Hanson: Still MMM-Boppin’ After All These Years

It's been 15 years since Hanson exploded onto the music scene, and brothers Zac, Taylor and Isaac aren't planning on leaving

All grown up: Hanson kicked off their Canadian tour in Vancouver

Hanson remains a tight-knit band (and family) after more than 15 years in the music industry

They catapulted to pop stardom in 1997 with the infectious hit single, “MMM-Bop“, having achieved fame in their early to mid teens.

And while many of their musical peers may have suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in their adolescence, Hanson maintained life on an even keel; maturing into adulthood with nary a drug conviction or rehab stint among them.

Lead singer and keyboardist Taylor Hanson credits a strong family unit as one of the many contributing factors that kept them grounded.

“There’s not one thing . . . I think there are a lot of things that keep you grounded,” he says.

“We are all a little bit outside of the norm as far as our perspective on the world and what we’ve done, so I think in a way we were already a little off-kilter compared to the average ‘Joe’. Having good family and friends was a stabilizer: family and the music itself. You just don’t want to lose that.”

Comprised of brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac, Hanson formed in Tulsa, Oklahoma and achieved enormous commercial success with their major label debut, Middle of Nowhere, which earned three Grammy Award nominations.

Sadly, future album releases would fall victim to an ever-changing music industry and the constant corporate mergers that caused the band to reevaluate their business plan, opting instead to release records independently on their own 3CG Records label.

“That was a pretty pragmatic decision; it wasn’t really throwing the finger to the man,” Taylor Hanson tells me. “Our label Mercury Records got merged into another and it became Island/Def Jam and all the staff was essentially let go and we were with a whole new company really. On our second record it all changed and it suffered the issues of a brand new company. When it came time for the third album, we just realized we didn’t want to continue with a group of people we felt were really sort of corporate-minded. We wanted the opportunity to go directly to the fans and build it from the ground up. That’s what we’ve done since 2003.”

Hanson Kicks Off Latest Tour in Vancouver

Fifteen years after their initial breakthrough success, the Oklahoma trio remains united, embarking earlier this week on an extensive cross Canada tour that kicked off with a Vancouver date.

“One of the things about being on tour is that places start to look the same: Vancouver just stands out for its natural beauty and the skyline is so striking. I’m really into taking pictures so I have a catalogue of great photos from Vancouver.”

Musicians and business colleagues notwithstanding, they are brothers at the end of the day. And with three siblings in such close and constant proximity, you have to wonder whether there are sibling squabbles on the road.

“Oh sure – yeah”, admits Taylor, “we have arguments all the time and there’s a significant difference between the three of us in how we deal with things. The thing that does keep us close and keep things together is the music – the collaboration. Being able to fight and disagree is part of the process.”