Darius Rucker has been releasing country music as a solo artist since 2008, but before he signed to Capitol Records Nashville, the South Carolina native was the frontman of rock band Hootie & the Blowfish, which found major success in the '90s with hits like "Only Wanna Be With You" and "Let Her Cry." More than 25 years after the band released its debut single, Rucker told Kelleigh Bannen on Essentials Radio on Apple Music Country that some of his country music fans don't even realize he was in the rock group.
"There's a lot of people, but there's such a young crowd that still amaze me, that just have no idea that I was in Hootie & the Blowfish," he said. "Again, and they're still shocked when they see it. I think I saw this three days ago, where a guy said, 'I was today old when I found out that Darius Rucker was the lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish.' I'm like, 'Really?' The funny thing you said, playing covers, I'll never forget, I'll never forget. I'm on Twitter, I finished a show, and this guy comes on Twitter and he goes, 'Man, the show was great, but how come you played so many Hootie covers? I didn't know you liked Hootie so much.' That was funny."
Hootie & the Blowfish released their first single, "Hold My Hand," in 1994, and they were invited on the Late Show after host David Letterman heard the song on the radio. Rucker told Bannen that the breakthrough talk show performance changed the band's life "overnight."
"We played "Hold My Hand" the first time on Letterman. And our lives changed overnight," he recalled. "And that's not exaggeration. Overnight. Nobody was trying to add us. Some stations in the south were playing us because we were playing their towns in the clubs, but nobody was trying to play our record. And we went on David Letterman on Friday and on Monday everybody added it. I mean, it was crazy."
Despite the band's incredible success, Rucker admitted that he missed their early days playing clubs. "People always ask me if I miss when we were the biggest band in the world and I always say, 'No,'" he reflected. "I miss when it was us against the world. When we were playing those clubs and it was just five of us showing up and doing what we do. I miss those days. And we were actually making a pretty good living just doing what we were doing. And, so we weren't even really fretting about a record deal and anything. But it was just us against the world. I mean, it sounds so cliché but that's really was. All we knew was we had to be to the next town the next night."