As America's arguably best new hitmakers (junior division), the brothers Hanson arose from Tulsa, Oklahoma, obscurity to international pop stardom via a barrage of infectious singles. Although many had their doubts whether the trio could pull off their musical ditties live, they seem to be doing just fine.
Now, at the midpoint of Hanson's first major U.S. tour, the band has settled in quite nicely with life in the sometimes not-so-fast lane of a major road expedition. In an interview with MTV News, Zac, Isaac and Taylor talked about adapting their familiar hits for a concert environment, and what the addition of an acoustic set has brought to the band's sound.
MTV NEWS: So why don't you tell us where you've been so far and how the tour's been going.
TAYLOR HANSON: Well, we started off in Europe. We hit France, we hit Paris; London; Colon, Germany and then we went through Canada. So, we're now in the States, finally.
ZAC HANSON: It's been going great.
TAYLOR: Yeah, it's been going really well. We were just in Detroit and that was really…great audience there. So, we're having fun doing it; it's been awesome.
ISAAC HANSON: We've also hit Boston, Montreal, Toronto…Yeah, we are having a lot of fun. It's great to finally get out on tour because that's been something that we've wanted to do for a very long time is to get out on tour.
TAYLOR: Get out and play some shows.
ISAAC: And it's great.
MTV NEWS: How do the European audiences differ from the American ones?
TAYLOR: With the European audiences it's actually a little different 'cause in London they scream constantly, whereas in the States it's kind of nice. They'll like scream, scream, scream and then when you play a song they'll sort of listen to it and sing it back to you, so… It has a little bit of difference, but…
ZAC: The thing was in London, though somehow they had all gotten whistles, so…
TAYLOR: So, instead of screaming it was even more exciting 'cause they had these whistles and they were all blowing them, but every place has its own unique twist. Like in France we joke about the girls being really strong. Like they are... if you get caught with lots of… a big French audience then you'll be in trouble. But I think every place kind of has its own twist.
MTV NEWS: How can you tell they're strong?
ISAAC: Because one time we were trying to get to a bus and we got smashed up against the bus!
ZAC: There was like, there was like only 30 girls there, but they're like (makes a squashing motion and sound with his hands and puts on a funny death face).
TAYLOR: We were all trying to, the security guards and just like anybody that was with us were trying to, push them away. And it was more like 50, but still there were only 50 girls and they're all just like y'know (makes a showing motion) so…
ZAC: It felt like 100.
MTV NEWS: So I heard you guys are bringing out some acoustic stuff. Tell us about that addition to your set.
TAYLOR: Well, we did it live at the "10 Spot" and that was sort of like a tiny taste of the show and in this the acoustic part sort of breaks it up in the middle.
ISAAC: It's really cool because it's a chance to tone it down a little bit. Also to just do something a little bit different…people haven't heard you play as much acoustic, or play these songs. We're playing a lot of songs from "Three Car Garage," along with a lot of songs from "Middle of Nowhere," but in the acoustic set we play several songs from "Three Car Garage." It's just cool to just kind of break those songs down and do different versions.
TALOR: And get closer to the audience too because it's a lot more intimate and the lighting kind of goes down and it's a lot more raw. It makes it more interesting.
MTV NEWS: And the girls are quiet?
ALL THREE: No, not really.
ZAC: I don't think anybody is ever quite. There's always a constant "aagh…"
ISAAC: Like Tay said, though, the difference between the European audience and the American audience is pretty much…
TAYLOR: In the U.S. they sort of listen a bit more, so that's kind of, it's nice to have that.
ISAAC: They pretty much stop the screaming when you're singing…
TAYLOR: And then they just sing the song with you which is even cooler.
ISAAC: And they do that in Europe, too. There's just screaming along with it.
MTV NEWS: Most people your age are playing all summer long and having fun. You guys are kinda working. How do you find time to have fun in the various cities you're at?
TAYLOR: Well, you say that kids our age are playing all the time; we're playing all the time, we're just playing music.
ZAC: No, we find our ways on how to have fun.
TAYLOR: In the back of the bus we have a Nintendo 64 and we play games, and it's cool. It's cool to now actually have a schedule, at least. You know, you're on tour and the next three days you're gonna be doing a show, so you can do this or that. So, it's great. We're really psyched to get out and be able to play for the fans; that's what we've wanted to do.
ISAAC: And scarily enough, this schedule's actually been less hectic than some of the schedules we've had before. So it's actually in some ways, a break, even though you are on tour. It's actually a little bit more of a break because, like Tay said, you know your schedule a little bit more and also, we're getting to play which is just so cool because, finally, again, after a year plus promotion and all of that, now we are on tour and it's a really great feeling.
MTV NEWS: So when the tour ends, any plans to make another album?
ISAAC: Definitely plans to make another album. We will do that. (Makes this bold statement and points at the camera, smiling).
TAYLOR: I hope, if we're not abducted by aliens. That's definitely what's next on the list; we have tons of songs that we want to record. Actually, we thought, "we wanna play these songs," because we have a lot of songs that you wanna get out there and play 'cause they're in your head, but I think we're gonna save those for the next record.
ZAC: We're gonna save those for the next record. We won't be puttin' any new, new songs in the live show because we thought, "we don't wanna give anything away."