“MMMBop” and Middle Of Nowhere 20 Years Later
Twenty years ago, the Hanson brothers (Isaac, Taylor, and Zac) recorded their huge hit “MMMBop.” It has been twenty five years since they formed the band Hanson. In celebration of these milestones, Hanson is touring on their “Middle of Everywhere” 25th Anniversary Tour this fall, a play on their debut album title. The brothers have always focused on music as careers, and they have released five more albums since Middle of Nowhere. From their ’90s roots to their continuing music careers, Hanson represents a unique aspect of the music industry where siblings and success actually go hand-in-hand.
From Tulsa, Oklahoma, Hanson grew to fame during their South by Southwest (SXSW) festival performance in 1994. This isn’t an odd start for up-and-coming stars. Huge names such as John Mayer have gotten their big start and record deal from performing at SXSW. It is a film, music, and culture festival that attracts thousands of artists each year. SXSW holds a special place in Hanson’s heart even now because the festival feeds on the musician’s dream to be discovered. Though there are bigger stages and showcases, it’s also a popular event for completely unknown artists to play and try to find someone willing to listen.
In a SPIN interview this year, Tyler explained, “…at SXSW, it’s all about the extending web. Our SXSW story is not ‘we signed up for a showcase.’ We just showed up. We got into music because it was inside, and you gotta get it out.” They admit that their parents came with the kids to keep an eye on them, but from a safe enough distance that the three brothers looked independent. They were signed by longtime manager Christopher Sabec and signed to Mercury following.
Middle of Nowhere dropped in 1997 and sold around ten million copies worldwide. The youngest brother Zac was only eleven-years-old at the time of release. In 1998, Hanson was nominated for three Grammys including Record of the Year, Best New Artist, and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Their second album This Time Around dropped in 2000, but it flopped due to a lack of promotional funding.
The few years that followed were difficult. Island Def Jam and Mercury merged, and that led to the issues with their second album. Therefore, Hanson decided to leave Island Def Jam and begin recording independently. Underneath dropped in 2004 under their independent label 3CG Records. The Walk followed three years later also under 3CG Records.
Keeping with the three-year streak, Shout It Out dropped in 2010. Their latest album Anthem dropped in 2013, and the process met with drama and strife. Hanson almost broke up while writing Anthem in 2012. In a Noisey interview, Issac explained, “We had been running this label. We just came off the most extensive world tour we have done in six years, and we found ourselves in the situation where we were not able to create in the way that we wanted to. We were looking at each other like, okay, we have go to stop or this is going to get real bad.” After time and space apart, six or seven months worth, they reconvened and released Anthem.
They have not released an album since but are said to be gearing up for a Christmas album release.
“Middle of Everywhere” 25th Anniversary Tour Dates:
9/12 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues
9/13 – Austin, TX – Emos East
9/15 – New Orleans, LA – Joy Theater
9/16 – Nashville, TN – Wildhorse Saloon
9/17 – Birmingham, AL – Iron City
9/19 – St. Petersburg, FL – Jannus Live
9/20 – Atlanta, GA – Buckhead Theatre
9/22 – Raleigh, NC – The Ritz
9/23 – Norfolk, VA – Norva
9/24 – Silver Spring, MD – The Fillmore
9/26 – Cleveland, OH – House Of Blues
9/27 – Pittsburgh, PA – Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead
9/28 – Philadelphia, PA – The Fillmore
9/30 – New York, NY – Playstation Theater
10/1 – Boston, MA – House Of Blues
10/2 – Montreal, QC CANADA – Corona
10/4 – Toronto, ON CANADA – Danford Music Hall
10/6 – Detroit, MI – St. Andrews
10/7 – Chicago, IL – House of Blues
10/8 – Grand Rapids, MI – 20 Monroe Live
10/10 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
10/11 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant
10/12 – Lawrence, KS – Granada Theatre
10/14 – Denver, CO – Summit Music Hall
10/15 – Salt Lake City, UT – Depot
10/17 – Seattle, WA – The Neptune
10/18 – Vancouver, BC CANADA – Vogue Theatre
10/19 – Portland, OR – Aladdin Theatre
10/21 – Anaheim, CA – House Of Blues
10/22 – Los Angeles, CA – The Mayan
10/24 – San Diego, CA – House Of Blues
10/25 – Las Vegas, NV – House Of Blues
10/27 – Houston, TX – House Of Blues