Determined to play

By | July 20, 2010

The Boston Globe
Determined to play
The drummer for the band of brothers Hanson reflects on the pop group’s longevity and new album
By James Reed
Globe Staff / July 20, 2010

Q. You and your wife recently announced you’re expecting your second child, and both of your brothers have children, too. Has that affected your music?

A. It can’t help but affect your music because it affects everything you do, from literally what you think about to how you spend your time. It’s definitely a huge inspiration to be able to watch life from the perspective of another.

Q. Hanson has an extensive catalog, but what do you think distinguishes your new album, “Shout It Out’’?

A. People have known the band for 13 years, but when we first started, we were just singing a cappella — and that goes back 18 years. I think we feel there’s a certain amount of celebration with this record. There’s a long way to go and a lot more music to be made. But we’ve also come a long way together as a band.

Q. You were just 11 years old when “MMMBop’’ became a huge hit in 1997, but did you have any sense of where Hanson would be headed after that?

A. I’ve known for a long time what we were going to be doing. We’re going to be a band until the day our arthritis makes it awful for us to play drums anymore. We’re going to be sponsored by Bayer aspirin. [Laughs.] I didn’t know how any of the music industry stuff would turn out, but you battle through it. We have been bitten by the bug of rock ’n’ roll, and we want to live up to that and be a band that inspires the next generation of artists the way we were inspired.

Q. You guys have younger siblings. Have they expressed any interest in music?

A. None of them, I think, will be musicians, but they’re all musical.

Q. If they started a band, what advice would you give them?

A. I’d give them the same advice I’d give any band. This is way too hard of an industry to just be something that you think sounds fun or you like. If you want to be a musician, it needs to be something that’s so deeply ingrained in what you do that if you chose another career path, you’d wake up every night with cold sweats.

Q. What’s the secret to playing “MMMBop’’ every night and keeping it fresh?

A. One thing we do as a band is we never play the same set twice. That helps us keep every night fresh. The other thing is, “MMMBop’’ is something we’re able to look back on with pride. Obviously “Middle of Nowhere,’’ our first record, doesn’t represent me where I am today. But I can still be proud of it and enjoy it and don’t have to run away from it. When you run away from your past, you’re kicking your fans to the curb. It’s still us. It’s just us 13 years ago.

Interview was condensed and edited.

James Reed can be reached at

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