10 Questions with ... Jim Sonefeld
October 1, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 2012 "Found" SoniTime Records
- 2008 "Snowman Melting" Aquarian Nation Records
- 2003 "Hootie & The Blowfish" Atlantic
- 1998 "Musical Chairs" Atlantic
- 1996 "Fairweather Johnson" Atlantic
- 1994 "Cracked Rear View" Atlantic
1. Please give us a quick history recap.....birthplace, schools, towns, jobs....
I was born in Michigan in 1964 and lived in Michigan, Illinois, and Virginia growing up. I left Naperville, IL for Columbia, SC in the summer of my 18th year.... and never moved back. I graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1989 and joined Hootie to write songs, travel, and play live music, and make absolutely no money for several years. It was well worth it looking back.
2. How did Hootie & the Blowfish get it's start?
We met in college. Faced with graduation and getting real jobs, we decided to give a career in music a try. We lived meagerly, but happily, in the early years, sacrificing most everything else for our craft. We missed many weddings, funerals, family reunions, but we worked hard.
3. Ok, I have to know, how many times did you get the question, "Which one is Hootie?". What was it like being part of that band?
Don't let anyone tell you that Darius is Hootie. I am the real HOOTIE!.... haha. Being in Hootie was a great musical, social experiment and to some extent continues to be. If they had 'reality tv' shows back then we would have been a huge hit!
4. What are some of the best times you can remember from touring? Any funny experiences?
Getting our first tour bus and driver was pretty awesome. We'd driven our own van from 1989 until almost 1995, so that was a big step up. We accidentally left Mark, our guitarist, sleeping in a hotel while we drove on to our next gig one time. Oops! We forgot to lock our brand new trailer on its maiden voyage, and an expensive guitar fell out while leaving town and was stolen. Another oops!
5. What's the most challenging part of being on the road and in the public eye? How do you balance life & work?
The hardest part of road life is trying to keep track of what's going on at home like paying bills, upkeep on your house, voting, and feeling like part of a community. The public eye is something that just comes with the territory. Anyone in a band that complains about that should have thought about a different career!
6. You've been very open about your struggle with alcohol. Tell us about that journey.
From the first time I drank alcohol at 14, I had consequences because I often over-indulged. I didn't have that filter most people do to say enough is enough. I spent most of my adult life working to make sure there was booze involved with whatever I did. I loved having a good time, and booze seemed to make it all that more fun. When fame and fortune hit, my alcoholism became even more enflamed because I had a lot of enablers and all the cash in the world to fund a good time! It became too painful in 2004, and I got sober with the help of some wonderful, loving, patient people.
7. What led you to become a believer?
I was already a believer, raised by a loving mother and father, but I had to get alcohol out of the way and work on cleaning up my past messes in order to see Christ was there waiting for me.
8. Tell us about "Found", your Christian EP. What was the driving force behind it?
I had been listening to a lot of Contemporary Christian music but never considered I could be a strong voice for the Lord. I hesitantly started writing songs about my journey in faith and how I could see God was working in my life, but the music and lyrics really started flowing out of me in quality and abundance. I never really saw myself as a lead singer but I feel God has called me here for that.
9. What's life like today? Family, friends, church?
Life is very good! I'm blessed with a strong marriage and the gift of raising five children. We attend church, but more importantly we bring Jesus into our family and life the other days of the week. I would feel starved if I only had 60 minutes on a Sunday to worship, so we choose Him every day.
10. What advice would you offer to someone who's struggling with addiction?
Look in the mirror and be truthful about who or what is in control of your life. Is it you? Is it pills? Is it sex or porn? Is it God? I didn't get sober until age 40 and wasn't too thrilled when I realized the truth was that I had lost control and "I" didn't have the answers. Major bummer for my ego, but a huge step in having a life!
1. Most embarrassing moment
My first 3 years of high school. I look back at the pictures, and I know why I didn't have a serious girlfriend until my senior year!
2. Favorite bible verse and why?
There are several. Here is one from Isaiah 40:28..... "The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom." It puts my relationship with God in perspective. He is so big that I may never understand all that He does, so I can stop worrying about ever fully understanding Him.
3. Typical Saturday around the Sonefeld home....take us from sunup to sundown.
I wish "typical" actually existed in this house! If we're not at three different soccer fields or a cross country meet, it's a heap of bacon, scrambled eggs, and homemade pancakes, and watching our favorite British football (soccer) team Liverpool, live on tv. Honestly, I don't know the last time we had a normal Saturday here. In the fall it's Gamecock (USC) football games on Saturdays though, and that provides a LOT of excitement around here.