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Hum gained local and regional prominence shortly after forming in Champaign, Illinois, in 1989. The group became nationally recognized in 1991 when it released its first album, Fillet Show. Fillet Show became popular as part of the grunge movement that had been inspiring musicians in the Pacific Northwest for more than a decade. As grunge spread across the country, many music enthusiasts identified Hum as a regional version of the sound.
At first, Hum played shows in nearby cities, including Indianapolis, St. Louis, Louisville and Chicago, where they recorded with famed sound engineer Steve Albini, who co-founded the band Shellac. As the band gained more regional success, it participated in larger tours that included dates on the East and West Coasts.
Hum disbanded in 2000, but the group has reunited several times for short tours. Some of the most well-attended reunion shows have taken place at Riot Fest in Chicago and Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, Texas.
Hum's albums and singles
Although Hum's first two albums, Fillet Show and Electra 2000, did not find commercial success, they laid the groundwork for a unique sound that helped the band find a loyal following in the mid-1990s. The group's third album, You'd Prefer an Astronaut, peaked at No. 105 on the Billboard 200. The album included Hum's most popular song, "Stars," a single that reached No. 11 on Billboard magazine's list of Hot Modern Rock Tracks. The single peaked at No. 28 on the Mainstream Rock music chart.
Following the success of You'd Prefer an Astronaut, Hum released Downward Is Heavenward in 1998. The album reached No. 150 on the Billboard 200. The single "Comin' Home" peaked at No. 37 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart.
Hum's reunion shows
It didn't take long for Hum to return to the stage after calling it quits in 2000. In 2003, the group reunited for a concert at the Sloss Furnace in Birmingham, Alabama. The band members didn't regroup again until 2011, when they played the A.V. Fest in Chicago and Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin.
In 2015, Hum embarked on two short tours. The first tour brought Hum to five cities on the East Coast in support of the band Failure. Later that year, Hum started a six-city tour on the West Coast as co-headliners with the band Mineral.
Members of Hum insist that the band does not play regularly. They admit, however, that they will likely write, record and tour as time permits. Although Hum isn't central to their lives, it gives them opportunities to reconnect with fans and enjoy playing songs written during the heyday of grunge and alternative music.
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