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“Don’t misunderstand good manners for passivity,’’ Isaac Hanson says firmly down the phone from his kitchen in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Isaac is, of course, from that family band – the clean-cut, blond-haired brotherly trio who burst onto the scene in 1997 with the poptastic MmmBop, the catchy earworm that rocketed to No.1 in 27 countries, including Australia, and saw the band nominated for two Grammy awards.
‘‘People misunderstand our kind of jovialness and our good-natured conversations and whatnot, with happy-go-luckiness – and there is no amount of that,’’ says Isaac, the eldest, tallest and lankiest of the brothers.
‘‘Anyone who knows us, knows that we are all three very intense people and there is no lack of passionate disagreement among us, and it has always been that way.’’
Guitarist Isaac, 33, and his brothers, frontman Taylor, 31, and drummer Zac, 28, are heading to Australia spruiking their ninth studio album, Anthem. On it, Isaac says, is a never-before-heard intensity. The ‘‘aggressiveness’’ is reflected in the album’s cover, he says, which is dark and broody, and very un-Hanson. The mood reflects the heightened emotions in the making of the album, during which they’d nearly come to blows. That was the result, he says, of the strain of charging straight into the studio after two years on the road.
‘‘Frankly, we almost had a ‘I’m going to kill you’ kind of moment,’’ he says.
A ‘‘creative hiatus’’ of a few months eased the pressure, but songs such as Fired Up, which he says bear hints of AC/DC, reflect the fraught beginnings of the album, which has scored bigger on the charts than their other recent efforts.
Hanson, however, will be irrevocably tied with their mega-hit MmmBop and that success, while remarkable with 16 million albums sold worldwide, was never really replicated. Does getting drawn back to a song from 17 years ago ever get tiresome?
‘‘Even the biggest artists in the world have that particular challenge,’’ he says. “Even people like Paul McCartney still get references to 1964 all the time,’’ he says with a chuckle.
He says it’s a challenge to connect with an both an established audience that dates back to 1997, and continue to grow. ‘‘You know every book has to start with a first chapter and I think that Middle of Nowhere, Mmmbop and Where Is the Love are good places to start for us. I don’t think it’s a bad place.’’
He does believe, though, that the band get perceived incorrectly – that their worth as musicians gets lost in the ‘‘blond hair’’ novelty.
‘‘We are good-natured guys but our pleasant nature might have in the past made people think that what we did musically was a bit less rooted in being the band than we are.
‘‘It’s interesting to me still that many people will often be surprised that all of that music was stuff we wrote and played. I think those details are lost on people.”
He says having an audience discover or rediscover Hanson as a band, even fans from 1997, is an interesting part of the band’s evolution.
Also evolving is their marketing. Hanson have broadened out into beer making, with the genius brand name of Mmmhops.
‘‘I’m glad you feel that it’s good marketing,’’ Isaac says. ‘‘Honestly, it’s come from passion. We love beer. We have for a long time.’’
He says the band are proud of their tipple.
‘‘Hopefully people’s pop culture curiosity gets them to try the beer. I think people will be really pleasantly surprised by the artistry and complexity of the beer that we’re creating, because it’s a beer that I would drink every day – and I do,’’ he says.
Gig Friday, August 8, 8pm, Enmore Theatre
Tickets $65, ticketek.com.au
Live Maturing classic pop
Best track MmmBop from the album Middle of Nowhere (1997)
Lucy Hale used to write love letters to Zac Hanson and bury them in the woods.
The country singer-and-actress was quizzed by iHeart radio on the subject of first times. When asked about her first celebrity crush, the 25-year-old picked the youngest Hanson brother Zac, who is now 28.
“I was a huge Hanson fan. Well, it was him or Billy Gilman. He was a country singer. He was like the Justin Bieber of country music. He was, like, 11 or 12, but we’ll go with Zac Hanson,” she opened up to the radio station.
“I mean, I would write love letters and, like, hide them in the woods, like thinking that he would find them. I was really creepy, and I mean, I still kind of have a crush on Zac Hanson. I know he’s married and has kids, but whatever.”
However, Lucy’s crushes weren’t limited to popular singers. She also liked a boy at school called Matt, although she laments he never felt the same way.
“I thought I loved him. I saw pictures of him on Facebook the other day, and I think he’s in the army now, or something. He’s still beautiful,” she reminisced.
The Pretty Little Liars star also dished on her first date, which was at Chinese restaurant P.F. Chang’s. She ended up dating the guy for over three years, so they would always revisit the restaurant.
Lucy started her career with small parts in shows such as Drake and Josh and she can still remember how nervous she was about the role. She also recalled what she spent her first pay check on.
“I think it was at Forever 21. I think that was, like, up until I was about 18 years old, all my money went to Forever 21. Just clothes, yeah. Did not save a penny,” she grinned.
Taking a break from the GRAMMY Block Party in Austin, Texas, Taylor Hanson took a moment to chat with GRAMMY Pro about what he and his brothers are up to, his vision for the future of the music business, and his advice to young artists.
July 29th – Due to popular demand, HANSON have released a limited number of extra tickets for their SOLD OUT Friday 8th August show at the Enmore Theatre, along with the announcement of Australian support Adam Martin.
Adam Martin appeared on “The Voice” 2012. It took music superstar Keith Urban less than five seconds to identify Martin’s special brand of voice and believability. Adam’s singles “In My Dreams” and “This World Is Yours” received much attention on Australian airwaves resulting in sell out headline shows across Australia, and Adam getting the opportunity to work with award winning songwriters such as Jon Hume (Evermore), Darren Middleton (Powderfinger), and Rai Thistlethwayte (Thirsty Merc).
ANTHEM is HANSON’s 6th studio album and the fourth to be released on their own independent 3CG Records, which they founded in 2003.
2013 marked the 21st anniversary of HANSON. The band celebrated the anniversary with the launch of their own craft beer Mmmhops, inspired by the title of their breakout single.
HANSON have been nominated for multiple Grammys, released five prior studio albums which spawned a string of hit singles, and sold over 16 million albums worldwide.
|Tue 5 Aug||Brisbane AUSTRALIA||The Tivoli|
|Wed 6 Aug||Gold Coast AUSTRALIA||Coolangatta Hotel||Set List Voting|
|Fri 8 Aug||Sydney AUSTRALIA||Enmore Theatre||SOLD OUT|
|Sat 9 Aug||Melbourne AUSTRALIA||Palais Theatre||SOLD OUT|
|Sun 10 Aug||Melbourne AUSTRALIA||The Hi-Fi|
|Tue 12 Aug||Adelaide AUSTRALIA||HQ|
|Wed 13 Aug||Sydney AUSTRALIA||The Hi-Fi||Set List Voting|
|Fri 15 Aug||Fremantle AUSTRALIA||Metropolis||Set List Voting|
|Sun 17 Aug||Auckland NEW ZEALAND||Powerstation|
ANTHEM Track Listing:
I’ve Got Soul
You Can’t Stop Us
Get The Girl Back
For Your Love
Lost Without You
Cut Right Through Me
Scream and Be Free
Save Me From Myself
Brewer: Mustang Brewing Company
The Details: Started from a homebrew operation and poured their first in-pub pint in 2009. This OKC-based elder statesman of state brewing has been busy since, most notably catching headlines for helping the Hanson brothers bring MmmHops to life.
Availability: Oklahoma and Arkansas, with plans to “expand to additional states in 2014-2015.”
Try (if you can find it): Mustang Summer Lager, a dry Munich Helles-style brew to cut through Oklahoma-style heat.
Everybody knows about celebrities endorsing or singing about different spirits and wines, but there are a few stars out there who have a love for craft beer.
Frank Thomas, a Hall of Fame White Sox first baseman, has Big Hurt Beer — “Big Hurt” was his nickname in baseball.
There are two styles; BHB Original, which is an imperial lager available in cans, and BHB MVP, an American lager available in bottles. It is brewed at Minhas Craft Brewery in Monroe, Wis., and distributed mostly in Chicago but has also gone to Alabama, California, Georgia, Nevada, and Tennessee. The beer was featured at the Monterey Beer Festival and the Great American Beer Festival, where I met Thomas and tried his new beer.
In 2009, singer Kid Rock worked with Michigan Brewing Co. to brew Badass American Lager but soon after, the brewery went bankrupt and not much of the beer went to market. In August 2013, Kid announced a comeback of the beer in the downtown Detroit area to be served on draft at shows and then canned and bottled at retail outlets across Michigan.
Pop group Hanson started Hanson Brothers Beer Co. in Tulsa, Okla., and brewed their flagship beer, Mmmhops, a pale ale style. It is widely distributed across Tulsa and Oklahoma City. They say with each bottle sale, the customer gets a free song and 10 percent of the proceeds go to Take the Walk, a nonprofit company for clean water well drilling in Africa.
Singer Jimmy Buffet started the very successful Margaritaville Brewing Co. in St Louis to brew Land Shark Lager, which is distributed across the U.S. For years, the company has teamed up with Ocean Conservancy to participate in the annual International Coastal Cleanup to help clean up the world’s oceans and waterways.
Hall of Fame Chicago Bear running back Walter Payton’s son Jarrett, who played two seasons with the Titans and is now a recording artist and motivational speaker, has a single brew called the Swheatness — Jarrett Payton All-American Wheat Ale. It is brewed by Argus in Chicago. You can find the Swheatness at almost all ABC locations. I met Jarrett Payton at an Argus beer pairing in Jacksonville. He is a funny, energetic person with some great stories. We enjoyed his beer and other Argus brews with a wonderful dinner. Afterward, he gave us a taste of his freestyling.
Rock group KISS teamed up with Kronleins Bryggeri AB in Halmstad, Sweden, to brew a German style Pilsner called KISS Destroyer. It is distributed overseas in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, and the UK.
Actor Adrian Grenier, who played Vincent Chase on “Entourage,” co-founded his brewery, Churchkey Can Co. There is one style, a Pilsner, which comes in the original flat-top can style of the early 1900s, and each six-pack comes with its own church key to open the cans.
Actor and comedian Tom Green paired with Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. of Ontario to brew Tom Green Beer, a sweet milk stout. It made its debut in 2013 at Yuk Yuk’s Ottawa and Session Craft Beer Festival in Toronto. The style is a nod at Tom’s silly comic antics of lying under cow udders and getting sprayed in the face.
Actor and blogger Wil Wheaton, best known as Doctor Wesley Crusher on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” is an avid craft beer drinker and frequently tweets under the handle @wilw about different craft beer he is enjoying. He’s also a member of the beer social media phone app Untappd. In 2013 he teamed up with Drew Curtis, creator of news website Fark.com, and Greg Koch, Stone Brewing CEO/cofounder, to create Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout, an ale brewed with pecans, wheat, and rye, with some of it being aged in Bourbon whiskey barrels. This one has some nice smooth nuttiness and a rye spice in the finish. I’ve yet to meet Wheaton, but if I did, I would have a Cannery Brewing Co. Vulcan Ale with him.
In 2012, Sam and Dan the Automator of Deltron 3030 teamed up with Dogfish Head to create Positive Contact: an ale brewed with Fuji apple cider, roasted faro, cayenne pepper, and cilantro. A case of the brew featured a 10-inch vinyl EP from Deltron with band-inspired food recipes from different chefs.
In 2013, the Grateful Dead also teamed up with Dogfish Head to bring fans American Beauty: an Imperial Pale Ale brewed with organic granola (honey, toasted grains, almonds, and oats). 1,500 Dead fans were asked what the best ingredient should be, and granola topped the list for its major role in feeding the masses of fans at music festivals in the ’60s and ’70s.
Vocalist Bruce Dickenson of the band Iron Maiden developed Trooper, an Extra Special Bitter (ESB) style brewed at Robinsons Family Brewers in the UK. It is a one-time release and was distributed in the states. The bottle depicts a fierce skeleton toting a torn English flag from the album cover.
Sportscaster Dan Patrick of “The Dan Patrick Show” worked with Redhook Brewery to make Audible Ale. It is a “crushable” amber ale.
“Iron Chef: America” star Masaharu Morimoto of the Food Network teamed up with Rogue Ales to create three award-winning Signature Series beers. They are the Morimoto Soba Ale, Black Obi Soba Ale, and Morimoto Imperial Pilsner, which made their debut in 2003. All three are big, hearty ales made to pair well with a flavorful dinner.
These celebrities share a passion for craft beer. The two most widely distributed ones are Land Shark and Audible. A few ABCs may have Trooper, Morimoto, American Beauty, Positive Contact, and w00t Stout with Payton’s ale being exclusive to ABC (in Florida).
The A.V. Club is always on the lookout for new and terrible alcohol to drink, as well as for new and non-terrible people to drink it with. That’s how we ended up drinking something we saw described as “the worst thing I’ve ever ingested” with Brooks Wheelan. The comedian and actor was in town for Chicago’s inauguralComedy Exposition and stopped by the office one Friday, just before he was sadly and unceremoniously dismissed from Saturday Night Live. In the video below, he helps Senior Editor Sean O’Neal and Digital Manager David Anthony plow through not only a single bottle of MmmHops, Hanson’s punny beer (yes, that Hanson), but also three disgustingly large cans of Mott’s Clamato Caesar Bacon Vodka drink generously mailed to us by Canadian reader Michael Barenberg. Although Wheelan didn’t necessarily think the Clamato was as “piercing and relentless” as food blogThe Impulsive Buy did, The A.V. Club’s staff drinkers weren’t quite so generous.
Can you believe it’s been almost twenty years since three blonde-haired boys from Oklahoma MMMBop’d their way into the charts and the hearts of girls (and maybe a few guys) across the globe? Like The Beatles, every fan had their favourite – and now, thanks to a recent catch-up ahead of the Australian leg of their world tour, mine is the older, wiser and notably shorter-haired big brother, Isaac.
“We’re extremely excited that we’re coming back to Australia so soon – it’s been only about two years since the Shout It Out tour. Last time we made a promise to everyone who came to the shows that we were going to get back down to Australia as soon as possible. We love to make good on our promises.” Isaac quickly added, “Besides, it wouldn’t be a proper world tour without seeing you guys again!”
Anthem (out now) is the guys’ sixth studio album and I’m told that the sound on a few of the tracks was inspired by some home-grown rock heroes. “The opening track on Anthem, ‘Fired Up’, was influenced by your own AC/DC. Some people may be saying ‘What?! Hanson and AC/DC?’ But when you hear it, it makes a lot of sense … and it was so much fun to play some raucous rock ’n’ roll!”
Isaac went on to say how a breakdown in brotherly love and flared tempers were the catalyst for some of the more “aggressive” sounding tracks.
“I will say, going into this record was definitely a challenge and we found ourselves more worn out and even more frustrated with one another than ever before.” Isaac explained: “We had a very ambitious plan for this album release and when it didn’t work out it triggered a lot of tension and ultimately there was a need for a brother/band hiatus. It was close to six months before we actively started working together again on the music,” he recalled.
“We needed that time apart from one another. We realised people said things that they didn’t mean out of frustration and exhaustion. We had to let the dust settle a little bit and make peace with one another – say a few ‘I’m sorrys’. But interestingly, the healing process actually translated into some really intense, fun and aggressive music. We found ourselves writing songs like ‘Fired Up’, ‘You Can’t Stop Us Now’, ‘Scream and Be Free’ or ‘Already Home’ – that’s about the grass not always being greener. Most of these songs are more autobiographical than I sometimes care to admit.”
I think you’d agree that Isaac, Taylor and Zac have grown into lovely guys and they’re genuinely talented musicians – the type of role models parents wish were around for kids these days (I don’t need to name names). All three are proud fathers, have their own record label (3CG Records) and are advocates for numerous charities and organisations working to stomp out poverty and AIDS in Africa.
“It might sound corny, but we’ve always believed in doing unto others as you would have others do unto you. We also started the ‘Take the Walk’ initiative where we do one mile barefoot walks before gigs and [we] donate a dollar for every person that shows up and walks with us. The purpose of doing that is to remind people that actions speak louder than words, because words ring hollow without action … We’d love to do one in Australia.” Go to hanson.net to get involved.
Here’s one more tasty titbit about the talented trio – and chances are, if you remember when ‘MMMBop’ was first released you’d be of drinking age – Hanson have become beer makers! So if you like nothing better than kicking back listening to classic Hanson tunes with a couple of brewskies – do it with ‘Mmmhops’, their very first craft beer. “We’re very much in the business of brewing our own beer. I guarantee we’ll be sending it down to you as soon as possible – we’ll keep you posted!”
WHERE&WHEN: The Palais Theatre, Melbourne – August 9
Ahead of Hanson’s Australian tour next month, Isaac Hanson, the band of brothers’ eldest sibling, talked to TMN about the recorded music industry and why he believes it is falling apart.
Since their inception in 1992, Hanson have sold over 16 million records worldwide, had six top 40 ARIA singles and five top 20 albums – not bad for a band who commercially peaked with 1997’s Middle Of Nowhere and have been wholly independent since 2003. That year, Isaac Hanson and his brothers Zac and Taylor started 3CG (a reference to their 1998 compilation LP 3 Car Garage) after a merger between their then label Mercury Records and Universal lead to ‘creative differences’ between the band and the team they were assigned.
Now, after eleven years of dancing to the beat of their independent drum, Isaac has seen a shift within the recorded industry as labels forgo quantity over quality.
“The music business has fallen apart for all intents and purposes, and is continuing to fall apart,” he says. “I think most of the reason why it has done that is because it has lost focus on two most important things: first and foremost, the quality of your product; the artist you are signing and their ability to create music consistently that is quality and consistent with shall we say the first album that they made. And then subsequently, equally important, the other side of that coin is the relationship with the audience who is purchasing that music.
“People don’t value what they don’t purchase so you need to encourage people to see the products that you are making as valuable,” he continues. “When you release a crumby product, albums that don’t have an adequate amount of decent songs on them, people don’t value it, so they don’t feel they need to pay for it.”
:: VIEW PICS FROM HANSON’S 1997 AUSTRALIAN TOUR
Isaac also believes the rush of free music has affected the industry negatively and while Hanson’s last three releases are available to stream on Spotify, he’s a vocal and firm believer in paying for intellectual property.
“When you have people who are able to get hold of music for free, by and large, or at least more so than before, then you have a problem. I think the record industry, by and large, has done it to themselves and I think the artist will find a way to fix that.
“As long as fans understand that the goal is to have your favourite band be successful and for you to be as involved and engaged in that process – because the fans need to appreciate the bands and the bands need to appreciate the fans – as long as you can create a good connected relationship, everybody’s going to win.”
While Isaac would never directly condemn the major label industry, he does openly push artists to consider all options. Hanson may not have mirrored their Billboard #1 with MmmBop in 1997 but with international sell-out tours year-on-year, a “comfortable, blue-collar” touring lifestyle and their own beer (Mmmhops), their career sans major label has been a resilient one.
“There is an opportunity that we have as a music community in general to facilitate the music and the art that we’re doing without arbitrarily aligning ourselves with something that doesn’t have our best interests in mind,” he says. “I think it’s all about partnership, ultimately it’s about finding the right people to do the job.
“If you can find a label that is a major label where you have people that are in it that are passionate about what it is you’re doing you can be successful. If you have a small company that is passionate about what you’re doing and is focused on what you’re doing, you can be successful. If you can find investors or fans to acquire enough [money] to help financially or if you can do it on your own and fund your own music, which most aspiring and independent artists do, then all the power to you and you could probably be successful doing it. I think there are a lot of ways to skin the cat.”
Telethon is a registered childrens charitable trust dedicated to raising funds to improve the lives of children and young people throughout WA. They have up for sale a Hanson Meet & Greet currently at AU $355 for the August 15th show. The auction includes 4 tickets to the show and a Meet and Greet with Hanson.
The auction is on Ebay: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Hanson-Meet-Greet-/261538650779
Details about the telethon can be found at http://telethon.7perth.com.au/