|UNIVERSITY NEWS KANSAS CITY|
By: Hilary Saskin
It started with three long-haired boys.
They sang and played instruments and loved every minute of it.
The boys are now men, and they have come a long way since "MMMBop."
"For one thing, the time period causes the craft that you do to sort of refine itself," Taylor Hanson, member of Hanson, said. "You kind of develop your style. You pick up influences along the way. You're able to execute that initial idea and you're that much better."
With four studio albums to the band's name and a fifth on the way, Taylor and his brothers (Zac and Isaac Hanson, bandmates) are no strangers to the world of music.
And Taylor has a lot of insight on the ways time has affected their music.
"As a whole we haven't changed," he said. "We've always pulled from old school music and classic rock and roll as our first kind of core influence. And that really has always been there."
One thing that has changed, however, is how people hear their music.
Taylor believes people hear their songs in a different light now than they did back in 1997, when their first album came out.
"If nothing else you heard these high young voices because we were kids," he said about Hanson's early music.
With deeper voices and years of experience, they are developing a whole new fan base.
Taylor said a majority of their fans have gone forward with them.
They listened to the band back in 1997 and continue to do so today.
"High school students up to late 20s, early 30s - that's our core is that span of people," he said. "[Fans] are definitely not the same age as when we started out."
By "the same age," Taylor means the 10-year olds who would dance in the front row of their concerts.
But that doesn't mean they are no longer loved by teeny boppers all over.
And Taylor is glad that has not changed.
"I would hope that a 10-year-old would always like our music," he said. "For me, a great song is a great song."
Taylor's primary means of distinguishing a good song is his children.
If they like a song, he said that's how he knows it must be great, because there is something causing an "instinctual response."
Aside from their following, Hanson has changed in a variety of other aspects too.
As a band, Taylor credits a decade full of experiences for shaping who they are today.
And he is full of optimism for the band's future.
"We still have so much ahead of us even though we've been doing this for a long time. Our first show we did way back when was 17 years ago - I was nine," he said.
Now 26, Taylor is looking forward to whatever is in store for them.
It's been more than a decade since Hanson became a topic of interest.
A large part of their appeal stemmed from the fact that they are brothers.
And they wouldn't have it any other way.
Rather than trying to explain what it's like being in a band with his brothers, Taylor thought, "What would it be like not being in a band with your brothers?"
"I think the important thing that we always try to communicate to people is the fact that we're not just a brother band," he said. "It's not just the brother thing that's a factor. We wouldn't be in a band if we didn't have kind of a shared connection as individuals."
This connection is music and everything that revolves around it.
They share a mutual love and respect for all things music.
"We have a common interest and common set of skills, and we're bound to one another in a unique way," Taylor said. "It's greater than brotherhood. It's greater than band members. It's just this other third category which we fall into."
Their collaboration of interests and skills makes for a unique bond between the brothers.
They have been singing and playing music together for the majority of their lives.
And they have shared a variety of experiences along the way, beginning when they were all young boys.
Fast-forward to today.
All three have kids of their own, which makes for a very busy tour bus.
"It's a complete circus," Taylor said. "We're training some of our kids to walk the tightrope, and we've got a fire breather."
The Hanson family circus on tour may be crazy, but they all love it.
Taylor considers having a family and being in a band somewhat similar ideas.
"It's all kind of organized chaos," he said. "You're trying to keep it all together and you've got all these personalities … and you try to figure out how to get them to work together."
While it may get "a little wild" when they go on tour, Taylor wouldn't have it any other way.
He likes the familiarity of it, especially since he has spent a lot of his life on the road with his family.
And Hanson has hit the road yet again, currently traveling across the country for their "Use Your Sole" tour.
Along with the tour, they continue their Take the Walk campaign, consisting of one-mile barefoot walks staged across the United States and Canada.
According to their Web site, www.takethewalk.net, the walks are intended to take action against the HIV/AIDS pandemic and poverty in Africa.
As Hanson prepares for their fifth album's release Taylor hopes "to leave great songs and great stories out there for people to enjoy for years to come - for there to be something that really lasts."
"I'm trying to communicate things that everybody doesn't necessarily have the words to say," Taylor explained. "It's about creating something that we feel like connects with people and really inspires people."
The upcoming album, Stand Up, Stand Up, is now available for pre-order on their Web site, www.hanson.net.
It is scheduled to hit stores in the spring of 2010.
Hanson will perform with HelloGoodbye on Oct. 2 at the Beaumont Club.