By Anne Wycoff
What’s in a name? Mother Hips gave Chico some home-grown warmth during a recent haunt to their local roots. Though their name has been a bit of an urban myth, The Mother Hips of Chico have always been generous in returning to their humble beginnings and remembering just where they came from.
In ‘91, Mother Hips got their start as a Chico State dorm band with Tim Bluhm [vocals, guitar], Greg Loiacano [guitar, vocals], Paul Hoaglin [bass] and John Hofer [Drums], returning to rekindle their roots at the El Rey in Chico on August 1, ‘09. Tim Bluhm and Greg Loiacano met in the dorms at Chico State, listening to each other play guitar. Their first name was called Alley and the Cats, named after a girl Tim once dated.
The band has been the little band from Chico who could (signing with Rik Rubin with American Recordings and in six short years went from being a college band to opening for Johnny Cash) and in ‘97, the foursome moved from their Chestnut St. dorm house to the Bay Area, performing in larger houses all over the nation.
Not fans of small talk, Mother Hips bounded onto the El Rey stage, belting out songs from their six albums and radio tracks. Chico gave them a warm welcome as an eclectic mix of fans; ranging from toddlers dancing on the stage to seventy-year-old fans, jockeyed for their spot in the mosh pit.
“When the young people stop coming,” remarks Tim Bluhm during an earlier interview, “Then it’s time to stop performing.” The Hips slid effortlessly into four harmonies evoking pop, country and rock movement into the audience.
As the concert progressed from one magical song to another, the fans sang and moved to the familiar lyrics. The Mother Hips took fans from the “Green Hills of Earth” to “The Shootout” (one can really hear the influences of Gram Parsons and Merle Haggard in this album) over to a song from their new album, to be released, “Pacific Dust” and then “Back To The Grotto,” performing the last song of that evening, “Turtle Bones.”
Directly after the concert, The Mother Hips continued their liberality, signing autographs, CD’s and chatting with fans and family late into the night of the EL Rey Lobby. Check out the latest Mother Hips Concerts: http://www.motherhips.com/tour/index.htm. Their newest album, “Pacific Dust” is to be released Oct. 27, ’09.