All The Way To The Milky Way
Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. – Theodore Roosevelt
It seems to be a habit of ours lately to talk about the hard work and imaginative effort that Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson put into everything they do.
Recently many fans were treated to an insider view of their workings via the H.net live stream.
What was on show, was the creative dexterity of Zac as he made the video for Digging to China, the band having way too much fun making songs from the new members kit, the preparations for the Australian tour and Isaac Hanson on the drums, in public for possibly the first and last time.
While his brothers gave rather faint praise for the performance, many fans, including a strong Italian contingent, shouted and screamed with delight as Isaac carved out his own space in the proceedings and gave a performance to be proud of.
There is no doubt that deep in the cave and dark recesses of 3CG records, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Hanson were getting down to business.
But the nature of the Hanson business is one to watch with keen interest; for this is no ordinary commercial enterprise.
You don’t have to have a degree in business management to see that Hanson have something very special at the heart of their vision for the future. It has authenticity and it has generosity.
Their history as independent minded musicians is not unknown.
Their story as young people sticking stamps on envelopes to contact an early fan base, their determination to keep their dream alive post This Time Around , and their successful move from making Hanson music, to creating a brand has been freely shared by them and well documented if you find the time to read.
What comes through the reading, among many things, is a determination to create something positive and generous yet something that is rooted in a strong sense of self. Hanson know who they are. They have figured it out and what they do comes from the heart.
It is unapologetic and yet it has humility which suggests that Hanson know where they fit in the scheme of things.
In recent days Taylor Hanson has provided the fan or curious onlooker with several examples of this.
The blog from his dinosaur adventure with The Sam Noble Museum has been published, an interview with Grammy Pro has gone online and he has been seen taking an active role in spearheading a movement in Tulsa to directly combat the increasing problem of food deserts in that community.
The concept of community has come up again and again. It would seem that community is extremely important for Hanson.
Being part of a large family which has been a foundation for their career, must have given Isaac, Taylor and Zac a deep awareness of how people can succeed together. Taylor often betrays a deep love of being part of a vibrant and productive group of people through his words and pictures. And he has said on more than one occasion, that he loves to bring people together to achieve a task well.
Extend that concept a little further and you see a band that is more than happy to be immersed in local community life – on Tulsa Time.
From their early concerts at schools and festivals, to establishing their business in Tulsa’s downtown wasteland as it was in 2003, to making music videos in their own backyard and doing photo shoots just feet away from their office door, Hanson have worked and lived fully as part of their neighbourhood.
The Walk album used scenes from Tulsa in the art work, and the video for Thinking Bout Somethin was made close to Hanson headquarters, along one of the city’s most historic streets.
Hanson have begun to build a beer business with a local brewery, crafted merchandise with local coffee and chocolate shops and through working with a local technology company, they found the inspiration for much that became both The Walk and Take The Walk.
In the Grammy pro interview Taylor stated that their vision is to build a community with other artists and entrepreneurs, one that stays afloat and engages with fans.
So even as this is being written, Hanson are in Australia, touring with Anthem and cementing that engagement from one side of a continent to the other.
The opportunity for Hanson to revisit Australia, play sold out shows and go to New Zealand for a first time, is one more step in their history, a history that they respect and reference frequently.
They have embraced fully the fact that their fans want to connect with them, and despite the long hours travelling and the repeated interviews that don’t quite get what the band is about, Hanson will take pictures, sign stuff and be accessible to the people who show interest and passion for their music.
The journey watching Hanson become who they are supposed to be, is, for an observer, as awesome as Taylor Hanson, Dinosaur Explorer, watching the Milky Way from the Western most tip of Oklahoma.
There may be hesitance and a healthy respect for first times with Hanson, but there is no fear.
As Taylor suggested in the Pro Grammy Interview, if you know who you are, then you can sleep soundly, with your name on your product and you won’t be anything but proud – what he actually said was, ” You won’t give a shit.”
With the tour down under just beginning, there are bound to be many adventures along the way.
What some people will see is a popular band from the late 90’s, with a healthy, enthusiastic following, touring with their latest album.
What others may see is a band with their eyes open, ever more sure of who they are, deeply confident in their plans for the long term and working hard for something truly worth the effort.
It starts in Tulsa. It travels around the world. It comes back to Tulsa.
Rooted, grounded and growing, but journeying all the way to the Milky way.