These days, our knowledge of celebrities too often originates with paparazzi images and snarky quotes by anonymous “insiders.” After a while, it’s easy to forget that stars are real people. That’s why HuffPost Celebrity decided to launch its all-new #nofilter quick-fire question and answer series. Because how well do you know someone until they’ve shared their guiltiest pleasures?
In the 16 years since Hanson released their No. 1 hit single “MMMBop,” the trio of blond moppets have grown up, gotten married, cut their hair and are back with their tenth (yes, tenth!) album titled “Anthem,” due out later this year.
The brothers — Isaac, 32, Taylor, 30, and Zac, 27 — took the stage for an intimate show at the iHeartRadio Theater in Tribeca on April 11, playing some new tunes including their first single off the album “Get The Girl Back.” Many of their fans have stayed loyal to them since the beginning, but for those who remember the boys as just that — boys — their music today will likely come as a surprise.
HuffPost Celebrity caught up with Taylor Hanson, who answered all our burning questions for HuffPost’s #nofilter series.
How would you describe the band’s current sound to someone who hasn’t heard any of your music since your “MMMBop” days?
The sound of our music that we’ve written and listened to is not wholly different. We grew up listening to soul music and rock and roll. I think the biggest difference from where we were is, one, of course, on the first record we were kids. You heard those high voices, the production was a little bit more slick, but if you listen to those older records, we were always writing rock and roll songs. We were writing pop, melodic songs inspired by classic rock and roll music, and those are still our greatest influences. What you hear now is that we are really executing those influences, and that sound we hear in our heads, fully.
I think if I had to completely describe our music to someone who had no idea about our band, from Adam, I’d just say that [we’re] a rock and roll band. We’re a band that’s a mix of guitars and organic sounds, some rhythm and blues and melody — you know, songs you can sing to.
Do you ever feel like hitting it big so young could be detrimental to you now, or feel like you constantly have to prove your aren’t a teen band anymore?
Well, the interesting thing is that whenever you get introduced to people regardless of being a band, they say first impressions are important and your first impressions are strong. In some cases I think it’s made our journey more complicated to have started so young, but at the same time I wouldn’t trade our past. We worked really hard and continue to build a career, and connect with fans. It’s been 16 years since we made the first record, so we’re still ultimately young, and we’ve had this connection with fans for so long, so to me, you have to just see your history as positive and you can’t go backwards.
I will say that the way we’ve always approached building a career is to focus on the music. To make it about the music and that continues to be the mission. You get people in a room, you get them to hear the music, you share your passion and invite people into what you are doing. You just have to be relentless.
You were huge teen stars, but you never seemed to get in trouble and managed to avoid being in the tabloids. How do you think you were able to do that?
We were just raised that way. You don’t do your dirty laundry in public, you know? Everybody has done stupid things, but we did them with our friends, not in front of a camera. We sort of found a way to keep a separation between us and onlookers who were looking to find cracks in the armor. [And he admits that the fact the brothers always lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma, rather than Los Angeles, probably helped as well.]
What is your biggest irrational fear?
I don’t know if it’s irrational, and I would never say this before but I think I’m a little bit agoraphobic when I’m in huge crowds of people. I mean it’s claustrophobic probably — small spaces and large groups of people, anxiety rises for me. I’ve wouldn’t have said that earlier, but I think I know that about myself now.
What is on your nightstand?
Lots of books.
What is the last book you read?
Richard Brautigan’s “Trout Fishing in America,” which Kat Dennings (who stars in the band’s latest music video alongside Nikki Reed and Drake Bell) actually gave me.
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever received from a fan.
I don’t think you want to know the strangest things. I mean we’ve had people send hair, fingernails — things of themselves they want to share with us — undergarments, weird things that we’ve touched that they’ve kept and sent back to us. You know, like food items, and it’s disgusting because it’s rotting, but it was something that we touched, and you’re like “this is not right.”
But then there are amazing things, incredible things, like paintings or crafts that are really artistic and show their dedication in a way that just puts you in awe.
Do you ever text in a movie theater?
I am a serial rule breaker, so yes, absolutely. I mean do it with the sound off, and it’s only when necessary. The reason why I wouldn’t be a real danger at a movie in that situation is, all Hansons are serious movie watchers. But if I needed to respond to a text, I would.
Hanson shot to fame in the ’90s and dominated the pages of magazines like Bop and Teen Beat, which never failed to include all the vital information every fan needed to know about the boys. Today, there are a number of abandoned Hanson fan sites that rounded up all this need-to-know info about the brothers. Since every hardcore fan could list off each of the brothers’ favorite things without hesitation, we checked in with Taylor to see if a few of his favorite things had changed since 1998 — and if anyone still has access to their Angelfire fan sites, you can update your Hanson facts now.
|Favorite Food||Mom’s homemade brownies||Good cheeses|
|Favorite Beverage||Dr.Pepper and Mug Root Beer||Coffee|
|Favorite Singer||No Doubt, Counting Crows, Spin Doctors, and Billy Joel||Taylor Swift|
|Favorite Candy||Very Cherry jelly beans||Sour cherries|
Tickets are already on sale for Hanson’s upcoming tour which kicks off June 17 in New York City, and “Anthem” goes on sale June 18.