Hanson's Isaac Hanson on his favorite new music and the inspiration for "Man from Milwaukee"

By | October 10, 2013


Isaac Hanson (left) of brotherly three-piece pop rock group Hanson is currently listening to sisterly three-piece pop rock group Haim. Photo by Jiro Schneider.

Isaac Hanson, one of the three Hanson brothers who gave the world the gift of “MMMBop” (plus several other strong songs over the years), has a special connection to Milwaukee.

“The crowds in Milwaukee are awesome,” he told the Journal Sentinel, ahead of the band’s Oct. 12 show at the Pabst Theater. “The shows are always raucous and fun and exciting. Its almost always the highlight of the tour.”

But the band shares another special bond to Brew City. Our fare city was namechecked in the Hanson original “Man from Milwaukee,” which appeared as a special bonus track on breakthrough 1997 album “Middle of Nowhere.”

So was there a man from Milwaukee who inspired the song?

Actually, Hanson said the inspiration actually came in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“Our van broke down on our way to Los Angeles to make ‘Middle of Nowhere,'” Hanson said. “(Then 11-year-old) Zac was sitting around and for some reason started talking about how Albuquerque and Milwaukee sounded similar. Over the course of a half-hour, Zac was on the curb humming some melody, and he came up with this idea about running into a guy on the side of the road and the question is is the man insane or really from another planet. It’s the kind of sarcastic sense of humor of a young songwriter circa 1996.”

And while the song was first penned as a goof by a kid, Isaac Hanson feels the “melody still holds together really well” and features one of the band’s most aggressive guitar tones. You can hear the song below, and Hanson said there’s a “75 percent chance” fans will hear it live at the Pabst Saturday.

Hanson fans will also want to hear some new music Isaac has been loving recently, including the buzz-generating new album from another pop rock band of siblings. See his picks and listen to some songs below.

And look for a story featuring Isaac Hanson on Tap Milwaukee and in today’s Journal Sentinel.

Who: Isaac Hanson of Hanson (8 p.m. Saturday, Pabst Theater, 144 E. Wells St. $27.50 at the box office; the Riverside Theater box office, 116 W. Wisconsin Ave.; (414) 286-3663; and pabsttheater.org.)

What he’s listening to: Haim’s “Days Are Gone”.

Why he likes it: They are a really great band, ironically enough, a band of three sisters. I’ve been listening to that last record and its absolutely amazing.

Also likes: Paul McDonald. A lot of people know him from being on “American Idol,” but his stuff is really great, he has a lot of awesome songs. And David Ryan Harris is another friend of ours and an awesome singer and guitar player. He’s playing with us in Milwaukee so check him out.

Facebook: fb.me/piet.levy.18

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