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Interview With Hanson

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MuzikMan: I remember when you guys were very young and the newest sensations and pop darlings. I have to say that after listening to your latest live release Best of Hanson Live and Electric, it certainly gives me a different impression of who you are, or who you have become as a band. Besides a great new album that has gained the respect and adulation of music lovers everywhere, what has changed since you first started?

Hanson: We have been a band for thirteen years as of May, and those years passing, that much more time playing and writing together, we are a stronger band then we ever have been. We still make music for the same reasons we started. I don’t think that will change. There is something about music that can change your day and on some occasions your life. Hearing James Taylor, or the Beatles, the Stones, a little Tom Petty, it does something to you. I would like to do the same thing for someone else.

MuzikMan: Your sound is a very defined, clean and energetic rock-pop, do you feel that there is a totally new audience unaware of your past out there just waiting to take you in their arms and embrace you or is there a mixture of old and new fans eager to hear what you have to offer now?

Hanson: The fans who have followed us for seven or eight years, we want to keep bringing them along on the Hanson musical journey, and at the same time with each album you hope to find new people who may be hearing you for the first time. In the same way our music has never stopped evolving, the fans of the music will change too.

MuzikMan: I love your new album, it crackles and snaps with energy. You sound incredibly good for a trio. Did you use any other musicians for this recording besides relying on yourself?

Hanson: For the live show we have a bass player and a rhythm guitar player. What can you do? We only have six arms. We are really proud of the way it came out.

MuzikMan: What is the difference in being tied to a major label and being an indie organization? I understand that you are visiting colleges to make students aware of the fact that the future of music is in their hands and not major corporations, can you elaborate on what this is all about and how people are reacting?

Hanson: Being “indie” is not a way to stick it to the man. For us, forming our own label is about looking to the future. The major label system is one that works single to single, and week to week, thinking less about the career and more about the stock price. We are career-minded, believing in the idea of a catalog of great albums that people can come back to over and over. We are going to colleges to talk to students about being active. Just like electing a president, it is your choice to be a part, to speak out about what you want to hear on radio and see on MTV, etc. Young people today are being defined by what is played in the radio and seen on TV.

MuzikMan: If you were to offer advice to young people that have dreams and goals like you once had when you were very young, what would you say to them? What can young musicians do now to protect their interest, remain focused, and true to their intentions as legitimate recording artists?

Hanson: Know who you want to be. That does not mean “tell me what you want to sound like,” it means every time you put out a CD or print a t-shirt you are showing and telling people what to think of YOU!

You run across a lot of talented musicians, but few have the drive to do the extra work. Be one of the few.

Keep as many rights as you can. If you believe in what you are doing then you need to invest back in it by keeping rights and not taking big advances.

MuzikMan: What are you hoping to gain with this new start and the positive reception you have received thus far? Is it your purpose to stay in the music business for the remainder of your lives or are there other interests, projects, and goals you all have as individuals and band members?

Hanson: Music is our life blood. To make it is a gift that we get from the fans who buy our albums. As long as there are music fans, there will be Hanson chipping away at the goal – meaningful, passionate music.

MuzikMan: What is your own personal take on the new album, what did it mean to each of you while recording and what were some of the hurdles you overcame during the process? Was it all worth it? Did it turn out as you envisioned when you started?

Hanson: Live and Electric is a sum-up of the last thirteen years as a band. It is a way to show the songs we have written and played for years in the context of where we are today. Playing live is a big part of who we are, and this gives fans who have never seen a show the chance to experience the rest of Hanson.

There were hurdles, as with every album: mics that went bad half way through the show, bad levels, etc. This album was a moment in time. You only get one chance to play it, no re-dos, no “STOP! Let’s try that again.” But the imperfection is part of what is missing in so much music today. It can be perfect, but if it loses the soul on the way it doesn’t matter.

MuzikMan: In closing, what is next for Hanson? Are you touring a lot to promote the new album, what are your plans for the next project? Are you going to stay with the same style of music or are your fans in for some surprises? Where are you taking the tour? Who will you playing with on the tour? What are you most excited about?

Hanson: We make music for the same reasons that we did when we started, but we are not the same band we were thirteen years ago. In the same way you are always gaining new inspiration from looking at your music from different points in your career. I hope that people will say “that is not what I thought I would get,” every time they play a Hanson record. We are already writing for the next studio album.

One of the things we are always pushing is the support of new independent music. With our tour this fall at colleges we will be having a local independent artist opening at every show. We want to give a leg up to great music if we can.

Hanson’s MySpace page:

Purchase Tickets page:

Hanson’s Official Site:

© Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

September 2, 2005


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About MuzikMan

  • Minh Le

    it’s the interview i’ve been waiting for so long. i’m a big fan of the band. just a little bit disapointed with ‘This time around’. but now, they are back, in the most energetic and artistic way. thanks MuzikMan.
    i’d like to ask you a question. do you think the band want to show their maturity by not appearing so often on media? is it a good way?

    Minh Le

  • The first time I saw them was when that “Mmbop” video first came on MTV. It was at 7 am in some hotel in Middle America and I woke up after 4 hours of sleep and turned on the TV. I saw the little midget kid drumming and I thought, “It’s kind of cute that they have the cute lil girl sister singing.”

    I took notice of the catchy harmonies and started incorrectly singing the lyrics as “Mmbop doo bop scooby doo wop” and such nonsense while shuffling (it was too early to dance, mind you, after a late night) around my dingy hotel room. What a life I led. I had the song stuck in my head and hummed it for a couple of days after that.

    Little did I know that the “cute,” rosy-cheeked one was a boy. I later found that out and I still didn’t believe it. Now, keep in mind, I was still a teenager myself when I saw this and that I’m all man. But damn, if he didn’t look like a cute girl — not HOT, because that would have made me gay. But cute.

    I think I’ve heard a couple of their other songs on various TV talk show appearances and none of them have ever recaptured the Mmbop magic for me.

    And I’m one of the funniest writers in America.

    I think I’m officially going to quote these words for life. My guess is you got them from the tall, ugly, oldest brother — he seems very self-serious and chatty:

    “Hanson: Being “indie” is not a way to stick it to the man. […] Young people today are being defined by what is played in the radio and seen on TV. […] Know who you want to be. That […] means every time you put out a CD or print a t-shirt you are showing and telling people what to think of YOU!”

    Brilliantly idiotic words to live by. But I’ll still always have Mmbop and that cute young man Zac Hanson.

    Think I’m alone? See the following article excerpt from ItsIncredible Music News

    ‘Lost in Translation star Scarlett Johansson became cautious about reading her own movie reviews as a child, after a journalist wrote that she resembled a member of 1990s boy band trio Hanson.
    The blonde beauty was proud of her acting efforts as a youngster, but wasn’t quite sure what to make of her comparison youngest “MMMBop” singer Zac Hanson.
    She says, “When I was 12 and had just finished The Horse Whisperer, some writer said I looked like the youngest member of Hanson.
    “My sixth grade teacher read it out loud to the class!”‘

    Now before you judge me for having thought Zac Hanson was a really cute girl (how did it now become REALLY cute?), think for yourself if you’ve ever thought Scarlett Johansson was cute and THEN judge me if you will, my darlings.

    That is all.

  • Maria

    Muzikman: Thanks very much for the Hanson interview. I have been following the band for years, and I enjoyed it greatly.

    And to Bob A. Booey: If you are indeed one of the funniest writers in America (as opposed to, say, a boor who laughs at his own jokes), why is your post so entirely lacking in anything amusing? Jokes about Zac Hanson being “a girl”, and not knowing the lyrics of MMMBop, grew old and flat back in 1997.

  • Funnygirl

    I’ve been a fan of the band for years as well. They’ve certainly earned their street cred over the years, not just through the evolution of their music from “teen pop” to old school indie rock, but also from having to put up with inane comments such as the ones Bob A. Booey treated us to. If I’m not mistaken Bob,aka “one of the funniest writers in America” a lot of your material seems to have been borrowed from some of the other “funniest writers in America”. A lot of old material that is. Get over it Bob. Come into the light. So you had a thing for the “cute” rosey-cheeked one (which apparently left you confused and dazed) and it left you with a little displaced anger. Admit it. You did. Didn’t we all.

  • Looks like you asked for Bob. I say good enough for ya! Thanks everyone for standing by the band, they are a great bunch of men that are making some quality music. Keep the comments coming!

  • Maria and Funnygirls, we got problems, chicas.

    But that’s nothing a little degrading threesome can’t cure.

    I’m not making fun of Hanson! I don’t know if I’d use the phrase “street cred” to describe them, but I said I liked them! What? Why so sensitive, you dingy broads?

    That is all.

  • Funnygirl

    But that’s nothing a little degrading threesome can’t cure.

    BWAAAAHAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAAA!! No thanks. I can’t speak for Maria aka “chica” about her sensitivity, but you missed my point entirely. I just think you’re a pompous idiot. And not a funny one at that.

    That is all.

  • Funnygirl, who am I borrowing funny material from exactly? I’m curious to see who you think I’m influenced by and stealing from.

    That is all.

  • danascully

    Bob, I think she’s referring to your use of the very old, very tired jokes about the Hansons looking like girls. Apart from that, I am not sure what the point of your post was. Anyway, I’m a huge fan of Hanson’s music, and I plan to go to one of the shows this fall. Thanks, Keith for doing this interview.

  • Maria

    Bob, you seem so bewildered by my reaction to your post, and by the reactions of the others here. Have you actually read your own post? Where did you say you liked Hanson? You gave numerous excuses for having once liked their song MMMBop (you were young, you hadn’t slept well that night.) You repeat ad nauseum that you thought one brother was a girl. You make it clear that you’re totally indifferent to all of their other music, to the point that you can’t remember the name of a single song, or even if you really ever heard any other songs by them. You call one brother “ugly”. You call their words “brilliantly idiotic”. If this is the way you talk about those you like…. well, I’m not sure I want you to like me.

    Here’s a challenge: go to the website or the MySpace page linked in this interview. LISTEN to some of the band’s music. Then, come back, and we can talk.

    Deal? 😉

  • Shark

    Hanson has tons of talent. They had more talent as young kids than most contemporary adult bands currently trying too hard to be creative.

    They’ll be doing great things for years to come.

    Anyway, I love these guys… but not like Booey does, if ya know what I mean.


    (there, I said it.)

  • Shark

    BTW: Booey, you’re the one who sounds like a grumpy elderly person.

    Who’s yer granddaddy!

  • godoggo

    When I was in COLLEGE there was a really cute blonde girl in my Alcoholism and Society class that I was a little shy about talking to. A friend who knew her told me she was a boy. Presumably I would have found out eventually.

    Then there was this one girl with really small…oh, never mind.

  • Shark loves Hanson? 🙂

    That is all.

  • balbotta

    thanks for your interview. i’m a big fan of the band and I was eager to read something like that.
    I reckon the message Hanson will bring over to collges during this tour is one of the best things that’s even happened in the music business.
    Check out http://www.areyoulistening.com when you have a couple of minutes.

  • Funnygirl

    Shark loves Hanson? 🙂

    Little did I know that the “cute,”
    rosy-cheeked one was a boy. I later found that out and I still didn’t believe it. Now, keep in mind, I was still a teenager myself when I saw this and that I’m all man. But damn, if he didn’t look like a cute girl — not HOT, because that would have made me gay. But cute.

    Look who’s talking! Come on Bob, admit it. You’re all bent out of shape because someone caught you looking at Teen Pop magazine once and you’ve been forever traumatized by the fact that “the cute girl” made you question your sexuality. Let it go Bob. Don’t blame Hanson.

    By the way…I’m one of America’s funniest therapists.

    That is all.
    That is all.

  • Maria

    … oh, and Bob? If you really want to see the prototype for your “funny” material, search Google and see if you can find any of those old “Anti-Hanson” sites ca. 1997. Some may still be available online. They all stated that Taylor and Zac are girls, MMMBop makes no sense, and Isaac is ugly. I thought the adolescent boys who started those sites way back then might have grown up and started doing something productive with their time in the intervening seven years, but I see that same old garbage is rearing its ugly head again in your post…..

  • Wow, you Hanson yentas are almost as vicious as the Mariah Carey “attack lambs.”

    How DARE you call the ugly one ugly?!!!

    And that “BWAHAHAHAHAHA,” girls? Not hot at all 🙂 The 3some is OFF!

    That is all.

  • God! You people are just too funny!

    I love this!

    Give more controversy!!!

  • Maria

    Have you listened to any music, Bob? Or is the important thing here who’s “ugly” and who “looks like a girl”?

  • These are all important things, Nancy.

    I’ll have to check out this “music” that you speak of for myself. You say you listen to it with your ears?

    Keith: But I’m the funniest, right?

    That is all.

  • Yeah right Bob, uhhh, you are the funniest…I think…Don’t even know who you are man, just know you opened the door to a lot of people blasting you, now that was funny!

  • Funnygirl

    And that “BWAHAHAHAHAHA,” girls? Not hot at all 🙂 The 3some is OFF!

    BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH…twas I that told you that you could keep your goodies to yourself. I don’t see why you’d need us yentas anyway. You seem to be getting off on your bad self just fine. Ewwwwwwwww. That’s a disgusting visual.BWHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
    That is all.
    Wait, no it’s not.
    Why don’t you post a link where we can take a look at your ugly puss. I mean, being “one of the funniest writers in America, you must be on some website somewhere! Come on bigmouth. We’re waiting.
    Now, that is all.

  • Funnygirl

    Oh, hey Keith! Loved the interview. This has all been very entertaining hasn’t it?

  • Maria

    Who you calling Nancy? Read the posts. There does seem to be a nancy here, but it sure ain’t me!

    You’re “funny” all right. Like someone’s “funny uncle”.

    Yes, I listen to music with my ears. I actually don’t want to know what you listen to it with.

    I haven’t decided yet whether or not you’re a boor, but I’m quickly coming to the conclusion that you are indeed a bore. If you can’t find some way to make a comment on the music that reflects some amount of thought and intelligence, I’m outta here. This game is a bit too childish for me; I don’t want to play. Sounds like some of the other “yentas” are losing interest as well. Soon, you may have nobody to play with but yourself.

  • Shark

    Maria to Booey: “Soon, you may have nobody to play with but yourself.”

    …and you can bet he’ll be fantasizing about Zac.

    PS: Hanson rocks.

  • Shark’s such a yenta 🙂 That’s what you get for being all emotional and artsy and crap.

    That was funny, me accidentally calling that broad “Nancy” — unintentional comedy.

    Funnygirl obviously wants me, in the Biblical sense. But I don’t want any “love at first sight” thing happening, Funnygirl, because you’ll join the rest of America and want to marry me. And you’ll want Hanson at the wedding I’ll never agree to. And that just won’t do because I’ll want Zac instead to be my blushing bride.

    That is all.

  • Funnygirl

    Who you calling Nancy? Read the posts. There does seem to be a nancy here, but it sure ain’t me!

    That is too funny Maria!

    Come on Bob, bogus “one of the funniest writers in America” who do you write your “funny uncle” crap for?
    I have visions of you Bob, not in the Biblical sense, of you sitting in the basement of the science building with the other cyber nerds just getting your rocks off. “Look, hardyharhar, I called them all yentas, snort….”

  • Hey, get it right. It’s the accountancy department building! We’re way cooler than that. They cheer me on like my personal cheering section.

    I’m nobody’s Uncle. I’m like the rebel cousin who’s at reform school.

    Would I be less of a nancy and less of a cyber-nerd if I listened to this “music” you speak of?

    That is all.

  • Maria

    In response to:
    ‘Would I be less of a nancy and less of a cyber-nerd if I listened to this “music” you speak of?’

    I don’t think anybody here knows the answer to that. Check with a mental health professional if there is a problem.

    If you listened to the music, you might have something interesting to say, and that would certainly help the conversation around here.

  • Amy

    Thankyou for doing this interviw. It’s nice to see questions based on the music. Hanson are all about music. I love the music they make. I’ve been a fan for 8 yeas this month. I’m an adult Hanson fan. Keep up the great job guys. I wish you continued success in all you do. God bless you all!!!

  • Funnygirl

    Maria, have you had an opportunity to hear the band live during this last tour? I did and I was blown away. I’m hoping this new CD can convey the charisma that this amazing band has onstage. I especially loved their new take on some of their classic tunes. For example, their funky version of the song Speechless from MON was phenominal. I also loved their Radiohead and U2 covers. They are truly underrated artists. But their time has finally come I believe.

  • Maria

    FunnyGirl: Yes, I saw them in June, in New Jersey. I wish I had gotten to see them at Mayfest, when they played with Leon Russell! Did you know that they’re going to be on the Jimmy Kimmel show this Tuesday night? Rumor has it that they’re going to play Underneath, which is one of my favorite songs.

  • I hope that mean, awful Jimmy Kimmel doesn’t try to make any jokes at their expense about “Mmmbop” and looking like little girls.

    That is all.

  • Funnygirl

    Thanks Maria! I didn’t know that. I really like that song as well. I was really excited to learn that they wrote it with Matthew Sweet. He’s another one of my favorite artists. I read an article about Matthew and spoke of his writing experience with Hanson and he gave them loads of kudos, said they were incredibly talented and amazing to work with.

  • danascully

    Thanks, did not know they would be on the Kimmel show! Bob, I’m not worried about him making jokes like yours … last time I watched Kimmel, he was funny.

    (ba dum bum)

  • danascully

    Maria, I was at the NJ show too, which was excellent. are you going to any upcoming shows? I just convinced two of my boneheaded friends to go with me to the DC show at the 930 club. It should be interesting.

  • Maria

    Danascully, that’s great that you’re bringing people to the 930 Club Show!! If all works out, I’m hoping to get to that show as well. Who knows, maybe we’ll get to meet each other! 🙂

  • Smilepunk

    Thanks sooo much for the awesome interview! Hanson truly are one of a kind! I have been a fan since May of ’97 and have seen them in concert 3 times. Each time i saw them they rocked! Hanson truly are about the music and are amazing 😀 I hope others well read your interview with them and realize Hanson are here to stay and will continue to amaze us 🙂 Hanson Rocks! Take Care!

  • Valerya

    i love hanson so muchhhhhhh!!!!!!!
    from. Brasil

  • Victoria

    Hey I really liked the interview. I think your asked really great questions. I’m really excited about the new album and I can’t wait till it comes out. Hanson is so talented, and they only continue to get better.

    The MUSIC lives!!!!

  • For those of you who don’t know I was and still am fan of Hanson. It has been already eight years since I first heard their hit single MMMBOP and got instantly addicted. I wasn’t able to get the words of the song out of my mind and soon I was proud owner of their first album “Middle of Nowhere “– it actually was my first CD ever as few days ago I got Sony Play station console from my mother and finally had something not only to play games, but and to listen to music. I can definitely say that the music of Hanson enchanted my life. I made a lot of new friends (mostly girls, but that is understandable…). Because of Hanson I developed an interest in English and even learned how to use Internet. Pretty much they were the reason for my decision to attend a high school at the USA. I could feel many pages just describing the impact their music had on my life.

    Here is the place where I must mention that for about 5 years I was mostly listening to techno music and like many teenagers got a taste of the rave culture with all the pluses and minuses of it. During the past 2 – 3 years I wasn’t listening to the music of Hanson frequently – actually the occasions were pretty rare. Recently I got their new album “Live and electric – the best of Hanson “. When I heard it I felt shocked – it is a bit hard to explain , but somehow their music refreshed so many of my memories – when I listen to it I feel like 14 y.o – not because the music is childish – it is actually great energetic rock – but I feel like before , when I got addicted to them. The time has passed and many things are different now – Taylor is married, he even has children – the band has its own independent label and encourages people to believe that music can be made without the demanding huge corporations.

  • Angel McGaha

    I want hanson to come to my house for my 16th birth day.[Deleted. It’s just so not a good idea to put your contact info here, sorry. Comments Editor] Ask for Angel.So this is Isaac Hanson,And Taylor Hanson,and Zachary Hanson.Thank you.Love yall .Love Angel McGaha.

  • Hanson are great and i love there music they have gained more rythem in to there songs over the years but i think they are better now and they difined the word music because how good they are i am so in to bands that can play there own instuments it is so cool.
    I am learning how to play bass because it is my ambission to play bass guitar 4 some one some day.
    Hanson are the best !!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ren

    Hello!I realy like your music…
    I realy believe that all your alboums are great…
    You are funny but first of all good at your work!
    The point is that at Greece is difficult to found your alboum.I can’t buy from internet for many reasons,but the point is that I can’t found you at the music stores anymore…Why????

  • K Dizzle

    You guys don’t even write about the music except for the good few of you. You act like freaking toddlers. I am 15 and I am more mature tha you. I have been listening to them since I could pick up a drumstick. Zac has been a big influence in my life. He is pretty much my role model. And yes, I am a girl. People used to make fun of me because I listened to Hanson. Here’s what I say, ” I grew up on these guys and that’s not gonna change. GET USED TO IT!”