It's Hanson!
'90s pop sensation comes to rock the Madison Theater


Be still, my sixth grade heart.

The group famed by "MMMBop" is performing at the Madison Theater as a part of its tour for its latest studio album, The Walk. But Hanson isn't just that famous hit. If you haven't been keeping up, the trio has released four studio albums in the last 11 years, one of which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's independent charts. The brothers have also recorded numerous live and acoustic collections.

Recently, Hanson has been using its music for a good cause. After a trip to Africa while wrapping up the recording for The Walk, the group decided to donate all funds from the purchase of the single "Great Divide" to the Perinatal HIV Research Unit at the Chris Hani Baragwanath in South Africa.

I checked in with Zac Hanson, now 22, as the band prepared to start The Walktour.

Q: A lot of people remember you as the boys that you were when you hit the scene with Middle of Nowhere,the MMMBop kids. In what ways have things changed?

A: Really, most of all, it's been outward appearance. We haven't really had a desire to change our music. Of course there's been an evolution as we get new influences and experiences, but there's been no direct, purposeful change. Each record certainly has its own sound. The first record was influenced by Motown, our original inspirations. The second record had more of a gospel and blues feel, and the third was more acoustically based, more live.

Q: Do you still play the classics in your show or does that get old?

A: Yeah, we still play the classics. It doesn't really get old. Sometimes playing shows gets old when you get to tour stop No. 60, but we certainly play the whole repertoire. Many bands aren't happy with who they have been on previous records, so they stop playing songs from earlier albums. We wrote "MMMBop" and "Where's The Love" and we're proud of the songs that we've written. When we go to play a concert, it's just about making it a good show, what will sound best.

Q: What motivated you to start using your music as a campaign for AIDS?

A: It's been kind of a long journey we've chosen to take. When we were making The Walk, a friend of ours was going to Africa to set up an Internet technology system that helps patients with AIDS communicate in a secure, private way with their doctors. He invited us to come along, and we knew we'd get something out of it, so we said, "why not?" While we were there, the idea came up to record, so we recorded a track with some kids from a boarding school doing a native chant. We said, "what can we give?" and we give our music. This generation has incredible tools and talents to give. We don't all have to go to Africa, but it's about finding something in your life that you can give. It doesn't take a lot, and we want to be a generation that conquered great challenges.

Q: One final question: When I was 11, I was pretty sure that I was going to marry your brother Isaac. Do you think he'd still be up for that?

A: I can't speak for him, but I think his wife might have something to say about that.

Drat! My former dreams are dashed, but at least I tried. Regardless, Hanson's stop in Covington promises to be energetic entertainment.