The 'MMMBop' guys are all grown up

By | July 30, 2010

St Louis Today

While you weren’t looking, the members of Hanson grew up.

The brothers, who scored a hit in 1997 with the irresistible “MMMBop,” are all in their 20s now — guitarist Isaac Hanson is 29, keyboardist Taylor is 27 and drummer Zac is 24 — and are family men, to boot. They’ve continued to make records through the years, but none has captured the exuberance of that initial smash like their current album, “Shout It Out.”

“It’s a record that, in general, goes a little bit more back to our roots,” Zac says by phone from a stairwell in the GE building in New York. He’s on his way to “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” where, later in the day, he and his brothers are slated to perform.

“While writing this album over the last year, we were listening back to the stuff that originally inspired us to be musicians — ’60s rock and Motown records,” he says.

For the single, “Thinkin’ ‘Bout Somethin’,”‰” the brothers wanted to do something that matched the high energy level of the song. They ended up paying tribute to a favorite movie scene, the “Shake a Tail Feather” sequence from the 1980 film “The Blues Brothers.”

“We are huge Blues Brothers fans,” Zac says. “We’re too young to have seen that movie when it came out, but we were lucky enough to be watching TBS one night when it came on. The humor, the car chases, the great music — we just fell in love. I think all of us, when we were going to get married, said to our prospective wives, ‘Have you seen “The Blues Brothers?” This is key to our married life that you know this movie exists.'”

Taylor pulled up the movie clip on YouTube and played “Thinkin’ ‘Bout Somethin'” along with it, and the trio saw how well they synched up. They built the “Tay’s Music Exchange” set in their rehearsal space in Tulsa, Okla., found a street a few blocks away that could pass for Chicago in the 1970s, hired a choreographer to teach them some dance steps and off they went.

Oh, and they asked their friend “Weird Al” Yankovic to join in the fun. (He’s the anonymous tambourine player boogieing in the background.)

“That was the icing on the cake,” Zac says. “We’re huge fans of his. We’re not doing what he does so well, making a parody. Ours is an homage. But for him to put his seal of approval on our work, that was kind of like the ultimate ah-ha moment.”

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