Sister Hazel grows up

Band among headliners at downtown festival

Band among headliners at downtown festival

October 23, 2008|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

Many tour bus miles and several albums later, Sister Hazel is backing away from the touring grind.

They still rock. But the guys are married now and have kids. Instead of putting in work on the road, they're gunning for quality time with the family.

"We try not to stay on the road more than five nights a week," said Drew Copeland, vocalist and guitarist. "We don't do the touring grind."

Sister Hazel performs Saturday as part of the Downtown Live! 2008 Music and Arts Festival. The band has been promoting its latest album, "Before the Amplifiers: Live Acoustic."


There's also a local tie. The band's former manager, Steven Epstein, lives in Smithsburg. Epstein managed the band from 1996 to 2000.

Formed in 1993, Sister Hazel is a five-piece rock band from Gainesville, Fla. The band's first major-label album "Somewhere More Familiar" was certified platinum in 1998.

The guys have grown up and their fans seem to be growing with them. "Before the Amplifiers: Live Acoustic," landed on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart this year.

Copeland chatted with The Herald-Mail about how the guys have been able to balance family life with music and still keep a loyal following.

Q&A with Drew Copeland of Sister Hazel

How do you balance touring with recording?
If you get too much of one thing, if you get locked in the studio, you don't get to blow off steam. That can be overbearing. Touring all the time - you get burnt out.

Is this something you all learned the hard way?
We learned it as we went. "All for You" opened the door, but we toured it for two years. By the time we came off tour, we were ready to kill each other. We were so burnt out that we turned down a tour with Aerosmith when normally we would have all been like where, when and how do we get there?

On "Fortress," we stayed in the studio too long. We over thought everything. It was too long for recording.

You all have been around for a while, and you've still got a strong following. How do you guys stay relevant?
I don't know what to attest that to. We don't ever try to sound contrived. Our fanbase is what keeps us alive.

How do you guys balance being fathers and musicians?
It's difficult. I think we're doing as good as job as we can do, staying relevant in different markets and not having our kids say, "Who is this strange guy?" every time we come home.

How different was this from how it was back in the '90s?
It's a completely different beast. When we first started out in the '90s. They had steady girlfriends. We were younger and crazier. I think if you compare a backstage scene in 1998 and 2008, it would be different. We were burning the candle at each end.

I would say we have more fun playing now. I think we partied harder then.

About Sister Hazel

Genre - Rock

Hometown - Gainesville, Fla.

Lead vocals, guitar - Ken Block

Vocals, guitar - Drew Copeland

Lead guitar, vocals - Ryan Newell

Bass, vocals - Jett Beres

Drums - Mark Trojanowski

Upcoming show - 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, at Downtown Live! 2008 Music and Arts Festival. Get tickets, $29, at

On the Web -;

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