The Real Reason Why You Never Hear From Hanson Anymore

Mmmbop came out in 1997, but if you grew up in the '90s, it's never really gone away. The dangerously catchy tune by the Tulsa-based pop trio of brothers Isaac, Taylor, and Zac Hanson let the band hit the ground running when it was released as the hit leadoff single from their four-times platinum-certified album Middle of Nowhere. But despite their continued work in the music industry, their fame leveled off on the low end after their major-label debut. How do you follow an opening act like that? It's understandable if you're a little bit behind in your fandom, all these years since the boys graced a poster above your bed. (Presumably you've taken it down by now.) Here's what the Hanson brothers have been doing for the last, oh, 20 years.


Yes, beer. Making, not drinking. The band opened their small brewery in conjunction with friends in the industry in Tulsa in 2014, producing Mmmhops, the beer of the Hanson Brothers Beer Company. An American pale ale designed to please just about everybody, it has a drinkable, middle-of-the-road charm that's often in short supply on hot summer days in Oklahoma. And hey, what's better at a rock show than a cold one? Hanson's got your back with both.

Hosting a Music and Beer Festival

For the last few years, the Hanson brothers have combined their two passions into one boozed-up rock-and-roll extravaganza, put on as a free show with hundreds of beers on tap. The Tulsa Hop Jam, as it's called, boasts featured bands such as Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, the Polyphonic Spree, and of course Hanson, playing to thousands on the streets of downtown Tulsa. "Hop Jam is a community event. I mean, it really is," Taylor Hanson says, and one of his and his brothers' goals for the festival is "to encourage people to come to Oklahoma for the first time." You can't say these hometown boys aren't loyal to the people who brought them up.

Making music on the low-key

Tulsa is also home to Isaac Hanson's 3CG Records music studio and independent record label, which has hosted such luminaries as Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, Miley Cyrus, and more. The "3CG" stands for three-car-garage, a reference to the studio's original use. Since starting 3CG Records in 2003, the brothers have recorded and released their third, fourthfifth and sixth albums through the label, with possibilities open to expand and sign other artists as well.


If there's anything you need to know about Hanson, it's that they love to give back to their community. In addition to their endeavors in music and beer—the latter being an especially important contribution to society—Taylor Hanson is also the mastermind behind Food on the Move, a charitable program he started in 2014 that seeks to combat the effects of food deserts. He and the brothers have also worked on initiatives to collect and donate shoes to impoverished areas in Africa. These aren't one-offs, and they aren't just for publicity, or some sort of situation where all the hard work is outsourced. For these programs, the brothers have their boots on the ground, leading their events in-person. It's a win-win, really. Fans get to meet them, and a worthy cause is celebrated. Nice guys!

Tinted Windows

This is not to say that Taylor Hanson has hung up his axe completely in favor of charity and craft beer. Far from it, as in addition to his own band, the singer-guitarist is also a member of the rock supergroup Tinted Windows, alongside James Iha, late of A Perfect Circle and the Smashing Pumpkins; Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne, and drummer Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick. The band kicked off their first show in Tulsa, OK (of course) at the historic Cain's Ballroom, which sold out quickly and drew audiences from around the world. Signed to the label S-Curve, the group has only released one album, its 2009 self-titled debut. Little has been heard from them since their 2010 tour, but the stars may align again—who knows?

But they're back for a 25th anniversary world tour

The Hanson brothers may have spent the last few years working on their brand, but 2017 will see the trio once again take the world on as an internationally-touring band. After spending more than 20 years in the cycle of record, tour, repeat, a few years off have left the band feeling renewed and eager to hit the road again. "At the end of the last record we decided to quiet the cycle a little bit," explains Taylor Hanson, referencing the time they've spent cultivating other endeavors like Mmmhops and the Tulsa Hop Jam.

But now that the band has reached such a notable milestone in their 25th anniversary together, they figure there's no better way to celebrate than with a trip around the world. "We want to celebrate being this far in, and having been able to share music for this long," says Taylor. The tour, says Isaac Hanson, will be "not only about the two decades of music, [but] about celebrating the incredible community of fans who have been with us, singing along year after year." Kicking off June 2017 in Germany, the shows will take the lifelong musicians to Australia, across Europe, and back home to the USA. Shows for the tour are selling out months in advance, so if you want to be sure you see these middle-of-nowhere guys when they come to your town, you'd probably better buy your tickets early.

And a second Christmas album

Not many musical acts get the opportunity (or have the demand) to do two Christmas albums, but Hanson is unique in that their first Christmas album was really, really successful. Coming shortly after the massive success of their debut, their holiday themed followup Snowed In went multi-platinum in 1997, and they're coming back with a second holiday album in 2017 to see if they can repeat the success, 20 years later.

The album, Wintry Mix, has been teased on social media with snippets of the recording process showing the now grown-up band puzzling out how they want to play the old staples. (They've also shared some adorable Christmas-themed live performance footage, to give a taste of what's to come.) It'd take a Christmas miracle to move as many copies as Snowed In did two decades ago, but fortunately for fans of that catchy, beloved album, the new music sounds better than ever.