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Hanson plays Poughkeepsie on Saturday
Walk, don't run, to the band's Poughkeepsie gig
By Sandy Tomcho
Times Herald-Record
October 24, 2008


Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson have come a long way since their "MMMBop" days. Collectively, the brothers now have six children and middle brother Taylor is expecting his fourth child with wife Natalie this winter. Isaac, the eldest, admits it definitely gets chaotic at times, but jokes about maybe being able to start a football team.

"We've got a bunch of boys and we are in Oklahoma," Isaac laughs, "so I think we might have an offensive line for the Sooners or the Cowboys."

Go! reporter Sandy Tomcho caught up with Isaac via cell phone from Maryland and chatted about giving back through their various charities and about the Jonas Brothers.

The tour for your album "The Walk" still has you out on the road and you've also been doing charity work in Africa. What kind of work?

We have truly loyal, passionate fans, and that's been proven when we, in 2007, started taking an aggressive approach to poverty and AIDS in Africa and supporting some people that we had met that we felt were really incredible people. So, what we did is we went out there and tried to help some friends sell shoes.

There's a company called TOMS Shoes and every time they sell a pair, they give a pair away. So we went to them and said, "Hey, guys, we'd like to help you sell your shoes because we know you have a goal of selling 50,000 and delivering those to South Africa." We helped them reach that goal and we also supported a hospital in Africa through the release of the song "Great Divide" and through some merch items as well. But, once those initial initiatives were done, we kept saying, look, this is our job and we need to keep being an example to people and say we all have something valuable that we can give. We kept wanting to use our music to positively affect people, so we took this whole "Walk" initiative and took it to a whole other level.

Which is "Take the Walk"?

Yes. On these walks that people show up to — and we're getting near 100 — every time somebody shows up for the walk, we're donating $1 for their mile. Our goal is 24,902 or the amount of miles around the world. We want to give away $24,902. Through www.takethewalk.net, we wanted to tell people that they can host their own walk and they can do what we're doing, and we will donate $1 for every person that walks with them as well. On the very first walk, there were 58 people and they raised $500. We thought that was exceptional.

Where is the money going?

Every walk supports one of several different causes that we outline. Poverty is being addressed with TOMS Shoes. There are problems with sanitation and dirty water, so we're drilling a clean water well. There's also problems with education regarding AIDS, so we're building a school. We're also helping to provide medicine to mothers who have AIDS who are pregnant, with the effort being if they take this medicine a month before they give birth, the child, in 98 percent of the cases, will not have the virus. We're also helping doctors stay in touch with their patients through technology that was created by some friends in Tulsa, Okla., who gave it to a leading research hospital in Africa. They stay in touch with them through encrypted text messages, and we're making sure those text messages are paid for.

You guys are doing so much charity work; do you plan on going back into the studio?

We have a book coming out Nov. 13, and the goal of the book is to continue to support the five causes I outlined for you, but also, along with the book, there's music that comes with it — new music, five songs, that we recorded over the summer that were inspired, in part, by walks and also by our trips to Africa. We're playing the new music as part of this tour, and we do expect to have another album out this time next year.

You've probably heard the Jonas Brothers' song in which one of the lines is "Pop and lock, battle dance against Hanson." When is that going to happen?

(Laughs) I have no idea what battle dancing is. But let me say one thing, Zac has got some outrageous moves. And Zac is a man of strong conviction. When people challenge him, he's really aggressive. Actually, Taylor, too. I'm the least competitive of the three of us. Zac and Taylor are very competitive people. If Zac started dancing, you might be both freaked out by his conviction and feel violated through your eyes. It's a very frightening experience, Zac dancing, through the point of view of amazement and horror.

"Take the Walk" with Hanson before the show. Lineup begins at 3 p.m. at the front doors of the Chance on Crannell Street.