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‘Swimming With the Blowfish’ a Story of Redemption



Hootie Drummer Jim Sonefeld Chronicles His Spiritual Journey in Autobiography

By: Jeff Walker, Book Review

For a little less than a decade beginning in 1994 South Carolina’s own Hootie & the Blowfish were arguably one of the biggest bands on the planet. The success of their debut album ‘Cracked Rear View‘ which remains one of the biggest selling albums of all time launched the quartet into the pop music stratosphere. Follow up platinum releases ‘Fairweather Johnson’ and ‘Musical Chairs’ kept the four lads who met at the University of South Carolina at forefront of the entertainment industry.

However, as we’ve seen time and time again, with instant notoriety comes the trappings that often accompany rock n’ roll success. In his first ever autobiography ‘Swimming With the Blowfish: Hootie, Healing, and One Hell of a Ride’ drummer Jim ‘Soni’ Sonefeld chronicles his life story from his early beginnings in Naperville, Illinois to his college party lifestyle in Columbia, South Carolina all the while pursuing two favorite passions, soccer and music.

While soccer remains one of his favorite pastimes, it was the thrust to stardom with Hootie in the mid 1990’s accompanied by fame and fortune that would lead Sonefeld ultimately down a troubled path, fueled more by excessive alcohol and illicit drug use. In over 250 pages Sonefeld details how pleas from his young children and divine intervention lead to his sobriety and newfound faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

After a ten-year period where Hootie & the Blowfish had been coasting, their popularity began to wane with Sonefeld isolating himself from his wife and kids in a makeshift fortress separate from the main house in suburban Columbia. God who often uses children to get our attention positioned Sonefeld’s four-year-old daughter Cameron to bring about Soni’s eventual wake up call.

The simple words ‘Daddy, what are you doing?’ struck a chord with Sonefeld. Approaching 40 years of age was it time to do away with the substance abuse demons he’d been celebrating since high school and join in family activities. Although the transformation didn’t happen overnight ‘Swimming With the Blowfish’ is a straight forward account of how Soni’s family, friends in the industry, and a second marriage to a band members ex-wife helped strengthen his faith, allowing God to use Sonefeld for His purpose.

In between the his early days in Illinois up to his spiritual awakening are chapters full of engaging tales from behind the scenes including David Letterman’s career boost, taking advice from rock icon David Crosby, performing for President Clinton and at Frank Sinatra’s 80th birthday bash, as well as attending Tiger Woods’ star-studded island wedding.

Humble and heart-wrenching back stories aside, ‘Swimming With the Blowfish: Hootie, Healing, and One Hell of a Ride’ is in Sonefeld’s own words ‘a story of redemption’. His autobiography is touching and provides Hootie fans a front row seat to Jim Sonefeld’s road to recovery where the drummer who performed before millions discovers rock stardom is fleeting, but being a sober husband and father, and a man of God has long lasting and more rewarding benefits.

To purchase copies of ‘Swimming With the Blowfish’ visit any of the following online retail outlets.

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