Felber relishes Hootie’s return


Hootie & the Blowfish had just been on a break, albeit an extended one. The band hadn’t toured since 2008 as lead singer Darius Rucker pursued a solo country career.

In between, Hootie played some yearly charity events.

This year, the four band members have reunited for the “Group Therapy Tour” that lands at Noblesville’s Ruoff Mortgage Music Center at 7 p.m. Aug. 17.

“It’s been mind-blowing to me, personally,” bass player Dean Felber said. “I don’t know if I had too many expectations about what the tour is going to be like as far as crowds. I was definitely hoping it would be like it was in the past, and when we got in the amphitheaters it would be pretty full. It has gone beyond what I thought it would. We’ve had packed houses and the crowds have been amazing.”

The charity events have primarily been shorter sets.

“It was strange coming back out and we do rehearse, which we never used to do in our past career,” Felber said.

The band is playing most of the songs from its debut studio album “Cracked Rear View,” which is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The band formed in 1986 while the four friends attended the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Fittingly, the U.S. tour ends with three nights in Columbia.

“We haven’t played Columbia in a long time,” said Felber, who lives near Charleston, S.C. “That will truly bring it back to where it all started.”

The group is in the process of recording a sixth studio album.

“We’re rehearsing some of the new songs. We are kind of waiting to see where the singles come from,” Felber said. “I can’t say we won’t play a new song in a couple of weeks, but nothing is set in stone. Once we got together to work on songs, the rust came off pretty quick.”

When the band first went on hiatus, Felber was doing music for commercials. He also formed a wine company, Perception Wines.

“Then my daughters came to live with me, and I became a full-time dad for a few years while they were growing up,” Felber said.

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