Laguna Niguel brothers Anton (guitar/vocals) and Alan Hoetker (bass/vocals) of Orange Blossom Special have two chores to take care of during their current respite from the road: record their first full-length record, and find a permanent lead guitarist and drummer to take back on tour with them. In the meantime, the group plan to rock out locally. Combining '70s FM-radio sounds with a '90s SoCal punk edge, Orange Blossom Special concoct straight-ahead, verse-chorus-solo songs built to resonate at whiskey bars and festival grounds across the country.
OC Weekly: When did you two decide to get serious with the band?
Anton Hoetker: We have been working on music since high school. What started out as a fun release and a way to channel everyday frustrations turned into songs and shows and set us in a new direction based on making music. The past two years, we've been focusing all our efforts on making sure the songs are the best they can be and making a push on a national level.
Did you name the band after the Johnny Cash song?
The song happened to come on while we were brainstorming band names having to do with or about a train. Orange Blossom Special just had a great ring to it, and we felt like it didn't put us in a specific genre.
You're currently recording your first full-length. How do your songs come about?
Our creative process is a mixture of many things, but in its simplest form, someone has a rough idea with a verse or chorus, and we all collaborate and build upon that to make it as great or classic as we possibly can. Whether it's a fun breakdown, rhythmic section or a part we know we'll love to play live and go nuts.
You cite classic rock and '90s rock as your influences. What exactly about this music do you want to convey in your own?
The timelessness of the songs. No matter what age group or how many times you hear a song, it resonates forever with you.
Is there anything about the music from those time periods you try to avoid?
Not really; it's all game.
What's the best band-related advice you've received?
The best advice we've received was from B.B. King: "Do it all for the love of playing and the experience; the rest will take care of itself."
What's the worst?
"Have you guys ever thought about trying out for American Idol?" from a handful of people.
Tell me your favorite road story.
We just got out on the [Rockstar Energy Drink] Uproar tour, and one van broke down, so we rented a U-Haul van, swapped gear from van to van in the middle of the night, borrowed another van from friends in Salt Lake City, Utah—all this in a 24-hour period to make our first date in York, Nevada, at the Camelot Inn, where we were flashed by a carful of college gals as we pulled into town.
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You guys are unsigned. Is this an intentional move?
Not necessarily an intentional move, but it's a funny thing these days. Friends in bands complain about being on a label, while other friends say it's a necessity. We just continue doing what we know how to do. If someone takes an interest and it seems like a good fit, we're not opposed to anything.
This column appeared in print as "In Bloom."