by by Dayna Tortorici

illustration by by Drew Foster


Throughout history, women have always been enamored with men who look like women. Hanson's trio of blonde-locked brothers has dutifully provided non-threatening eye-candy to ladies for the past decade with no intention of stopping anytime soon. The Independent sat down for a phone call with Isaac Hanson to discuss German journalists, hair techniques and Hanson Day.

What's changed musically for Hanson since "MmmBop"?
Well, for those [readers] who have not been following Hanson music in the last ten years, there's definitely a little bit of a difference. For example, in voices... that would be an obvious one.

You've gone through puberty.
But all joking aside, the music has definitely evolved over the years. I think for us it feels like less of an evolution than for some people. I think if you were to pull somebody off the street right now and play them [our new album 'The Walk'], people would be surprised that it's Hanson.

Do you have any musical guilty pleasures? Do you ever listen to Lil' Wayne?
I always feel like if you like it, you should not feel like you have to say "well, it's a guilty pleasure." So in that case, I don't really have any guilty pleasures. I appreciate a lot of pop songs. I never ever bought the song, but I enjoyed "Toxic" by Britney Spears. And I very much enjoy "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding.

That's definitely not a guilty pleasure.
And anything in between.

I hear some activity in the background. Are those your kids?
Yes, there was a young kid in the background.

How many kids do you have?
I have two kids.

All of you guys are married with children. Is it hard touring with kids?
We do not tour all the time with our kids but they do come, uh, from time to time out with us. Us and our wives. And so, yeah, I mean Taylor has three kids, I have two kids, and Zac has one.

So six young Hansons. Are any of them musical? Can we look forward to a new generation of Hanson in the future?
I mean, who knows? There's no question that Taylor's kids have shown very clear signs of musical skill. And there's also no question that my oldest, who's 18 months old, has a strong sense of rhythm and really really likes music. But you never know. It's impossible to predict. What I really mean is they'd better really, really want it because it's a really hard job.

How did your early success affect the trajectory of your career? Have you ever felt limited by the boy-band niche market of the '90s?
I don't for a second regret having success at an early point in our lives and in our careers. We were always very ambitious at a young age and really felt like it was our calling. We've certainly never felt limited by the "boy band category" because honestly, we were never in it.
But do I think that there are some very pompous and condescending journalists in the world? Absolutely. Were they incredibly condescending to myself and my brothers at certain points in our lives? Absolutely. Do I pity them? Absolutely. If you look at interviews of us when people actually gave us the chance to answer real questions instead of saying stupid things like, you know, "doesn't it really suck to hang out with all of these grownups all the time?" you would hear answers very similar to the kinds of answers we give today.

Can we ask you one stupid question that we are admitting is stupid before we ask it?
As long as you admit that it's stupid, and allow me to reprimand you for it afterwards.

You can definitely reprimand us. As a collective, what kind of shampoo and conditioner does Hanson use?
Whatever we can get our hands on.

Anything? Everything?
Anything. There's no particular one.

You guys just had some notorious hair going on in the late 90s.
Oh wow, yeah. Well, if people know how little we washed our hair, they appalled.

What's the most absurd question you were asked during your early years?
Um, what shampoo did we use. That is actually pretty high on the list. My favorite one was a Spanish journalist who asked " so, how did you meet?" We were like "yeah, we're related. Okay so Zac, in 1985, was born. And by that time, uh...we met." Or there were some very awkward ones as well. I won't go into that. I'll keep it PG.

Well, we're PG-13.
Okay, well, at this time I'm about 16 and Zac is about 11. This one particular journalist, I believe the journalist was German--which would be very appropriate. For those of you who have been to Germany you'd understand what I mean--they said, um, so "what is your favorite part of a woman?" And I thought to myself, "what is my favorite part of a woman? How do I answer this? Pass."

Did Taylor answer the question?
Nobody answered the question. Not to mention that it's profoundly awkward when one of your band members is 11 years old.

If you could tour with any band, living or dead, who would it be?
That's a great question. I'm gonna go with...Sly and the Family Stone.

I read somewhere that the governor of Oklahoma deemed May 6 'Hanson day' back in 1997. Did you guys ever, or do you still celebrate Hanson day? What does one do on Hanson day?
Um, it's not a holiday. And we do not celebrate it. However, that being said, much of our fan base does.

So... where are you guys going eat dinner in Providence?
I don't know whether I can tell you that.

What are you eating for dinner tonight?
I don't know. Every single day is a flip of the coin.

Hanson will be playing at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel on October 16th.