Sound Check: Hanson had to relearn how to play nice with each other

By | October 19, 2013

Morning Sun

NEW YORK, NY – Zac Hanson (from left), Taylor Hanson and Isaac Hanson of the band Hanson visit “U&A” at Music Choice on April 12, 2013, in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images) 

Contrary to their upbeat, effervescent musical image, the three brothers of Hanson went through some hard interpersonal times before making their latest album, “Anthem.”

And this time, says drummer Zac Hanson, it was personal — so much so that the group had to take a brief hiatus for everyone to chill out.

“The problem was never really about music. It was just about relationships and the way we were treating each other,” says the youngest Hanson who, at 28, gets a little mileage out of older brothers Issac, 32, and Taylor, 30.

“We’ve been a band for 21 years, and when you’re together long enough there are certain things that are so easy to be taken for granted and you just don’t treat each other the way you should sometimes. You have to work at it, just like you would in a romantic relationship, and if you stop doing that you begin to have conflict.

“So it’s just about caring for each other and caring for the stuff that’s in between everything. You just can’t make music well together if you act like (jerks) to each other. Eventually you’re going to fall apart. That was kind of what was happening. So we took a couple of months off and people went off to their respective happy places, and we set a time when we said, ‘Let’s talk again.’”

The break worked: Hanson came back rejuvenated and, in “Anthem,” made one of the band’s most upbeat and hardest-rocking albums to date. “The guitar made a comeback,” Zac cracks. Meanwhile the group also made headlines by celebrating its 21st anniversary with its own beer brand, Mmmhops, which takes it name from Hanson’s 1996 breakthrough hit “Mmmbop.”

“The beer is hopefully a reflection of the fact we like to do things we’re excited about,” Zac explains. “We do all kinds of little offshoots — roasting coffee or artisan chocolates, a Hanson Monopoly game. We just did our own ‘’Twas the Night Before Christmas’ — just little things we think are cool.

“It’s not about being commercialized. It’s just about, ‘That sounds fun; how can we make that a Hanson thing?’ With the beer we thought it would be fun to do something like that from Oklahoma, with our flavor. We like it, and hopefully the people that try it will, too.”

Hanson and David Ryan Harris perform Sunday, Oct. 20, at the Crofoot Ballrom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $31 in advance, $36 day of show. Call 248-858-9333 or visit



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