Hanson performs Tuesday, Dec. 17 at the Royal Oak Music Theatre (Photo courtesy 3CG Records)
It’s been more than 20 years since Brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson rocked our world with “MMMBop,” and the Tulsa, Okla. trio hasn’t taken its foot off the pedal since.
Now all in their 30s — and with Isaac turning 40 next year — Hanson has carefully and judiciously pared down its career into a model of independent music-making. Since 2004’s “Underneath” the group has maintained its own record label, 3CG, and it’s launched other endeavors ranging from philanthropy to beer.
It’s also maintained a steady touring schedule, making sure its loyal body of fans never goes too long without a fix…
• Hanson’s current Wintry Mix Tour is, as the title indicates, a blend of music from the trio’s two holiday albums and favorites from its nine other releases. “We’re a touring band,” Zac Hanson, 34, says by phone. “We need to be out on the road. There was a window, but we didn’t’ want to do a straight holiday, wearing Santa suits kind of show. So we came up with the idea of a mixtape; It’s about one-third Christmas songs and we’re doing a handful of brand new song that are coming out next year and the rest is Hanson stuff you would expect. No reindeer, no elves, just enough Christmas so that it feels like a Hanson Christmas party.”
• In early October Hanson broke ribs, a clavicle and his scapula in a motorcycle crash in Tulsa. He’s now “a little sore but unscathed…That was a crazy thing; I’m not a crazy thrill-seeker, but I do like a little adrenalin. I was driving my motorcycle and, well….I know you’re worried about the bike. It’s OK, totally fine.”
• A friend Dash Hutton, subbed on drums for Hanson early in the tour, which he says gave him a new perspective about singing at the front of the stage. “I think singers should get paid, like, half,” he says with a laugh. “really, they have so much less to worry about. As a drummer, you’re using all four limbs and then singing; Take four out of five away and you’re just singing. It was fun, but I had to find a cowbell or tambourine to give myself something to add other than just my patented Zac high harmonies.”
• Coming off 2018’s orchestrated “String Theory,” Hanson now has two new albums in motion — “Against the World” for 2020 and another to follow. Zac says neither one is completed yet but that fans can expect a substantial amount of new music in the near future. “These days we’re really not thinking about having a hit or having a success but having a storyline and this whole community of people who are part of it,” he explains. “We teasingly call it the Hanson Musical Universe, like the Marvel movies; You’ll always know what the next one is, and if you don’t like this one maybe you’ll like the next one. To pull that off we have to plan further and further ahead, so why not tell people what’s coming? It doesn’t need to be a secret. We can share the information and it should be something everybody’s looking forward to together.”
• Hanson — who at 12 years old was the youngest songwriter ever nominated for a Grammy back in 1997 — says it’s been interesting to grow from hot teen hitmakers into what he now calls “almost a heritage band. It’s now nostalgia. My daughter (Junia) is turning nine, and she’s having a 90s-themed birthday party. We come from that era. So we’re at this interesting place where we can almost stop making new music and sort of coast — but that’s not what we’re wanting to do. That’s not worthy of continuing. So much of our music is about overcoming and living up to your potential. That’s kind of our calling card, and a lot of the heart of the music comes from that.”
Hanson, Paul McDonald and Joshua & the Holy Rollers perform Tuesday, Dec. 17, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 316 W. Fourth St. Doors at 6 p.m. $39.50-$79.50. 248-399-2980 or royaloakmusictheatre.com.