Still clean but not so squeaky

By | August 25, 2012

The Age

Nineties pop sensations and songwriting siblings Hanson are no flash in the pan after all.

In 1997 a wave of hysteria hit Australia. Local boys were pushed aside as posters of three blond brothers suddenly adorned bedroom walls and girls around the country locked themselves away blasting one song repeatedly: MMMBop.

The catalysts for the hysteria, which resulted in one in 10 households in Australia owning the album Middle of Nowhere, were the innocent yet attractive siblings Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson.

Trust me, I have been drunk plenty of times hanging off lamp posts.

And every girl had her favourite.

Hanson at the MTV Europe Music Awards in 1997.Hanson win big at the MTV Europe Music Awards in 1997. Photo: AP

Now sporting beards, leather jackets and wedding rings (yes, they are all married now), the three brothers have grown up. They’re about to release their fifth studio album, Shout It Out , under their own music label, and have a brood of eight children between them.

”Our fans are not 12 or 14 any more,” the band’s drummer, Zac, 26, says. ”You sort of have the fans that are with you for 15 or 20 years and then you have the fans who are discovering you or have discovered you on your third or fifth album,” he says pragmatically. But even 15 years since MMMBop was released, fans still manage to surprise the brothers.

”I am amazed at how many tattoos there are and people who have chosen to identify themselves as Hanson fans,” says Zac, who was the youngest nominated songwriter for the Grammy Awards in history. Having been thrown into the music scene 20 years ago, the Hanson brothers, who hail from from Tulsa, Oklahoma, are now music veterans, despite being only in their late 20s to early 30s.

Yet the brothers understand the importance of how fans ”experience” their music at both live shows and at home, especially given constantly evolving technology.

While recording their latest album – which is as upbeat as their debut – Hanson went one step further to connect with their ardent fans. ”We use live streaming,” Zac says. ”So we were recording and writing the song and allowing them to bring [the fans] deeper into the process. It’s really up to a band to build a fan base around their brand.”

But their connection with fans started with MMMBop.

”The fans see us as reflecting their generation,” Zac says. ”When we were writing a song like MMMBop, which was about how few things in the world will last, [it was] from our perspective of dealing with it.”

Hitting the international music scene as a squeaky-clean trio, Zac says the band are more interested in making music than making headlines.

”Trust me, I have been drunk plenty of times hanging off lamp posts,” he says. ”But we would rather be known for the songs we write and not for the things that we do.”

Hanson will play at the Hi-Fi on Saturday, September 15 (sold out), and at the Enmore on Sunday, September 16 (all ages). For ticket information see or

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