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We're Not Listening

To Heart - Hooligans!, pt. 5

There’s a saying that goes “quit while you’re ahead.” It’s normally said by people who are scared of falling into obscurity once their fame is over, and although it’s a saying that Hooligans! had followed, it wasn’t for that reason. There comes a point where you fall into routine. It doesn’t mean you hate the routine or want to stray away from it forever. It just means that you want to do something different.

There was a pretty good amount of collaboration and creativity when Hooligans! put out their final record, “In Summation” in 1999. Crammed full of 16 sunny songs that had a genuine positive outlook on healthy relationships and nostalgia, it seemed hard to believe that this record had come from a band that sang about the perception of reality nearly a decade beforehand. The truth was, Hooligans! knew their time was coming to a close.

Rai, Kenny, and Damon felt it in the way they had played their music as though it had become a boring routine. They were still the best of friends and knew each other inside and out, pulling each other out of ruts brought on by self-pity and deprecation that was bound to strike anybody regardless of background.

There was much more to life than music, and all of them knew it. The time they had spent onstage and in the studio was a great time, but what else was out there? The possibilities were endless. There was hope in their souls for once, and we’re not talking about the fake hope they showed in “We’re in Your Way.”

Rai had seen bands climb up ladders only to fall face-down from a lack of direction, and he wished he could help them sort things out. And although this move had somewhat gone against the DIY philosophy he worked so hard to uphold, he started his own record label in 1999 with high hopes of nurturing growth in musicians that were driven by motivation like he was.

He called it Not Listening Records, and God knows he didn’t listen to the people who told him he was a sellout. What was there to lose, anyway? He made a good living as a punk frontman. He had backup plans, and he had Annette, and he had two friends – Damon and Kenny – who understood the concept of true friendship.

It had taken a few months to take off, and it had all started with the signing of a five-piece cowpunk group from Gainesville. In the end, it grew to become so much more than that, and that was what made everything worth it in the end.
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Now it's on to Fire Motion. ;)