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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Blowfish coming to town: Jim Sonefeld to visit Wofford, Hub City Books

Jim+Sonefeld+visits+Wofford+College.+Photo+courtesy+of+Sarah+Adcock.
Jim Sonefeld visits Wofford College. Photo courtesy of Sarah Adcock.

“Hootie & the Blowfish” was a popular American rock band during the 1990’s, originating at the University of South Carolina as a college band. After they parted ways, they each remained relevant in various artistic spaces, including music and literature.

Lead singer Darius Rucker became famous for his country-style music, a large switch from the band’s rock style.

He is currently on tour and will continue until mid-2023.

Guitarists Mark Bryan and Dean Felber have also continued to dabble in music. Bryan released his most recent album, “Midlife Priceless,” in 2021.

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Jim Sonefeld, however, used his time since the band to write a mem- oir, “Swimming with the Blowfish: Hootie, Healing, and One Hell of a Ride.”

The memoir discusses the many ups and downs of having such a prominent and multiracial band during a time of open racism in the state.

“We didn’t even have intentions of being a band that was notable,” Sonefeld said, “yet we were that and helped to shape race.”

Sonefeld will be bringing his knowledge and experiences of such to Spartanburg, and Wofford College, on Oct. 12.

He will be hosting a book reading and signing event at Hub City Books at 6 p.m., as well as visiting with Carey Voeller, associate professor of English, and his LIBA-101 class earlier in the afternoon.

“When I read (Sonefeld’s) memoir last summer, I quickly realized that some of it would easily apply to this class, particularly the sections where he recalls racist incidents against their Black vocalist and guitarist Darius Rucker, the band’s antirac- ist allyship with him and that, as a South Carolina band, all four members disliked the fact that the state- house flew the Confederate flag,” Voeller explained.

Voeller’s course is focused on the ideas of “American protest literature,” as the course is aptly titled. Sonefeld’s memoir acts as a prime example of such a piece.

Sonefeld will bring a new perspective to many Wofford students: a perspective that deals with the issue of the Confederate flag hanging be- fore it became a major controversy.

“I remember sitting down with my friends just doing normal college things, discussing all that’s wrong with the world,” Sonefeld said. “Hanging the confederate flag at the Statehouse was one of those things.”

In 2015, when the flag was re- moved, he said it was just one of those things that the band members didn’t even have to discuss; they just knew a good but overdue thing had happened.

Sonefeld’s memoir discusses this in greater length, as he kept every calendar of personal and Hootie-related events and had a plethora of journals to jog his memory.

“I started journaling in 1994 when we went to LA to record our first studio album,” Sonefeld recalled. “I just knew it was something big and something I would never want to forget.”

At Hub City Books, Sonefeld will host an entertaining reading for people of all ages.

“I don’t want people to think it will just be an average book reading,” Sonefeld said. “It’s gonna be exciting and interactive.”

This is one of many stops to local colleges and bookstores that Sonefeld will make to discuss his memoir.

“I talked to my daughter, Cameron (Sonefeld ’22), and asked her which of her professors she thought would let me come speak to their class,” Sonefeld explained. “Voeller was on the list, and we have been in constant communication since.”

“(Sonefeld) is a super cool, down- to-earth guy, and his writing is ac- cessible, witty, but also profound,” Voeller said. “I think students will enjoy getting to meet him and hear a rock star talk about some of the things we’re examining.”

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About the Contributor
Brandi Wylie, Editor-In-Chief
Education Major from Spartanburg, SC
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