Hanson more than just 'MmmBop'
By John W. Barry
September 20, 2007
This ensemble didn't just set a mere fashion trend or bring an underground
scene aboveground. No, these maestros injected a new word into our lexicon,
an assemblage of vowels and consonants that 15 years later still rolls
off the tongues of fans and critics alike.
Do you remember "MmmBop?"
Angela Gallo, a 2007 graduate of Marist College and resident of Trumbull,
Conn., isn't likely to forget. She has seen Hanson five times and will
make it an even half dozen when she sees the brothers from Tulsa, Okla.,
perform Saturday night at The Chance in Poughkeepsie.
wonderful," said Gallo. "I love seeing them live. They really
connect with their fans."
Hanson isn't your typical
band. Drummer Zac Hanson, who is 21, has been connecting with fans since
he was 6. Rounding out the trio are Taylor Hanson, 24, and Isaac Hanson,
Ask Zac about some of his
earliest musical memories and he will take you on a trip, back more
than two decades.
"After one of our shows,
our third or fourth show, somebody came up to us, this guy asked for
our autograph," the soft-spoken sticks-and-skins man said. "He
said, 'You guys are going to be famous one day.' And that was kind of
like, 'This is weird.' "
Weird or not, that guy was
While small children, the
Hanson brothers lived around the world - Ecuador, Trinidad, Venezuela.
Zac was 4 and the future
stars were listening to a lot of 1950s and '60s music they had brought
with them on compilation cassettes they made.
"After we came back,
there was something that started to happen," Zac said during a
recent telephone interview with the Journal. "Isaac sang these
songs and Taylor would sing along. I was kind of around and we needed
the third part. They'd say, 'Zac, you sing it.'... I remember sitting
at a table, playing G.I. Joe and writing songs."
Fans grew up with them
That's how the music started.
The fame began percolating 15 years ago, with an independent album release.
In 1997, Hanson's fans -
many of whom were the same age as the three brothers - celebrated their
favorite band's success by singing a song whose title could be something
you say after drinking a glass of delicious soda - "MmmBop."
"We were the same age,"
Gallo said about one of the driving forces behind her fan-musician relationship
more than a million copies.
"You're standing on
stage in front of 30,000 people or you go to do an in-store and 15,000
people show up - it was definitely something that was a little unexpected,"
The unexpected occurred
shortly after the release of "Middle of Nowhere," the album
that included "MmmBop." The brothers were scheduled to perform
on David Letterman's show and while they wanted to rehearse, they were
forced to travel to Paramus Park Mall in New Jersey for one of those
Waiting to hear Hanson were
"Anybody in that situation
is a little bit like, 'Wow, are you sure these people are here for me?'
" Zac said. "I've always taken an approach like, 'Wow. This
is not a position that I uniquely hold. It's something that can be gone
at any moment. I need to not let myself get too caught up in this.'
The Hansons have been enjoying
a 15-year moment.
The band's 2004 album, "Underneath,"
reached No. 1 on the Billboard Independent Chart and featured "Penny
and Me," which reached No. 2.
Hanson's latest release,
"The Walk," made its debut in the Top 5 on Billboard's Independent
Chart. The album was co-produced with Danny Kortchmar, who has worked
with Billy Joel, James Taylor and the Eagles.
"The Walk" was
partly inspired by the band's recent trip to South Africa and Mozambique.
While in Africa, the trio from Oklahoma recruited children from the
local orphanage to form a choir, recorded them and included them on
two songs from "The Walk."
"I love Hanson,"
Gallo said. "I like the fact that after 10 years, I'm just as much
of a fan as I was in 1997."