Biography and Profile of Hoobastank

Hoobastank. Chelsea Lauren-WireImage-GettyImages

Hoobastank are a hard rock band that feature an accessible mixture of metal riffs, emotive lyrics and radio-ready melodies. The band’s angry, wounded lyrics never risks alienating the mainstream audience – instead, Hoobastank’s songs dress their misery in pleasing hooks and sing-along choruses. Led by frontman Doug Robb, the group had their biggest success with the 2004 ballad “The Reason.” Hardcore rock fans tend to dismiss Hoobastank’s lightweight material, but the truth of the matter is that the group’s mid-tempo songs are far stronger than their attempts to write aggressive rock anthems. Hoobastank have sold over 10 million albums worldwide.


Hoobastank formed in 1994 in Agoura Hills, California, a small community north of Los Angeles. Singer Doug Robb joined forced with two of his classmates – guitarist Dan Estrin and drummer Chris Hesse – to put together the band. (Bassist Markku Lappalainen was also a part of the original lineup but left the group in 2005.) For the next few years, Hoobastank played around Southern California and recorded some self-produced albums. The band signed to Island Records at the turn of the century, but after an aborted album called Forward was shelved, Hoobastank set to work on their official debut.

Wowing Radio, Annoying Critics

2001’s Hoobastank set the course for the band’s career: audiences loved the group’s post-grunge hard rock, but critics found their songs whiny and derivative. Hoobastank was front-loaded with its three singles – “Crawling in the Dark,” “Remember Me” and “Running Away” – being the first three songs on the album. Of their early hits, the mid-tempo ballad “Running Away” got the most traction, charting on the mainstream rock, modern rock, pop, and adult charts, hinting at the group’s ability to bridge musical genres with their songs.

Hoobastank Find "The Reason"

Released at the end of 2003, The Reason would make its impact felt the following year. After the first single, the choked-riff “Out of Control,” made a respectable showing on the rock charts, Hoobastank followed it up with the title track, an undeniably sentimental power ballad about a girlfriend that the singer has left brokenhearted. “The Reason” was the sort of song that makes hard rock fans roll their eyes, but just about everyone else on the planet embraced it – the track reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Buoyed by the song’s success, The Reason went double platinum.

Struggling to Maintain Popularity

Bassist Markku Lappalainen was gone from the band by the time of 2006’s Every Man for Himself. Although the album showcased Hoobastank’s continuing sonic evolution, Every Man didn’t have another ballad with the same power as “The Reason,” although “If I Were You” was actually a better, less sappy variation on the model. Consequently, Every Man failed to enjoy the same popularity as The Reason had – still, the album peaked at No. 12 and managed to be certified for gold-level sales.


Hoobastank returned with their fourth album For(n)ever on January 27, 2009. The album was preceded by the release of the first single, “My Turn,” a snarling riff-heavy track which also appears on Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - The Album. For(n)ever reached number 26 on the Billboard 200 album chart.

Fight or Flight

Hoobastank's fifth studio album Fight or Flight was released on September 11, 2012. The album was the band's first album since 2003's The Reason without hit making producer Howard Benson. The band opted to work with Canadian record producer Gavin Brown. The album's first single “This Is Gonna Hurt” is a riff-rocker which was accompanied by a 7-minute concept video. The album's second single "Can You Save Me?" is an emotional power ballad which plays to the band's strengths.


Dan Estrin – guitar
Chris Hesse – drums
Doug Robb – vocals
Jesse Charland – bass 

Key Songs

“Crawling in the Dark” 
“Running Away” 
“The Reason” 
“If I Were You” 
“My Turn” 
"Can You Save Me?" 


Hoobastank (2001)
The Reason (2003)
Every Man for Himself (2006)
For(n)ever (2009)
Fight or Flight (2012)


  • The members of Hoobastank went to the same high school as members of Linkin Park and Incubus.
  • Doug Robb had a role in the 1982 Dolly Parton comedy The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

(Edited by Bob Schallau)