaining international stardom beginning in 1985, it was like coming full circle. When the ska, folk, reggae and rock 'n' roll-fusing band first burst onto the local music scene in 1980, The Hooters built their following playing the Philly clubs, along with most of the high schools in the region. 

For the last four years, their fall homecoming show has been performed at Glenside's Keswick Theatre. "It's a great old venue. There's a lot of history (there), and you can feel it," founding vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rob Hyman said in a phone interview.  

When reminded that the Keswick will soon be celebrating its 90th anniversary (with a Dec. 28 concert by Hooters drummer David Uosikkinen's all-star side project In The Pocket), Hyman said: "God bless 'em. We're gonna be 40 (years together as a band). When they hit 100, we'll be (almost) 50. We played the clubs and standing venues, the Tower, the (Electric) Factory. As the audience aged along with us, the Keswick Theatre is the perfect place. The sound is good and the feel is intimate ... nice big stage."

As for the songs they'll play during back to back nights at the Keswick, "the set keeps evolving," said Hyman. "We're constantly looking back, as well as looking ahead. We have to be excited about it so we're not going through the motions." 

The band's last studio release was the 2010 EP "Five by Five," and notably included new Hooters versions of "One of Us," a top-10, Grammy-nominated hit that singer/multi-instrumentalist Eric Bazilian wrote for Joan Osborne, and "Time After Time," a No. 1 hit in 1984 that Hyman co-wrote with Cyndi Lauper. 

"We did most of the backing music on 'She's So Unusual.' I did the keyboards, Eric did the guitars," Hyman said. But then producer Rick Chertoff told them that Lauper's soon-to-be debut album needed one more song. 

Unlike the album's other nine tracks, "Time After Time" did not get a rough-draft demo recording. "We wrote it pretty quickly, no demo. Basically what you hear is the demo. The vocal was the first or second take. We did 10 demos for 'Girls Just Want to Have Fun,' the Robert Hazard song. It went through a lot of changes," he said.   

Hyman and Bazilian's work with Lauper paved the way to getting The Hooters signed to Columbia Records; leading to the opening set at the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia; being pronounced Best New Band of 1985 by "Rolling Stone;" sharing the stage with U2, The Police, Bryan Adams, Lou Reed and Peter Gabriel at the 1986 Amnesty International Concert at Giants Stadium; and being part of Roger Waters' 1990 multimedia extravaganza "'The Wall' — Live in Berlin," alongside Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, The Band and Sinead O'Connor. 

This year marks the 35th anniversary of The Hooters' recorded debut, "Amore," a do-it-yourself album that sold more than 100,000 copies — an extraordinary feat back in the '80s. "We financed it ourselves and put it together ourselves. A lot of fans say it's their favorite album," Hyman noted, hinting that there would be a healthy representation from "Amore" onstage at the Keswick.

"Amore" is notable for featuring the original versions of the signature songs "All You Zombies," "Hanging on a Heartbeat," "Fightin' on the Same Side" and "Blood from a Stone," all which would reappear in different versions on later albums.

When asked if there was any potential new music from The Hooters, he said: "That's the million-dollar question. Let's say we're meditating on it."

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