By Treasure Groh
Oct 6, 2009, 14:38

Walking Their Own Path

Remember “MMMBop,” sung by those brothers from Oklahoma? That infectious tune propelled Issac, Taylor and Zach Hanson into the mouth of the pop culture monster and spit them out shortly thereafter, leaving them without an ally at their label. But the trio carried on as an indie band, creating a homespun version of themselves that has served them well on into their fifth album, due out this spring. Now touring their current release, The Walk, the guys are using their celebrity to help others — and incorporating their fans in the process.

Hanson’s journey has not been easy. They were held atop a golden pedestal when their debut, Middle of Nowhere, was flying high. “It’s a combo of awe and fear when you’re in a bus and there’s 300 girls outside almost pushing it over,” says Zach as he awaits tour practice in the place where it all began — Tulsa, Okalahoma. “I was just kinda like, ‘This is crazy! I’m gonna die!’” Eventually, the dream came to an end when their label, Island, was taken over by Def Jam and their brightly lit path became clouded with misjudgment and wrought with disappointment.

Building upon past failures, the trio today is gleaming with success. “It’s certainly more satisfying knowing that you were there for every single possible decision and every relationship that got built upon,” says the youngest Hanson. “You really have to try to put in the hours and make two different people: the creative artist and the on-time businessman.”

Now they incorporate their passions into every aspect of their medium, like their life-changing trip to South Africa. “[It’s] a combo of being inspired and horrified and being filled with guilt and love,” says Hanson. “We don’t have perfect solutions, but I know it’s an issue and I know I can make a difference if I just give the things that I have.” Hanson educates their fans about poverty in South Africa, on their current Use Your Sole tour. Before each show, the band will be walking with their fans, and every mile walked will raise funds for one of five causes to aid Africa. All grown up, the brothers have a new outlook on life and are thankful to be getting a second chance at success. “I think there’s a certain something in the record that’s saying, 'Wow, we’ve survived all this stuff we’ve gone through as a band.'" | RDW