Hanson still bopping and rocking after all these years

By | September 12, 2013

Austin 360

Remember Hanson, the band of brothers who took the pop music world by storm in 1997 when their single, “Mmmbop” (you’re welcome for the ear worm), netted a pair of Grammy nods and hit No. 1 in 27 countries? Are you recalling ways you have used the talented trio as a punchline?

Well, knock it off.

You might have moved on (or maybe you’ve grown up with them), but Hanson never left. They’re on tour in support of their latest release, “Anthem,” on their own label, 3CG Records. It’s the band’s eighth album to land in the top 40 of Billboard’s 200 chart and it hit number 5 on the chart for independent releases.

A friend of mine — a recording engineer who has corrected vocal tracks from the biggest names in music — once told me that Hanson provided the only vocals he didn’t have to tweak.

I had a chance to speak with middle brother Taylor, now 30, who sings lead on the album’s first single, “Get the Girl Back,” in advance of the band’s gig Sunday at Antone’s. We chatted about the band, the new album and the brothers’ latest side project — a craft beer with a decidedly familiar name.

Austin American-Statesman: You guys have an Austin connection, right?

Taylor Hanson: We met our first manager at South by Southwest in 1994. We were kids; I was probably about 11. We just walked down the street and asked to sing for people and one of the people that didn’t just kind of think, “Oh, these kids are crazy” was a young music attorney. He ended up becoming our manager and helped us sign our first deal.

How is the material on your new album, “Anthem,” different from that of your previous releases?

We grew up listening to soul music and real craftsmen song writers, so we always have melodic songs and pop hooks in our records. One of the things that’s different on this record is that we definitely leaned on the guitar more. I think there’s just an intensity in the things that we wanted to say and the sound we wanted to create. There’s a little bit of fire; there’s a little bit of fight and attitude.

But the soul is still there.

It’s in our DNA. The music that first inspired us — Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Chuck Berry, Little Richard — that stuff gets in your blood and, as a musician, you want to be able to feel what you felt the first time you heard it. The first single, “Get the Girl Back,” is that to the bone. It’s a ‘60s soul pop song.

What do you guys do when you’re not on tour?

Well, we all have families. We’ve all got kids.

Are your kids musical?

They are. There’s definitely music in the genes and there’s music all around them.

Would you want them to pursue careers in music?

You just want your kids to be doing something that they love.

What else keeps you busy?

We’re an independent band, so we run our label; we run all the business stuff. This year we’re also launching a whole other project, which is our Hanson beer.

“Mmmhops.”

Yeah. It’s a pale ale. We’ve had some fun with it. Obviously, the name is a little bit tongue-in-cheek, but that song, “Mmmbop,” had such a strong connection with so many people it’s really interesting to see when you connect it to a beer.

Are you guys craft beer aficionados?

Well, we’re definitely fans and we know craft beer — enough about it to get ourselves into trouble. And what connects better with music than great beer? The two things go hand in hand. If you’ve got the music and you’ve got the beer, you’ve got a party!


Hanson

When: 8 p.m. Sunday

Where: Antone’s, 2015 East Riverside Drive.

Cost: $28.50-$33.

Information:www.antonesnightclub.com