Posted on Fri, Oct. 05, 2007
They've grown into a bigger view

A decade after the inescapable No. 1 hit "MMMBop," the brothers of soulful pop trio Hanson are all married men in their twenties who are as concerned with AIDS relief in Africa as they are with selling records.

Before the group's concert Thursday at Amos' Southend, they'll set off on an informal mile long walk -- barefoot -- with fans to draw attention to the band's work with TOMS Shoes and AIDS research.

"People aren't required to do it barefoot, but it's encouraged," says youngest brother Zac Hanson. "We've done it in every city we've been in. It's about inspiring each other and seeing that you can do something. An issue like AIDS can seem overwhelming. This is about encouraging people to take some kind of (small) action."

Hanson's recent efforts include donating the proceeds from T-shirts and iTunes sales of its single "Great Divide" to a research hospital in Africa and working with TOMS Shoes to provide footwear for 50,000 South Africans by November.

"We want to be people from the Midwest talking about (AIDS) as an important issue," Hanson says. "The coasts have done their part. The Heartland needs to say this is important enough that we really want to make a difference. It helps it become less socially taboo."

The trio's global concerns are eons from "MMMBop," which hit when drummer/vocalist Zac Hanson was just 11.

Now 21, 24, and 26, Zac, Taylor, and Isaac Hanson don't necessarily see their new songs as more mature, as reviewers have suggested.

"It's not that you become more serious or mature, but as you become older people allow themselves to recognize something in you that they wouldn't allow themselves to see before," he says, adding that the group's fourth studio album, "The Walk," just does a better job of representing them.

And although Zac contributes lead vocals more often than not on the new disc, he insists they each have an equal stake in the band: "We've always said we're three guys who play, write and sing. There's no individual who is a lead guitarist or lead singer."

It's not difficult to buy that formula since, unlike dysfunctional brother groups Oasis or the Black Crowes, Hanson always appeared as a smiley, all-American brother band.

"There is something to the dynamic in the way brothers work together or know each other so well ... but it's not (just) because we're brothers. We've stayed together (because we don't air) our dirty laundry in public," Zac Hanson says, adding that they've stayed true to their Oklahoma roots. "We've never been those guys that ran off to L.A. and tried to be the coolest guy in the room." PREVIEW


Editor's note: Isaac Hanson was hospitalized Tuesday after a show in Dallas. Taylor Hanson was quoted Wednesday as saying his brother was doing well, but be sure to check the status of the concert with the club.