Imagine if Chewbacca left the Millennium Falcon on good terms in favor of hanging on the Enterprise with Cpt. Kirk. Sure, the Wookiee would have a blast and would likely lead the Starship to great things, but ultimately, one would sense he’d miss his pal Han Solo and head back home. That’s sort of what happened to Taylor Hanson. Far-fetched, non-sensical intro aside, the musician has had an awesome run of late fronting pop rock supergoup Tinted Windows but this fall he’s rejoining his brothers Zac and Isaac for a new Hanson tour (a new album’s on the way).
Truth is, the 26 year old said Tinted Windows, which put him alongside former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos and Fountains Of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger, was always just a side project and never intended to replace Hanson.
But you knew that. Hanson’s become much more than the “MMMBop” boy band from 1997 on a personal and professional note. The boys and their music have evolved. The music’s gotten more soulful, and the boys have families of their own. As a matter of fact the Hansons (three of seven siblings) have six kids combined and expect that to grow. “We’re trying to build our county,” Hanson joked.
As he and his brothers hit the road, I spoke with Taylor on the new record and tour, what Tinted Windows meant for him and his brothers, and how he’s managed to stay out of trouble for so long.
Did you learn anything out of the Tinted Windows experience?
A couple of things. I honestly learned to appreciate the fans that have followed us. I’ve seen a lot of fans who supported Tinted Windows and that means a lot. I see people buy tickets and show up. The Tinted Windows shows were very fun but it’s very different for me as a performer. I’m not playing music – I’m just singing and I missed that. I miss rocking out on keys, drums, guitar…whatever it is.
So you’re excited to get back to Hanson obviously….
I’m really excited to premiere some new music for fans. It’s been about a year since we’ve been doing shows. With this tour, we’re ramping up to the new album coming out in the spring.
There’s still this stigma about Hanson being teen bopper, right?
Hanson has rapid female fans, which I’m completely proud of, but a lot of fans are a contingent that have grown up with us really – our peers. There’s younger fans. More and more guys are Hanson fans [but they’re] musicians or kind of guys who were into a Beatles record.
There’s always a spattering of people who see Hanson who were influenced by classic ’60’s and ’70’s rock and roll. In a lot of ways, we’re sort of the anatomy of a ’70’s rock band if you examine what we do: white guys who grew up listening to soul music from the ’50’s and ’60’s and we all love the music from that era across the board.
What’s the difference between Tinted and Hanson in that regard?
The difference between Tinted Windows and Hanson shows is a lot of just repertoire. Hanson has been a band for years – we have a lot of songs to pull from and it’s a different dynamic – a common kind of thread. With Tinted Windows – it’s kind of a little like “hey, we’re this new band.” We’ve done less than 20 shows.
Were your brothers concerned you’d make Tinted Windows more permanent
No, they weren’t worried. It definitely was odd when you’ve been in a band forever to do band gigs with other guys. It’s like [you’ll be talking] and be like “remember that time…oh wait, you weren’t there.” But, they were totally supportive. They always knew it was something I was doing in addition to. It wasn’t really a competition.
You guys still get along?
It’s probably just more a band than the family thing. There’s something about being a family no question that adds a level of intensity because the people know each other so well. We’re kind of invested in one another at a different level and so comfortable, and there’s a common bond that keeps it from falling apart. I mean look at the Black Crows and the infamous Gallagher brothers relationship – you hear they’re going at it or hate each other but they still make music together. Why is that? They have a connection that’s unique. We do get along quite well but believe me there’s a lot of hairiness in the background. We just don’t air our dirty laundry publicly.
How do you stay out of the headlines. I mean with Tinted Windows, were you at least tempted to set a hotel room on fire?
[Laughs] You know it’s funny but people don’t talk about [how] you have to pay for that and that sucks…then your band usually gets pissed off because they’re in the hotel and they have to evacuate. You know it’s interesting. I feel like our life is the true rock and roll lifestyle – we’ve lived out of a suitcase most of our lives. We’ve experienced incredible adrenaline – things a tiny group of people in the population have experienced. I feel we’ve just lived it fully. As far as going off the wagon and having incredible drug addictions or actually setting hotel rooms on fire, I guess we get that out in other ways. The true rebellion is surviving and that’s rock and roll. To be together and stick it out. We’re a traveling circus that’s been doing this 15 years.
And you’re only 26.
Exactly. Sometimes you don’t know what age you are because your experiences make you feel 30 or 40.
Follow Jon Chattman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thecheappop