Hanson: grown up and gone indie
The pop-rock trio
has come a long way since their 'MMMBop' days
But that doesn’t mean it’s been all rides in G5s and bottles of Cristal for the tight-knit trio. After disappointing sales of their sophomore album, “This Time Around,” Hanson were involved in a lengthy legal battle with their label, Island/Def Jam—the events of which were captured in the documentary film “Strong Enough to Break”—before eventually being dropped in 2003 and starting their own label, 3CG Records. Through 3CG, Hanson released their next two albums, “Underneath” and “The Walk.” Yeah, that’s right—Hanson knows the meaning of DIY better than half the punk bands on this year’s Warped Tour.
Somewhere amidst the musical madness, each of the bros managed to get married and have a bunch of babies. (Taylor’s in the lead with four, for those keeping track.) The band hosts annual songwriting retreats at their Oklahoma headquarters and even lends out members to participate in side projects—like the alt-rock supergroup Tinted Windows, which featured Taylor, Smashing Pumpkins’ James Iha, Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger and Cheap Trick’s Bun E. Carlos.
The brothers Hanson boast some pretty impressive philanthropic work, too. They launched their Walk Around the World campaign last year, which encourages fans and do-gooders alike to take a step in the direction of AIDS awareness by doing something as simple as taking a walk. “We’re a generation that has all these tools and we’re not necessarily using them,” explains Taylor. “Let’s use them! Let’s use the ability to organize quickly, to give money directly, to ask for accountability…. We’ve done so little in the grand scheme of things, but I’ve been so blown away by the amount of people willing to jump on it and take ownership.”
We recently caught up with the overly fertile Taylor Hanson to discuss the band’s upcoming Use Your Sole Tour with Hellogoodbye, Steel Train and Sherwood, as well as how they deal with comparisons to the Jonas Brothers.
Looking into the audience, do you see the same people you did
when you first circled the globe? Do they look like they’ve aged,
How do you keep things fresh so that you don’t end up
killing yourselves while playing songs like “MMMBop” for
the 14 millionth time?
How was it when you stepped out on stage with Tinted Windows
for the first time and didn’t see your brothers playing on either
side of you?
There’s another band of brothers making waves right now—the
Jonas Brothers. You and your bros are probably some of the only people
on the planet who can relate to what they’re going through. How
close is musical history repeating itself?
Seem like they’re taking the opposite path as you, though,
when it comes to things like merchandizing and their position as princes
of the Disney empire.
…Before they find themselves in rehab?
But at least the sleeping bags with their faces on it will keep them warm at night.