Rocketing to stardom in 1997 with the smash hit MMMBop, Hanson soared to the top of the charts and became overnight teen sensations. Fifteen years later, the Oklahoma trio of brothers has just embarked on an extensive cross-Canada tour. Joe Leary spent 24 Seconds with lead singer and keyboardist Taylor Hanson.
24: You kicked off a Canadian tour this week in Vancouver. Have you had a chance to see much of our city in the past?
TH: One of the things about being on tour is that you see a lot of the same and I think, to me, Vancouver just stands out for its natural beauty and the skyline is so striking. I’m really into taking pictures so I have a catalogue of great photos from right as the morning is cracking and we’re driving in on the bus the last time we were here, to just some great shows.
24: You now have kids of your own. Do any of them share the musical gene and want to follow suit?
TH: With mine there’s a musical gene for sure. Whether they choose to grab that thing and go for it and become a musician for life is a whole other question. My oldest now is the age that I was when we did our first show but there’s no sign that he’s going to form a band tomorrow – not that that would be the goal.
24: Do you ever find them in moments of boredom where they’re pulling up the ‘MMMBop’ video off YouTube and bugging you about it?
TH: They have much more entertaining things to do than to look back into our history and annoy their dad with videos.
24: When you look back on the release of MMMBop, what was the expectation back then?
TH: We had a lot of expectations about what would happen in our life, but not necessarily in that very moment. We were hoping for a successful record but we definitely weren’t prepared for having such a meteoric rise with that first album all the way to the top. That was the first time we had experienced a lot of things so for us it was an amazing thing.
24: Starting out as young as you did, you could easily be excused if you got all messed up on drugs or suffered some form of addiction. What kept you guys so grounded?
TH: There’s not one thing; I think there’s a lot of things that keep you grounded. We are all a little bit outside of the norm as far as our perspective on the world and what we’ve done so I think in a way we were already a little off kilter compared to the average Joe. Having good family and friends was a stabilizer. The lifestyle itself is pretty abnormal whether or not we’re ODing on drugs or partying all the time. So I think it just always brought us back to the priorities in life; family and the music itself. You just don’t want to lose that.
24: At the end of the day you guys are brothers and spend inordinate amounts of time together. Do you ever just have some real blowout fights?
TH: Oh sure, yeah. We have arguments all the time and there’s a significant difference between the three of us in how we deal with things and just the personalities of everyone. The thing that does keep us close, and keep things together is the music, the collaboration. Being able to fight and disagree is part of the process.
24: How did you react to the Family Guy episode where the character Quagmire fantasized about you as being a cute teenage girl? Is that a sign of achievement and do you take that as a compliment?
TH: Oh you have to. If you decided to take those kinds of things in a personal way, you’d have issues. If you’re on Saturday Night Live, Family Guy and those types of shows being referenced, it means there’s a certain awareness that is funny to people. That’s a compliment. Somewhere along the way you’ve done your job.