Family bands have played a major role in music history. The Bee Gees, The Osmonds, Kings of Leon, The Neville Brothers and The Staple Singers are but a few notable artists that have contributed to this list. Brother act Hanson (Zac, Isaac and Taylor) took the ‘90s airwaves by storm, charting hits and garnering Grammy nominations along the way. On Monday, September 9, Hanson will perform at Workplay Theatre with Alabama native – and former American Idol contestant – Paul McDonald opening the 8 p.m. show. Currently, Hanson is touring in support of Anthem, the band’s recently-released record on its own label, 3CG Records. Recently, we caught up with Zac Hanson by phone.
Brent Thompson: Zac, thanks for your time. We are looking forward to having you guys back in Birmingham.
Zac Hanson: My wife’s from Tuscaloosa, so it’s always nice to play in Birmingham. We go back to that area for the holidays every year, so it feels like a home away from home.
BT: You guys are still based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It seems like more artists are able to live in their hometowns these days in lieu of having to relocate to the traditional music hubs.
ZH: We started our [record] label in 2003 and Prince and The Rolling Stones were the only ones doing it – it was really sparse. Our friends would say, “What are you guys doing?” but the market is really changing for records and the way fans are buying – or I should say not buying – has definitely evolved. There’s this reach that you never had before that becomes a powerful tool for independent artists. A lot of people are just tired of being a commodity.
BT: Along that same line, some artists tell me the accessibility of modern outlets is great and some tell me it’s a challenge given that anyone can put out musical content now.
ZH: Unfortunately, both are true. There’s this amazing tool – and I’m Skyping you from Canada right now because we are on tour – you can record anything you want anywhere and there’s a level of quality that you just couldn’t get when we started. We saw the very last tail-end of the analog music business. People don’t have to risk anything or spend any money to become a fan. They can search for it on Google or Pandora – it requires bands to work harder. There’s not just one outlet where you can reach 20 million people. But we are out here to build something.
BT: I understand you guys have even created your own beer brand now [Mmmhops] as well. How did that idea come about?
ZH: We are always looking for the next creative thing and we never looked to be part of a trend. We are a garage band from Oklahoma and the beer is one more avenue. You travel the country and see these craft beers – you just become fans of it. We started working on it and it will be available this fall.
Tickets to the all-ages show are $30 – and can be purchased at www.workplay.com.