Hanson Comes Home!
San Jose Mercury Article
Contra Costa Times Article
Tulsa World-We're Home!
Live @ the 10 Spot Review
Tulsa World Tour Info
Resistense Is Futile:Nobody Really Hates Hanson
Tulsa World Tour Info...(it's my friend's page)
Here is the article in the newspaper I got from Tulsa called "Urban Tulsa."
Are stars born or made?
Its an interesting query, to be sure, especially when the phenomenon of Hansons lightning-quick, worldwide fame is taken into consideration. From the very second Hansons signature single, "MMMBop," hit the airwaves last May it immediately became a massive hit1997s deliriously ubiquitous theme song for the New Teen Pop Rebellion, which helped sweep the last vestiges of the old Grunge Angst Regime under the carpet. "MMMBops" rampant popularity, along with two other well-received releases, "Wheres The Love" and "I Will Come To You," helped propel sales of the Tulsa trios debut CD, Middle of Nowhere, to more than 7 million worldwide. Rarely have a group of musical newcomers this young and unknownhailing quite literally from the Middle of Nowhere (by music industry standards)made such a worldwide impact on pop.
Of course, such seemingly instantaneous fame begs the question "Are they really that great or did the music industry make them popular?" in the minds of many older, wiser, more cynical musical listeners. And rightfully so.
After all, it is a fact that Mercury Records made Hanson one of their top priorities after signing them, thus greatly improving the groups chances of success in the fickle world of pop music. The band received a blitzkrieg of promotional backing from Mercury and their "MMMBop" video enjoyed seemingly nonstop MTV airplay. As pop music history goes, that kind of massive support in the not-too-distant past has been enough to elevate relatively talentless acts like New Kids On The Block and Vanilla Ice to star status much to the abhorrence of older radio listeners.
But "talentless" is not a word that could ever be applied to Ike, Taylor and Zac Hanson. In fact, raw musical talent fairly oozes from these brothers, and their amazing vocal and songwriting abilities are, by now, no secret to the world at large. Face it whether you like "MMMBop" or not, you have to admit that the act of writing an international number one single and simultaneously introducing a new word into the pop lexicon is quite simply an amazing feat for anyone at any age much less at 16, 14 and 11, as Ike, Taylor and Zac were at the time.
It would seem, then, that stars can be both born and made. Hanson certainly enjoys the best of both worlds: They are natural born entertainerseffortlessly musical, charismatic and unaffectedbut they also benefit from the full, unadulterated attention of a major record company. Its quite an enviable position for a rookie rock band who say their aim is to have a long, fruitful career as music makers.
But of course, along with the title of Worldwide Superstars comes a huge load of responsibilities: Endless rounds of interviews with the press, constant image monitoring, loads of traveling, late nights, long hours, and practice, practice, practice
Its an overcast afternoon in New York City when I arrive at SIR, an expansive complex of rental studios used by major rock and pop stars when they need to practice-up while visiting the Big Apple. Inside, Hanson are busy smoothing out the short set theyll be performing the very next day when they tape an episode of VH-1s Storytellers concert series.
The guys grin and wave when I walk in and take a seat at the back of the room. I watch them roll through a smattering of tracks from Middle of Nowhere, accompanied by a trio of studio musicians who fill out their touring band. Taylor hunches over his keyboards and leans into the mic, singing an occasional phrase to guide the band along (its an instrument-only practice this evening so the guys can save their voices). Zac wails away on his drums as if theres a crowd of thousands watching, while Ike coolly works his guitar, grooving slightly to himself in his corner of the stage. Soon, the guys break for dinner (chicken and barbecue ribs, delivered to the studio) and then its back to work. Its been a long days worth of rehearsal, and although they sound great, the long hours are making Zac a bit ancy. He begins making wise-cracks and singing loudly in typically odd Zac-voices as the band attempts to run through their newest single, "Weird." Finally, after the third attempt dissolves into strangeness and laughter, Taylor spins around to face his younger brother.
"Zac lets try to get all the way through this song one time for real," he says, grinning and griping simultaneously.
"Why do you guys always think its me messing us up?" asks Zac slyly. "Im not doing anything "
The next day at the Storytellers taping, Hanson blow through their songs and answer queries from wide-eyed audience members. At first the whole affair is a bit stiff, the audience either too nervous or starstruck to clap along or sing or get up and dance or ask very insightful questions.
"Um, how did you guys name the band?" stammers one young viewer.
"Well " begins Taylor quizzically, "Our name is Hanson so "
"In the beginning, though, we were called The Hanson Brothers," quickly interjects Ike, diplomatically helping the fan save face by turning his not-so-well-thought-out query into an informative situation. "We decided to shorten it to Hanson later on."
Eventually the crowd loosens up. "You can get up and dance and move around, you know," encourages Taylor. And they do.
The Year In Review
1997 was an incredible year for Hanson by anyones standards. After the May release of Middle of Nowhere, the trio traveled through Europe, Asia, Australia and Indonesia performing short promotional concerts to bolster public awareness and capitalize on the worldwide media attention that was lavished on these fresh-faced-yet-mysterious popsters from Oklahoma. Everywhere they went, the response was the same: hysteria. Girls in Jakarta chased them through the streets, pulling at their hair. 20,000 fans packed into a mall parking garage in Melbourne, Australia. Japanese fans waited in line for hours just to glance at Ike, Taylor and Zac through a window at a radio station. The CD quickly shot to number one in 22 countries.
After filming a video for their third single, "I Will Come To You," at the legendary Beacon Theater in New York City last August, Hanson departed for Europe to simultaneously begin work on their well-received Christmas CD, Snowed In, and embark on yet another promotional tour around Europe. In October, they sang the National Anthem at the opening game of the World Series.
In December, they performed at Jingle Ball, a concert at Madison Square Garden which also featured the likes of The Wallflowers, Fiona Apple, Sarah McLaughlin, Chumbawamba, Savage Garden, and Aerosmith (one of Hansons favorite groups.)
"It was quite an experience," says Taylor. "Just getting to play Madison Square Garden was unbelievable."
"We felt really good about our performance," says Ike, "and we got incredible reviews in the New York Post and the New York Times."
Somewhere in there Hanson also found time to attend the MTV Europe Video Awards in The Netherlands where they received the Best Song award for "MMMBop" and the Best New Artist award.
The last part of 1997 was a blur of numerous national television appearances on every major network plus MTV and VH-1. Over the course of November and December, Ike, Taylor and Zac appeared on such high-profile programs as The Late Show with David Letterman, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning and Saturday Night Live, to name but a few. And then came the Christmas in Washington television special on which Hanson performed "Merry Christmas, Baby" for President Clinton and an audience of millions of television viewers.
All in all a pretty incredible year. Hanson definitely deserved the break they finally got around Christmastime, but it was a short-lived one. In February, the guys began work on a video for their latest single, "Weird," with none other than director-of-the-moment Gus Van Sant, who recently received an Oscar nomination as Director of the Year for his extraordinary film, Good Will Hunting.
"We kinda wanted to go for something a little different this time out with our new video," says Taylor as he relaxes in Hansons suite at the Trump International Hotel in Manhattan. "We talked to a lot of really cool directors but none of them had the angle we were looking for something, I guess, not darker, but just different than what wed done before."
So Ike, Taylor and Zac decided to come up with a concept themselves. They tossed around ideas and drew up a treatment of sorts, then put a call in to Van Sant who had expressed interest in working with the band.
"He basically thought it was really cool and told us what we would and wouldnt be able to do," says Taylor. "He really picked up on what we were trying to get across. We had been worried that we werent going to find somebody who could pull off what we wanted to do. The ideas we had were kinda out there and hard to describe over the phone, so when he got them we thought This is really cool."
The video for "Weird" is, indeed, fairly weird especially when compared to Hansons earlier, light-hearted video fare. Without giving too much of it away before its early March debut, some of the videos imagery includes subway cars full of strange passengers, some bizarre, underwater shots, and plenty of amazing, gravity-defying moves by Ike, Taylor and Zac.
"We gave him (Van Sant) ideas and he made them all a possibility," says Taylor. "He found really, really cool sites to shoot in. Everything was totally perfect for what wed been talking about."
Filming for "Weird" took place on both coasts Los Angeles for the underwater and special effects shots, and New York for the subway shots. The most challenging part of it all? Learning how to sing underwater.
"Being underwater with the scuba gear on was fine," says Taylor, "But it was a challenge to take your mask off and sing while you were under 12 feet of water with weights on your legs to keep you from floating up."
Ike agrees. "It was mentally challenging because your body is just not used to that. But it was also a lot of fun."
As dangerous as it all sounds, the whole scenario was quite safe says Taylor. "There were three divers underwater out of camera range, just in case anything went wrong. And there was a cinematographer and about three lighting/camera techs underwater with scuba gear on too."
The Grammies and Beyond
Several nights later, Hanson would attend, perform at and walk away from The Grammy Awards empty-handed after receiving nominations for Song of the Year, Best Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group, and Best New Artist.
Does this bother them? Nah.
"I think the fact that we were nominated at all is an amazing honor," says Ike in his typically modest fashion. "You cant get much better than the Grammies its pretty much the premiere music awards show. I mean, one year youre sitting at home watching them and the next year youre there and nominated. Thats an amazing thing."
Whats next for Hanson, you ask? A three-month North American tour with local pop band Admiral Twin in the opening slot. What does that mean for the Hanson brothers during the month of March? You got it practice, practice, practice. Although, theyll be home in Tulsa this time aroundclose to family, friends, familiar pastimes and (perhaps most importantly), their new baby sister, Zoe. After the tour is over in mid-July, the guys will be heading back into the studio to begin working on their next CD.
Then the nonstop promotional cycle will begin all over again.
Its a tough job, stardom. But somebodys got to do it. And right here, right
now there is no other group on the planet who could be more capable of handling the