Catching Up With ...
Wednesday, April 30, 2008; 12:00 PM
If you were alive in 1997 then you were familiar with "Mmmbop," the impossibly catchy No. 1 hit by teenage pop sensations Hanson. More than a decade later the three Hanson brothers -- Isaac, Taylor and Zac -- are out of their teens and have four successful albums and countless tours under their belts. The band will appear at the State Theatre on May 1 in support of last year's album, "The Walk."
All three Hanson brothers were online Wednesday, April 30 at Noon, ET to take your questions.
A transcript follows.
Newport, Ky.: First, you guys are so amazing in so many ways. I think it is a very special thing that you are doing in using your fame to help others. Second, I was wondering, what is your favorite thing about being artists? Is it the touring, writing music, being able to help others make a difference, etc.?
Hanson: TAYLOR: Thanks for being a fan of the music. We've always felt like we had an opportunity to do good things through our music. It's been incredible to see how many people have supported us in our efforts in Africa. I think the best part about being artists is creating something that can affect people, whether you're writing a song or performing a concert.
Wayne, N.J.: What do you do on the days that you don't have shows while your on tour?
Hanson: ZAC: Often you try to find cool things in each city - a restaurant, a museum, a landmark to visit. Other times we just go out into a parking lot and play Airsoft.
Berlin, Germany: Do you have any plans coming to Europe, maybe even Germany this year?
Hanson: TAYLOR: We are making plans to release The Walk in Europe, followed by tour dates later this year. No specific dates yet.
Damascus, Md.: I am a male and have only recently become a Hanson fan. I think your music could appeal to anyone who enjoys pop, but it seems most of your audience is female. How do you feel about having such a female dominant fan-base, and do you ever think that is going to change?
Hanson: ZAC: Female fans are awesome. End of story. We have some of the greatest fans in the world who are true music fans and sing every word. We don't care if you're a guy, a girl or a chimpanzee.
Washington, D.C.: First of all, I've been a fan since '97 and I absolutely love The Walk, so congratulations on creating another stunning album. Secondly, have you started working on songs for the next album yet? If so, what kind of feel/genre will the songs be? Thanks!
Hanson: ISAAC: Thanks so much for being a fan for more than 10 years. We're always writing and in fact really excited about recording new music. I think it will definitely follow in the footsteps (no pun intended) of The Walk in the way that we recorded it, very organically, and I think some of the themes you hear on The Walk will continue through our next recordings.
Los Angeles, Calif.: I'm an artist and I often find that when I run out of ideas for my artwork, I have a hard time getting back into the groove. What do you guys do when you're trying to write a song and are suffering from mental blocks?
Hanson: TAYLOR: Have patience. Great ideas are inspired by the things around you and sometimes you just need to change your headspace and inspiration will come.
Greenville, Ill.: If you could go back in time to 1997, what advice would you guys give yourselves? Is there anything you would tell the younger you to do differently?
Hanson: ISAAC: Buy Starbucks coffee stock.
Jakarta, Indonesia: So we in the other side of the hemisphere are painfully deprived of Hanson albums. I understand that it's difficult to assign distribution rights since you're independent and don't have the privilege of major label's distribution/marketing schemes. What I want to know if you've ever considered Independent marketing for your (post-Underneath) recordings that's literally fan-based (consign a single person for the sales), or directly through non-conglomerated record stores?
Hanson: ISAAC: It's great to have fans all over the world. We have considered a lot of different ways to market records and have a lot of goals for the future. We're making plans to release the record in SE Asia, which also includes Indonesia. the music business has changed a lot. Who knows what the future might hold. Fans are the best asset a band could ever have.
Fairfax, Va.: Will there be a walk from State Theater? If so, what time?
Hanson: ZAC: Yes! This is THE WALK TOUR. The walk will be at 3 p.m., but check hanson.net the day of the show in case anything changes.
Hudson, N.H.: I loved taking the walk with you in NH.
After the walk Isaac said there's more to come this year. What's next? Will you continue to work with TOMS shoes for years to come, or are you finding new/additional ways to connect?
Hanson: TAYLOR: Thanks so much for joining us on the walk. The purpose of the walks has been to inspire individuals that they have the ability to make an impact on issues as big the AIDS pandemic and challenges of extreme poverty through simple actions. Our partnership with TOMS Shoes to help provide thousands of shoes to children in Africa will continue. There are a lot of needs - clean water, access to medical care, education etc. We're learning more about these issues every day, and we're reaching out to create other partnerships that will enable others to take further action.
Birmingham, UK: I am coming on The Rock Boat Niner (with 2 other UK fans) in January which is gonna be awesome. Who are you most looking forward to seeing, performing with, jamming with?
Hanson: ZAC: I want to get on stage with Cowboy Mouth.
Manchester, U.K.: After having such successful awareness walks in the United States, could these be brought to other areas of the world on future tours?
Hanson: TAYLOR: The walks have been amazing and our hope is to encourage others to set up their own walks, as well as walks in some international countries. Every walk is different and so every country will be slightly different. Our goal is to bring the message of individuals taking action to fans around the world.
Manchester, Mass.: Where did you guys get the idea for your logo? Had your family always used that, or did you just come up with it?
Hanson: ISAAC: The logo had a couple of different incarnations and many bands that I love like Aerosmith and others have unique symbols that represent their band. I wanted us to have the same.
Fairfax, Va: Music has become a lot more digitized and animated, and we're hearing a lot less of the raw sound that we get at a live show. How do you guys plan on keeping it real but staying innovative with your sound?
Hanson: ZAC: Hanson has always been organic and it will stay that way. Still, we're not afraid to use any tool to make the best record.
Minneapolis, Minn.: So, admit it, do you ever "YouTube" yourselves?
Hanson: ZAC: Guilty. I look awesome compressed and digitized.
Clearwater, Minn.: Hey Hanson! After watching your podcasts (I loved them by the way) I started to have second thoughts about my major. For the past two years I have wanted to major in music business, but after seeing how badly you were treated by your record label and others in the music business I'm not sure if that's something I want to be involved with anymore. What are your thoughts on this? And where do you see the state of music going in the future?
Hanson: ISAAC: I'm glad you got a chance to see the podcast which shows the story of the music business being in peril, but to be honest there's going to be struggles in any business, but if you're truly passionate about music then maybe you can be a part of fixing the problem. This may be a bad time for the record business but it's actually an incredible time for music. We need passionate smart people to shape the future of the industry.
If anyone doesn't know you can see the story of us struggling with our former record label and starting our indie label 3CG Records and then continuing through the story of making The Walk up to current day, on our Taking The Walk podcast on iTunes.
Cleveland, Ohio: If your last name wasn't Hanson, what would you want the band to be called?
Hanson: ZAC: Super Powered Death Monkeys
Harrisburg, Pa.: OK, if you were teenagers a decade ago, let me do the math, I presume you no longer are teenagers. Many people in their 20s are embarrassed by their youth, yet what you all did both helped define you and presented music that millions loved. When you look back at your youth, do you laugh, are you proud, or is there anything about it that you regret?
Hanson: ISAAC: I think we're lucky that we have always stayed true to who we were from the very beginning, and because of that we all feel very proud of the last ten years in the music business and of all the songs that we have written and all of the shows that we have performed. I hope we're not embarrassed when we look back at our twenties. :-D
Frederick, Md.: You guys do some really great contemporary covers during your shows (Radiohead!). What would be your dream collaboration with a current artist?
Hanson: ZAC: Flight Of The Conchords
Curitiba, Brazil: hey you guys! today is my birthday....! I´m really happy for being able to talk to you guys!
when you come to brazil??
Hanson: TAYLOR: HAPPY BIRTHDAY! We've had a lot of Brazilian fans asking when The Walk Tour will come to Brazil. We are planning tour dates in Brazil and they will be announced, hopefully, in the next month on hanson.net.
Romeoville, Ill.: Hey Zac!!! You should do a concert and have the marquee say Super Powered Death Monkeys.
Hanson: ZAC: Thank you my soul brother. If you come, wear parachute pants.
Lincolnville, Maine: Where do you see yourself in 10, 20, 30 even 40 yrs? What would you like to be doing on the 50th anniversary of MON?
Hanson: ZAC: Playing on the moon.
Toronto, Canada: All three of you are pretty versatile when it comes to instruments. Is there an instrument you don't play, but would like to take the time to learn? Which one(s)?
Hanson: ISAAC: I'd really like to play sax
TAYLOR: I'm not as focused on learning a new instrument, but I would like to improve my skills at reading and notating music. I would also really like to sharpen my skills on the guitorgan.
ZAC: Chromatic Harp
Buffalo, N.Y.: Hi Hanson,
After this tour what are your plans for the next year, can we expect another US tour? Thanks!
Hanson: TAYLOR: We are excited to continue The Walk Tour throughout 2008. Hoping to play more shows in the US along with international dates. We're also excited to continue our efforts in Africa with the one mile walks.
Hanson: HANSON: This is a great time to wrap up the chat. Thanks for all of your great questions. We look forward to seeing you all on the road as long as the Super Powered Death Monkeys don't do a reunion tour.
Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.