THE RECORD
BACK TO
HANSON

Hanson is still grooving and walking ‘The Walk’
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Last updated: Sunday October 19, 2008, EDT 12:12 PM
BY TERECILLE BASA-ONG
STAFF WRITER


WHO: Hanson.

WHAT: Pop/rock.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Monday; 8 p.m. Oct. 30; 8 p.m. Nov. 1.

WHERE: Nokia Theatre, 1515 Broadway, Manhattan; Ticketmaster or nokiatheatrenyc.com. Paramount Theatre, 1300 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park; 732-897-8810 or theasburyparkboardwalk.com. Wellmont Theatre, 5 Seymour St., Montclair; 877-935-5668 or wellmonttheatre.com.

HOW MUCH: $25-$50.

Before there was Google, iPods and the Jonas Brothers, there was "MMMBop." And, to paraphrase from the band's first and most famous single, it's going to take more than an MMMBop before Hanson's gone.

It's been more than 10 years since the three brothers from Tulsa, Okla., came onto the music scene, but they're still going strong thanks to "a really strong touring base and fans who are excited to see us," said guitarist and eldest brother Isaac.

Along with keyboardist Taylor and drummer Zac, Isaac believes their longevity comes from upholding their musical roots.

"In a nutshell, our music has evolved over the years, but we've always maintained the basics of where we come from: guys who wanna write strong pop songs that are very much rooted in old-school R&B and groove," he said.

For their fourth album, though, 2007's "The Walk," the brothers went back to basics.

"We've tried to limit ourselves a little bit, saying we need to refine what it is Hanson represents as a band," he said.

"Staying honest to who we were and trying to sum up in some ways the last 10 years of our music, we said, 'From the ground up, who is this band? When people hear Hanson music, what do they hear?' They don't just hear singers or songwriters; they hear a band with a specific sound.

" 'The Walk' covers a lot of bases — a lot of R&B and gospel, pop sensibility and our love for a good pop song — but it continues to exploit our natural tendencies as a band and as musicians. It showcases new elements of musicality that were not as obvious in previous records."

The brothers have also turned to charitable efforts after seeing the ravages of the HIV epidemic during a 2006 trip to Africa.

"We saw an incredible opportunity for Americans to partner with Africans and positively change the direction of a very dangerous epidemic," Isaac said.

"We started with giving 'Great Divide' [away] as a charitable single — yes, a little bit clichéd, another artist giving away a song, wahoo. But we felt like it was too important for us not to do it."

Next, the band collaborated with TOMS Shoes, which gives one pair of shoes to an impoverished child for every pair of TOMS Shoes purchased. After delivering 50,000 pairs to South Africa last November, they realized: "[Our record] is called 'The Walk'; won't it be cool to just do walks?"

They incorporated that concept into their current "The Walk Around the World Tour." Before they take the stage at most concert stops, they lead one-mile barefoot walks, encouraging fans to join them, as they will donate $1 for each mile walked. The location of each walk is announced online at takethewalk.net, and those who participate can jump the line for the concert. Their goal is to have 24,902 people walk — one person for every mile it takes to go around the world.