“It’s all based on personal experiences—and our music is our lives. We actually live the life you hear us talk about in interviews. We are true to our music and true to our fans and that’s what we do. We do take music seriously but we are crazy and we are the partiers,” Winkler says. “You can ask any band that’s ever been on tour with us what they think of our partying situation and they’ll vouch. We’re constant. We’re the real deal and we may just be the last true rock band that drinks and parties hard with the fans, and comes out and produces a great show.”

But Hinder doesn’t only show its rock face to its fans and fellow band mates. Behind closed doors the quintet is just as outspoken. Winkler says standing up to their record label when it came to one of their early chart-toppers, “Lips Of An Angel,” made a huge difference to who they are today. These boys didn’t let anybody—regardless of how much experience they had—disagree with their gut feelings.

“When we first did Extreme Behavior our label’s A&R guy didn’t want “Lips Of An Angel” on the record. But we knew what a monster it was so we were like, ‘Fuck you, it’s going on the record’,” he says. “And that changed from us being in the passenger’s seat to us in the driver’s seat. We stood up and told our label that they had to listen to us because we know what we’re talking about.”

With impressive build-ups, strong and bold rhythms, nail-biting riffs, seductive and powerful lyrics and mind-blowing guitar solos, it seems these boys know even more a second time around. Their new songs are impressively crafted to have the maximum impact on listeners at exactly the right moments and perfectly suit a bunch of different settings, whether a pub scene (“Use Me”), an arena performance (“Up All Night”), a smaller, more intimate gig (“The Best Is Yet To Come”) or even somewhere quiet and romantic (“Thing For You”).

The question is: How have they successfully managed to cover so many bases with just one album? “There’s no real strategy. We just get together and have amazing chemistry,” Winkler says.

What’s more amazing is that behind every hardcore rocker there is always a softer side and during this interview, Winkler was on the golf course with his family during a trip home in Oklahoma City. Continuously interrupting the flow of questions with “Hang on a second, I’m going to hit the ball—do you mind?,” or “I’m going to take that question more seriously, I’ve just got to hit this ball,” Winkler said five irons and woods weren’t his forte.

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