Hanson is all grown up into a sturdy blues-rock trio.
Hanson is all grown up into a sturdy blues-rock trio.


>Ike Hanson, guitarist for family band Hanson, thinks that his band would have had an easier time breaking in today's climate than in 1997, when "MMMBop" was blowing up on radio. "It's never easy to break in any band, but now I think people are more receptive to pop-rock," he says on the road somewhere in Arizona. "We were fighting back against this grunge mentality. From the Midwest, we had no frame of reference for grunge anyway. We were kids that were into early rock, and Motown."

With Ike's brothers Taylor and Zac, who all still live in their native Oklahoma, Hanson has morphed into a sturdy blues-rock band over the subsequent 15 years, with fans sticking around to watch the trio's evolution into a road-dogging roots act. Ike longs for the type of pop-rock that he heard in the '90s, especially well-built singles like Del Amitri's "Roll to Me." Short-sighted people still try to lump Hanson into the '90s boy-band craze, which the eldest Hanson brother finds frustrating.

"We were coming from a rock background and wrote our own songs," he says. "No one was pulling the strings." On this current tour, the band is letting fans vote online for which album in their catalog they will play from front to back, before a hits set. So far their straightforward rock albums like 1997's Middle of Nowhere and 2000 follow-up This Time Around have been the top vote-getters, which makes Ike — and his brothers — more than happy.


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