October 19, 2007

Hanson 'Walk' for a cause

Portion of tour proceeds fight poverty and AIDS in Africa


The brothers Hanson are playing up their latest tour by donating part of the proceeds to a worthy cause.

Fitting for their lastest CD, "The Walk," the brothers encourage fans to walk with them at their shows -- barefoot -- to help raise awareness about poverty and AIDS in Africa.

Hanson has teamed with Toms Shoes, which also is donating proceeds from its shoe sales to Hanson's cause.

The group, which hit it big as pre-teens with the hit "MmmBop" during the mid-'90s, is set to play Orlando this week after resuming their tour that was temporarily halted when eldest brother and frontman Isaac suffered a blood clot.

Isaac, 26, underwent surgery for venous thoracic outlet syndrome, which interrupted the blood flow from his arm to his heart. He said he became aware something was going wrong when his right arm swelled during a concert.

After the tour, part of his first rib will be removed to help prevent obstruction of blood flow. In the meantime, Hanson is on blood thinner medication and is "evolving his technique" on his guitar to take pressure off his shoulder.

Isaac is candid and opinionated about the music industry, which the young men officially left a few years ago to start their own record company.

He doesn't regret "MmmBop." Although it was a huge hit, it cast Hanson as a quintessential bubble gum group, thanks partly to their youth.

Critics were quick to point out Hanson's raw and edgy leanings, which worked against them receiving future airplay.

Isaac says even at the time of the hit, he wasn't about to be part of pop's immediate future -- paving the way for the likes of Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync.

With "The Walk" being their forth proper album -- the trio also recorded holiday and live CDs -- they are focusing on pleasing their fan base, and don't intend on doing a sequel to "MmmBop" to get played on the radio.

The way Isaac sees it, "we are and have really always been an indie band," he said. "We are comfortable, considering that the music business is falling apart because of mismanagement of bands. Bands today are not able to build an audience unless they have that big hit. There's too much betting on the multi-million sellers."