New USC journalism school celebrates opening with mini Hootie & the Blowfish … – The State

Hootie & the Blowfish band members Darius Rucker and Mark Bryan returned to their alma mater Wednesday night to help celebrate the grand opening of the new home for the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Both majored in broadcast journalism while attending the University of South Carolina.

After a dedication of the new building at 800 Sumter St., Rucker and Bryan took the stage on the historic Horseshoe for a brief concert, where they played a mix of covers and Hootie originals intermixed with stories from their days at USC.

Each wielded an acoustic guitar and dressed casually in jeans and a T-shirt. Rucker sported a Gamecocks hat, as he often does on stage.

“We’re very, very proud to be a part of the journalism school,” Rucker told the large crowd. “We love our school, we really do.”

He spoke of living in the Honeycombs, a since-demolished residence hall where the Honors College now stands, and meeting his Hootie & the Blowfish bandmates.

Back in 1986, Rucker and Bryan lived on the same hall and decided to start a band.

They recruited Brantley Smith to play drums (and later Jim “Soni” Sonefeld when Brantley left the band) and Dean Felber to play bass. They started by playing fraternity parties. By 1990, the frat parties had led to local nightclub stages, which in turn led to small regional tours.

Rucker, 24 at the time, told The State newspaper in 1990, “I never thought things would end up going this far.”

Of course, this was before “Cracked Rear View,” the band’s debut album that went platinum 16 times over. They had much, much farther to go.

On Wednesday night, however, the only traveling the musicians mentioned was having to hike to class at the old journalism school.

“We had to walk all the way to the Coliseum,” Bryan said. “Now, it’s right here,” next to the Horseshoe.

The last time Rucker and Bryan played on the Horseshoe was 1996 when they taped an episode for MTV “Unplugged.” The show never had done a taping outside, but the band wanted to showcase USC and insisted on the location.

“It was the first time we played this song here,” Rucker said, before going into a cover of Tom Waits’ “Hope I Don’t Fall In Love With You.”

“And, hopefully, not the last,” Bryan said.

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