Hanson eye Newcastle show 20 years after Mmmbop Hanson: Isaac, right, pictured with Taylor and Zac, said music “has the ability to transcend time and to affect hearts and minds”.
Hanson: Zac, Taylor and Isaac’s new festive album Finally It’s Christmas includes four original songs.
Hanson: Isaac, Zac and Taylor Hanson perform in Sydney on June 22. “There’s always new things to say and new ways to say them.” Picture: Helen Gregory
Hanson: Zac, Isaac and Taylor with their Mmmhops brew at Oklahoma City Brewing Company in 2014. Picture: Matthew Swaggart/Hanson Brothers Beer
Hanson: Isaac, Taylor and Zac around the time they released sixth album Anthem.
Hanson: Isaac, Taylor and Zac around the time they released fifth album, Shout It Out.
Hanson: Zac, Taylor and Isaac around the time they released fifth album, Shout It Out.
Hanson: Zac, Taylor and Isaac in 1997. Picture: Marina Chavez
Hanson: Isaac, Taylor and Zac in 1997. Picture: Marina Chavez/Mercury Records
Hanson: Fans packed the carpark of Westfield Southland in Melbourne on May 1, 1998, to see the brothers perform. Picture: Joe Castro
Hanson: Isaac, Zac and Taylor pose with their Best Breakthrough award at the MTV Music Awards in Rotterdam November 6 1997. Photo: AP Photo/Dusan Vranic.
Hanson: The band at Fox FM Radio with fans Eleanor Braithwaite, 15, and Sarah Nally, 14, in 1997.
Hanson: The band arrives for the MTV Music Television’s 20th anniversary celebration in New York on August 1, 2001. Picture: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
Hanson: The band performed on MTV’s TRL in Sydney on May 26, 2005.
Hanson: Fans queue out the front of the Enmore Theatre for the band’s May 29, 2005 show. Picture: Tamara Dean.
Hanson: Zac, Taylor and Isaac around the time they released third album Underneath.
Hanson: Isaac, Taylor and Zac around the time they released third album Underneath.
TweetFacebookWeekender from the band’s hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, he says he and his brothers Taylor and Zacare all too aware their fans have “had to deal with a variety of misunderstandings about who the band Hanson is and what the band Hanson represents”.
They’veheard it all:that Hanson areone-hit wonders, too young, too pop, too earnest, too clean, too traditional, too 1990s.
While these perceptions have dogged the band throughout their 25-year career, their longevity and success within the music industry – a just-wrapped 60-date world tour, three Grammy nominations, six studio albums, more than 16 million record sales andtheir ownlabel– and their fan communityspeaks for itself.
The brothers have established a beer company; a craft beer and music festival;an online store that sells everything from Christmas ornaments to cookie cutters, baby apparel, poker chips, coasters, pillowcases, temporary tattoos andHansonopoly; and organisegetaways to Tulsa and Jamaica.
“The fansinevitably get frustrated by that [misunderstanding] and I get that,” says Isaac, now 37, who was thrust into the spotlight at just 16 with the band’s breakthrough, Mmmbop.
“We’ve always been very focused on the future and on continuing to make music.
“[But] we wanted to [create an opportunity to] say to them, ‘You guys are bad-ass, you stuck with us and we appreciate that.
“We know this hasn’t been easy for you, because it hasn’t been easy for us.
“We appreciate you, we thank you, because it matters to us and we know it matters to you’.”
Pausing midway through their rousing two-hour set in Sydney in June, the trio dedicated Strong Enough to Break to “anyone who has ever had to stand up for this band”.
The audience, including many who had been queuing since before dawn, erupted, their faces glowing with pride.
“We know you guys have taken some shit,” Taylor, 34, said.
“But let me tell you what –this is real talk here –it’s not about the battles, ladies and gentlemen.
“It’s about winning the war.”
It’s a quarter of a century since the brothers formed thepop-rockband and 20 years since they released Mmmbop, from their first major label album, Middle of Nowhere.
This year they played to full houses across the globe on their Middle of Everywhere 25thanniversary tour, releaseda greatest hits album featuringsingle I Was Bornand saw their second festive album, Finally It’s Christmas, hit the ARIA Top 10.
It features four uplifting original songs, as well as covers of classics including Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You, Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmastime and Stevie Wonder’s Someday at Christmas. Isaac takes the lead in the rollicking ‘TilNew Year’s Night, which was inspired by the late Chuck Berry and the filmHail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll.
In the Hunter, more than 850 fans have mobilised behind Facebook campaign Bring Hanson to Newcastle. Isaac saysthe trio would “love” to make their first visit to thecity on their next tour down under.
“Who are we to complain?” Isaac says.
It would be easy to find targets for any lingering frustration.
Attitudes of “ageism and condescension” that meant many “didn’t realise we knew what we were doing”; record company executives who failed to support their vision, prompting the band to start their own label; and the world’s enduring image of the brothers, forever frozen in time as long-haired and baby-faced.
“There are a lot of people who have never left high school and can’t get over the fact their girlfriend had a crush on some guy in a band and it makes them uncomfortable about themselves,” Isaac says matter-of-factly.
“So they still go back to this ridiculous high school nonsense commentary.
“[But] we have crossed over, we’re 25 years old as a band and there are very few people that get that far.
“We have sold out shows all around the world and it’s because of those consistent, stubborn, amazing fans.”
Isaac singles out the “enthusiasm and interest” of Hunter devotees, who have campaigned to the band for a Newcastle show and started a change老域名出售 petition.
“We would love to go to as many places as we possibly can on the next set of shows … and so if we can get an offer from a promoter in Newcastle, we will come,” he says.
“I am hopeful and we will look into it and see if there are people that are willing to bring us.
“We’ve had great success with the last three runs through your lovely country, so is always at the top of our list.
“I expect there will be n tour dates that go along with whatever touring it is we’re doing next year or the following year.”
Hanson were just 16, 14 and 11 when they were embraced by tweens who were, for the first time, seeingmusicians their own age writing songs, playing instruments,storming the charts –and crucially, venturing online.
Mercury Records talent scout Steve Greenberg told the Washington Post this year there was “no way” he was going to sign the brothers so soon after the grunge era – until an epiphany in the supermarket.
“I pulled out one of those teen magazines and realised as I was looking through, there were no pictures of any musicians,” Greenberg said.
“It was all pictures of Jonathan Taylor Thomas and actors. Of course, you can’t put Eddie Vedder in there.
“I just realised there was a huge hole here. I thought, ‘I wish there was somebody like that.’”
The brothers had already recordedtwo independent albumswhen they signedto Mercury andreleasedMiddle of Nowhere.
The label merged in May 2000with Island Def Jam Music Group, whichcut promotional and tour funding for their second album and turned down more than 80 songs they’d started writing for third albumUnderneath.
They responded by setting up 3CG Records, which has released their past four albums.
The gamble paid off:Underneathhit number one on the US Billboard Independent albums chart.
“We’re a one-stop shop,” Isaac says.
“It’s our record company, it’s our band, our songs and there’s no middle man.”
Thisair ofaccessibilityis one reason why, while some of theoriginalfans have moved on, many of their now 30-something-year-old admirers show a level of devotion arguably unrivalled by any other fandom.
The band recently sold out tickets to their sixthBack to the Island event, at an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica in January.
The brothers host events including tie-dye, games such as Cards Against Humanity and a dance party as well asperform each night.
Hundreds also congregate each May in Tulsa for Hanson Day celebrations, which this year included sampling Hanson BrothersBeer Company’s new Redland Amber Ale, a concert,karaoke with Isaac,Hansonopoly with Zac anda DJ set from Taylor.
StoressoldHanson chocolates, ‘’Mmmbopper’car stickersand’Tulsa is my Graceland’badges. Baristas usedstencils to sprinkle Hanson symbols atop coffees.
When the band visited in June, many fans flew between cities to attend all eight shows (six sold out). Some slept on the streetsto get front row.
It’s behaviour replicated across every continent.
“The truth is, I’m not sure I know the answer,” Isaac says, about why Hanson inspiressuch dedication.
“I hope that it has a lot to do first and foremost with the fact that we care deeply about the music we make and the quality of the music we make.
“Because fame is fleeting and popularity is not something that you have a whole lot of control over, but what you do have control over is what you do and what you are famous for.
“My hope,my goal,is to be famous for being really good atmaking music and writing songs.”
Isaac saysthe band realises just how fortunate they are to have had such a commercially successful “banner year”.
“We’ve soldas much or more [ticket-wise]than in previous yearsand so it’s continuing to build when it could have been the opposite –there werea lot of years in between our last tour and this one,” he says.
“In a world where people are not buying music or spending money on music, our fanclub membership has grown significantly this year and shows indications of continuing to grow significantly into next year as well.
“That puts us in a position where we have a lot of ability to continue to do exciting new things.”
Even after spending more than half their lives as professional musicians, Isaac says there is still plenty of new ground to break.
Asked about rumours rife within the fandom about an orchestral tour, Isaac says “there are not any specific plans for things of that nature yet –but that would be fun”.
“We’ve considered a lot of concepts.”
The band aremidway through their first Christmas tour, playing songs from 1997’sSnowed In(which they’ve reprinted) and this year’sFinally It’s Christmasthrough Canada, the USand England.
“We were a bit bummed out we weren’t able to do a Christmas show in – we definitely talked about it, but we thought ‘We might not be able to pull that off, it might be a little close to our last tour’,” he says.
“But if the chart position means anything,we could have totally done a couple of Christmas shows in , so we’ll remember that for next time.”
While they may now all have children of their own–Isaac is a father to three, Taylor to five and Zac to four–the brothers haveno intention of slowing down.
Isaac says they’ve “always” been motivatedby the kind of legacy they will leave, and never more so than after the deathof one of their own inspirations, Tom Petty, “which stung really hard for us”.
“The next five years is definitely going to include a lot more music,”he says.
“There’s always a mountain to climb … there’s always hearts you want to touch and connect with and people you want to encourage.
“It’s about the people and the opportunity to be there for others in some way or other, because music is medicine.”