Brothers Hanson defeat fleeting fame

By | August 20, 2010

Hanson, which burst onto the pop music scene as a ’90s teen trio with the breakthrough hit “MMMBop,” has several things in common with today’s reigning boy band, the Jonas Brothers.


“Besides the fact that they’re brothers and there are three of them, their path is really different from ours,” says Isaac, the eldest Hanson brother. “We were coming from R&B influences. They do a lot of a lot of guitar-driven punky pop stuff, very little R&B.”

The Hansons, who will perform Monday at Coney Island’s Moonlite Gardens, continue to display that love of R&B on their new album “Shout It Out.” The video for the album’s lead single “Thinking ‘Bout Something” visually mimics Ray Charles’ performance in “The Blues Brothers.”

Isaac, 29, with brothers Taylor, 27 and Zac, 23, have persevered through ups and downs since they emerged from Tulsa, Okla., to score more than 10 million sales with their first major album, “Middle of Nowhere” in 1997.

“Our youth maybe skewed people’s perspective,” Isaac says. “People had a sense we were fleeting: ‘Oh, they’re just kids, tap, tap, tap.’ ”

The brothers have stayed in the game since, though an early shock occurred two years after “MMMBop,” when a corporate merger dissolved Hanson’s label and moved them under the umbrella of Island Def Jam Records, a rap label.

“Everybody we had for support got fired,” Isaac said. “So we had no effective support system, and we were on a rap label where we didn’t have a home. You can call Hanson a whole lot of things but hip-hop isn’t one of them.”

He has advice for today’s teen stars.

“I hope they can survive the chaotic world of rock ‘n’ roll,” Isaac says. “A lot of potential scenarios create challenges. It’s all about how you grew up, values instilled in you. Your parents, do they say ‘Take what you can get’ or ‘Be careful, be suspicious.’ The more I look back, the more I think it has to do with parental advice and the support system around you.

“Kids will ask us ‘How do you become famous?’ It’s the wrong question. Focus on the craft, not on the fame.”

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