Hanson: All grown up and playing the Culture Room

By | October 28, 2011

Miami Herald

When pop trio Hanson stormed the scene in the late ’90s with its ubiquitous and infectious hit MMMBop, it seemed that the sky was the limit for the band. In reality, that song’s popularity was pretty much the limit as far as superstardom goes. Still, the brothers — Isaac (guitar), Taylor (keyboards) and Zac (drums) — persevered, churning out melodic album after album. The group hits the Culture Room on Saturday. Drummer Zac Hanson, 26, who was only 12 at the height of the band’s popularity, talks about the tour.

What can we expect from your show?

This tour’s a little different, because we are playing albums. We’re letting fans vote on them and that changes the way we would normally do a show. Every night, we’ll play a full album as much as possible like the way it sounded, in the exact order on the record. We’re playing a lot of other stuff, too, but we’re featuring one album per set, and that definitely makes for a different kind of show.

Have you determined which album you’ll play here?

Fort Lauderdale is actually the last show, and I think Shout It Out is the record we’re gonna be doing down there.

What would you tell people who think only of ‘MMMBop’ when they think of Hanson?

That’s an interesting dilemma, because there are a lot of people who know that song or know our band sort of as a pop-culture reference but don’t really have any sort of musical reference. I guess it’s the double-edged sword of being successful enough that people know you around the world. There are plenty of people who know that phrase or know that word, but they couldn’t sing you anything that remotely sounded anything like that song. I think for people who were fans of the band on that first record and haven’t continued to follow the band, it’s the same band with the same core influences. But in time, hopefully, skill improves and you continue to push yourself and make music that gets you going and never settle.

Success didn’t come so easily for you guys after “Middle of Nowhere” — do you think that made you stronger as a group?

Well, before Middle of Nowhere, we were a band for quite a while. We probably played three or 400 shows and made three independent records, so we were no overnight success, even though to some it might seem that way. For us, it’s always remained the same, whether it’s a record that sells eight million copies or one million copies. It’s never been something that we were gonna stop. Careers are ups and downs. It wouldn’t be worth having a career if it was just up. There are no great movies or books or stories where it’s like, “He had an idea, and then he did it, and he was successful — the end!”

Michael Hamersly