Newcomers Hoodwink offer straight-up Pop/Rock with no trickery

For local Alternative Pop/Rock group Hoodwink, what you see is what you get. "There's no gags or gimmicks," says drummer Kevin Leaton. "We define 'normal': We really focus on the music, not


For local Alternative Pop/Rock group Hoodwink, what you see is what you get.

"There's no gags or gimmicks," says drummer Kevin Leaton. "We define 'normal': We really focus on the music, not in being crazy, outlandish characters."

So what's with the band's name then? No trick, deception or prank?

According to Leaton, his girlfriend suggested "Hoodwinked." Then, after dropping the "ed," they decided that the name had a "catchy draw," so they kept it. There was really no hidden definition or intentional mystery behind the name.

"We just thought it was a cool word," Leaton says.

Hoodwink is currently a trio: Todd Winston (guitar and lead vocals), Kurt Bader (bass) and Leaton (drums and backing vocals).

The band has been together about a year and already has one CD release, one in its early stages and about 30 original songs on their play list.

"Hoodwink is emotion-driven, Alternative Pop Rock with very hooky melodies," Leaton says when describing the band's sound. "Edgy at times and kind floaty at times, but always with that emotional push." That push mostly comes out in their live shows, Leaton says. He credits frontman Winston with providing much of that in-concert power.

"It's in his delivery and even his movements in playing guitar," he says. "It's very high energy."

Here's to Hoping is the band's first CD, released last December and recorded at Shepherd's Pie Recording with the help of Chris Schmidt and Gregg Church (of the band Bagg).

"We did a marathon session — we did 35 hours in two days," says Leaton, but, he adds, it was all worth the extended effort, just for the experience gained. "Chris and Greg are real knowledgeable, real friendly, real helpful. It was a very positive experience for everybody."

One of the most problematic obstacles to overcome in the studio is keeping the energy and emotion up, to try and capture some of that live momentum. Leaton says the music sometimes turns stale in the studio, so he and the other Hoodwinkers will often move on to a new song and just come back later, a practice they'll be able to enforce with a little more time luxury on the next album.

Leaton says that while the band is Cincinnati-based, one of their main goals is to branch out regionally. He says they enjoy playing out of town, because of the challenge of the unknown and the potential for new listeners.

"Getting your name out to as many listeners as possible," is the band's main focus, says Leaton.

Like most local bands, Leaton says he and the other members of Hoodwink are hopeful but realistic about their musical careers.

"I would like to be able to sustain a lifestyle through playing music," says Leaton. "Just to be able to pay the bills and live comfortably through music would be the ultimate goal. But we're realistic in that we know that's pretty hard to come by."Hoodwink hopes to release its second CD, As Per Usual, this summer. Here's to Hoping is available on their Web site ( It's where you can also listen to several songs, including four live tracks and some new ones from the upcoming album.

HOODWINK will be part of the entertainment during the Flying Pig Marathon on Sunday. Their next club date is May 10 at the Mad Frog with Buckra.

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