By LAUREN McMENEMY
EVERYONE should spend a little time with Hanson if only because it will shatter any preconceived notion of what the band is about.
"I had somebody say to me in an interview recently, `when you guys came out you were so clean cut'," said Isaac Hanson, 24, former child music star now guitarist in his band of brothers.
"I said, `the drummer was 11 frickin' years old. What the hell do you expect?
"You want the guy to be on coke'?"
So begins the dilemma of the Hansons.
Not so long ago, the American brothers were the biggest teen idols in the world. They created a sensation in 1997 when they scored a worldwide hit with the infectious MmmBop.
Then, plagued by record-label troubles, Hanson went very quiet.
Now the boys are back in town â€“ and they're more worldly and business savvy than you would ever expect.
"We're living in a system that's dealing with a lot of changes," drummer Zac, now 19, said.
"You have toilet companies and alcohol companies that own music companies (Seagrams and Vivendi). They're running them based on a commodity.
"A lot of the music people are gone, replaced by accountants and attorneys who are speaking the language of the corporate world."
The men of Hanson are fired up.
They have learned much from their major-label foray in the late 1990s and are passionate fans who really are in it for the music.
Isaac questioned how and when radio placed such an emphasis on advertising to be successful, instead of an audience. He said: "It's the giant curse of the system."
Zac said: "That's because all they're looking for is hits.
"There's certain songs that glue culture together and create fan bases â€“ and then there's the songs that create the biggest reaction in the first 30 seconds. Those are two different things."
Zac said the irony in Hansons' approach was the fact they're actually telling people to engage the major media. "We're out there trying to say to fans `be active because you're it. They need you. And you've got to speak up and show them the music that you want to hear'.
"You've just got to lead them with your voice because it's too important.
"We, as a generation, are going to be defined by the things, the media, the music that's being played and shown and if we're not active in it then our kids our going to look back and go, `man, they sucked'."
Taylor, singer/pianist, 21, echoed his brothers' sentiments. "Find the ways and the sparks of life and help them to claim an audience because you guys are the only thing that can make a difference really."