A 70th birthday mixtape curated by Eric Bazilian on the WXPN Morning Show - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

“I feel amazing,” Eric Bazilian said when asked about turning 70 years old today. “If I didn’t know if it was that number, I’d feel like ‘oh, wow, cool. Another trip around the sun.'”

The lead singer and songwriter of local rock favorites The Hooters — who tells us he lives in Philadelphia 40% of the time, and in his wife’s first home of Stockholm the rest of the time — called in to the XPN Morning Show today to curate an expansive and very fun birthday edition of the Friday Morning Mixtape.

He provided commentary and anecdotes about each selection, from first experiencing the power of music when he heard “Sukiyaki” by Kyu Sakamoto at age eight, to seeing The Beatles on Ed Sullivan at age 10; from experiencing the Grateful Dead live in the late 60s and early 70s, to getting immersed in the music of The Byrds (who he called “revelatory”) and The Murmaids (“I wanted to be the boy they were singing about.”)

We also asked Eric a bit about The Hooters’ choice to lean hard into their ska roots on the new album Rocking and Swing, which elicited a thoughtful reply. “It’s what we came from,” he said. “When Rob [Hyman] and I decided to give it one more shot with the band after [our first band] Baby Grand which, you know, we’d done a couple of major label albums and it didn’t go where we hoped it would go. And we thought ‘what can we do that no one else is doing?’ We had just seen Madness play The Hot Club, and we thought there are no American bands doing ska right now so let’s do that. And actually ‘All You Zombies’ was one of the songs that came from our first batch of songs; that is the earliest surviving Hooters song. For years we’ve been toying with the idea of getting back to that. But you can’t just say you want to do a ska album; you need to find the songs. So we wrote “Why Won’t You Call Me Back ” and thought ‘Okay, there’s one. Let’s see how far we can push this puppy.'”

Bazilian also talked about his admiration for Billie Eilish and her brother and collaborator Finneas (“They’re my hope for the future. Voices like that don’t come around that often.”) and his own collaboration with West Virginia-born singer-songwriter Alexis Cunningham (“I believe in her as an artist as long as it takes as many iterations as it takes, she’s got the goods.”)

Listen to Eric Bazilian’s birthday edition of the Friday Morning Mixtape in the player below. The Hooters return to Philly to headline two nights at The Keswick on November 3rd and 4th. Details at WXPN’s Concerts and Events page.

Eric Bazilian of The Hooters on the Friday Morning Mixtape
Eric Bazilian
70th Birthday Friday Morning Mixtape
  • Sukiyaki by Kyu Sakamoto
  • Box of Rain by Grateful Dead
  • I Want To Hold Your Hand by The Beatles
  • Bad Guy by Billie Eilish
  • Birds of Fire by Mahavishnu Orchestra
  • Catch the Sun by Doves
  • Eight Miles High by The Byrds
  • Blind by Alexis Cunningham
  • Popsicles and Icicles by The Murmaids
  • I Can't Explain by The Who
  • On My Radio by The Selecter
  • One Of Us by Eric Bazilian
  • One Of Us by Joan Osborne
The Hooters - Why Won't You Call Me Back
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