Taylor Hanson On Being Known for Your Hair and Making Music for 20 Years

By | October 6, 2015

Alexandra Perron


The Hanson brothers, Isaac, Taylor and Zac, are gearing up for a new tour. (Photo: Jiro Schneider)

If you are a 90s kid, you know Isaac, Taylor, and Zac Hanson. The three long-haired brothers from Tulsa, Oklahoma burst onto the scene in 1997 with their hit song “MMMBop” and have continued to make music ever since (I would know, I’ve been a fan since day one). This week kicks off Hanson’s newest tour, Roots & Rock N Roll, a two-night tour event that will make 10 stops in North America. As a life-long fan, I jumped at the opportunity to talk to Taylor Hanson (the middle brother) about the band’s journey, what’s on the horizon, and of course, about their famous locks.

If you can’t see the band on this tour, check out Yahoo’s live stream of the Chicago show on October 8 at 8:30p.m. EST.

Alexandra Perron: Talk to me about being in a band for 20 years. You guys have seen a lot in the music industry. What has this experience been like?

Taylor Hanson: Where to begin? For one, it’s amazing and kind of scary to realize that we’ve been in a band for 20 years or so. So much has changed. The thing that it’s about for us, and for artists that are successful over time, is the focus on connecting with people through music. It doesn’t matter what the industry changes are, it always comes back to making a connection with people. We’re in the business of connection and music is a powerful way of connection, it’s in our system.

It’s been very challenging and amazing to see how the industry has evolved. There has been a struggle for some time to figure out what the digital age means for music, the music business, and for people to sustain themselves as artists. Overall, it’s really a renaissance for content creators right now. The world is more accessible and more stories are being told than ever and that’s a great thing for art.

Going back to what you said about connecting with people, I’ve been to a good number of your shows and I’ve seen the fans. I’ve also seen a lot of Hanson tattoos over the years. They feel a very strong connection to you guys and your music. What’s it like to have people admiring you guys and your music in that kind of a way?

[Laughs] Having people feel the dedication to put your name on their body permanently or come out to multiple shows is humbling. We are never so full of ourselves to think that there are not many other artists that people follow with a passion, so to get to be one of those artists, where there is a group of people that will take the time and their resources and really be dedicated, is an incredible privilege — especially to see that over time. The simple answer is it’s humbling.

Tell me about the new tour. It’s a two-night event — what will be happening over those two nights?

The first night is kind of featuring songs we love from artist we admire and that have inspired us. The second night is featuring our catalog. We could easily do five nights in every city to try and play all of the songs, but it’s a very special combination. We are salt and peppering in a few original songs the first night and some covers on the second night.

So many of the songs that still resonate and that people still relate to today were written 18 years ago with your first album, Middle of Nowhere. How has that influenced your writing process over the years? 

You always want songs to last, so knowing that there are certain songs that have stood the test of time and it just affirms the idea we started with. We admired people that came along before we did and the goal was to be one of those songs or artists that people discover later and then they go back and get inspired. Everything has to be sort of good enough to be as timeless as you can make it. It really just encourages you to keep striving and not settle.

Lately, I think people have been really excited to see you collaborating with people like Owl City and Blues Traveler. Is there more of that to come?

The short answer is simply, yes. After the last album, we kind of paused for a second and said, “lets develop some things and lets not go right back on the road.” We’ve been able to take the time to have a couple of really fun collaborations happen. And like those, there are others coming in the future. One thing that is exciting about this tour is that it’s about our friends and we get to invite them out, and hopefully we will have some fun sit-ins and things like that. Collaboration is one of the big bonuses of getting to do music for a long time; you end up with relationships that are all over the map.

It’s been really fun to watch this develop over the years. But now, to switch gears a little bit since this is a beauty site after all, we have to talk about your hair. What was it like to be known for your hair when you first got onto the scene? You were three long-haired guys — that was your identity. 

[Laughs] Hey, you know we did have long hair and still have a lot of hair. We didn’t over think it. That was part of our calling card and we were flattered that people were enthusiastic about it. That’s kind of the end of the thinking on that level.

You were ahead of the man bun trend for sure, so I think you should give yourself credit for that.

[Laughs] Well you know, ahead of the curve on that.

But you also had a rattail and I don’t know if that every really caught on… 

I don’t know if it ever really caught on and I don’t know if it’s ever coming back. You know, you do things kind of for your own reasons and some of those you don’t want to relive.

Well, you still have great hair. Are there products that you love? Do you spend a lot of time grooming?

Isaac is a lot more specific about how he treats his hair. He has more of a classic look. But for me, it’s to not be overly clean with your hair because I’ve got too much of it — it sort of takes over. I do honestly love American Crew; it’s classic and simple. I add a little bit of product to keep it from getting too wild.

And now, you guys are all fathers. If your kids decide they want to follow in your footsteps, what advice would you give them?

Yeah, we all have kids and I know all of mine are super musical. You really just have to be dedicated to it if you’re going to pursue it; it has to be something that you can’t not do. To succeed in art, no matter what form it takes, you really need to focus on defining who you are as an artist.

And when can we expect some new Hanson music?

We have an EP that we made for this tour, the Roots & Rock ‘n’ Roll EP. It has original versions of songs by Michael Jackson, Ed Sheeran, Sly and the Family Stone and a couple others. It’s five songs that are all over the map musically but are really fun. There will definitely be more music from us next year, but I can’t promise it will be in the form of a new Hanson record.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *