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Seventeen Magazine

BLOND AMBITION: They've gone from the Middle of Nowhere to the center of the universe, but Hanson keeps its cool.
by Ethan Brown

Follow the screams and you'll find Hanson. Tonight the screams are coming form the hundreds of girls who are assembled outside the Beacon Theatre in New York City. They're bearing signs that read ZAC: YOU'RE ALL I'M LIVING 4; WE LOVE HANSON 4-EVER; HANSON: AMERICA'S BOYS. They're hoping to catch a glimpse of Isaac (17), Taylor (14) and Zac (12) leaving the theater where they've just shot their upcoming home-video concert, Tulsa, Tokyo &the Middle of Nowhere, and the video for their next single, "I Will Come to You." When the Hanson brothers appear at the Beacon's backdoor, the noise reaches deafening decibels. The guys sprint to their limo and pile into the car's plush backseat. A mob of girls breaks through the police barriers and swarms the car, pounding against its windows. The brothers pound right back, laughing at the frenzy. As the car pulls away, Isaac, Taylor and Zac kick back in the limo, readying themselves for a trip to the airport. The Hansons are off to Europe to tour and record their first Christmas album, Snowed In. Zac spots a car weaving through traffic to keep up with them. "I wonder if they're following us," he says. They are. At a red light, a carful of girls pulls up. As the brothers roll down their windows, the girls begin yelling frantically. Then the Hansons ask in mock upper-class British accents: "Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?" You might say that the Hansons are handling superstardom well. They may have sold more than 5 million copies of Middle of Nowhere worldwide and had a number one single in 23 countries, yet they're cool, funny and down-to-earth. "You look out there and you see all these people. And you look on the charts and you see your name. And people go, 'Oh, my God, you're Hanson!'" says Taylor. "And you go, 'Wait, I can't believe this.'" "It's been totally unbelievable," Isaac agrees. "People think of us as stars," says Taylor, "and we don't think we're stars at all, not even for a second." "We think, Stars? Where?" says Zac. "If I saw a band like us," says Taylor, "the first thing I would say was 'Fake! They're put together; they don't write their own songs.'" The Hansons are able to deal with the type of hysteria that would drive even the most seasoned rock star insane. "You go to a concert and there's all this craziness, but it's just a lot of people who are really excited," says Taylor. In places as diverse as Indonesia, Australia and Paramus, New Jersey, the Hanson craze is at a fever pitch. This summer, at a Hard Rock Café in Jakarta, Indonesia, a riot nearly broke out when thousands of fans stormed the tiny establishment. "They were flinging rocks," says Taylor. "We had people throwing themselves at us and hanging on us and ripping out our hair and trying to kiss us. "In Australia 25,000 people showed up to see us perform three acoustic songs," Taylor continues. "In Taiwan a group of girls followed us everywhere we went, and they had cabs waiting at all times. I mean, they spent a lot of money on cab fare," he muses. But the most hair-raising (blond, or course) experience for these guys occurred at what was supposed to be a small in-store appearance at the Paramus Park shopping center in New Jersey. "It was like the first appearance we had ever done," remembers Taylor. "And we went to this mall - there were like 8,000 people. And we had no security, no barricades on the stage. We thought, Wow, if they wanted to get on the stage, they could." With all this touring, the brothers are racking up major mileage. "It's really amazing to think, Yesterday I was in Indonesia; today I'm in Canada," says Taylor. "We've been all over Asia, all over Europe. A lot of people never get to do that." "It's an incredible opportunity," interjects Isaac, "but at the same time you start to miss home." "You DEFINITELY miss home," agrees Taylor. "But, still, when are you ever going to be able to do this?" What keeps these guys' spirits up during their ultrahectic schedule is their love for music and devotion to their fans (not to mention the copious amounts of Dr. Pepper and Jelly Belly Very Cherry jelly beans they consume). "We're doing it because we love to do it," says Isaac. "There's always a little bit of exhaustion." "It's the most fun thing ever," adds Taylor. "We enjoy recording and performing." Perhaps it's because their father, Walker, is their manager. For the recording of Snowed In, the entire family - which includes mother Diana; sisters Jessica, 9, and Avery, 6; and brother Mackenzie, 3 - will be staying together in a residential studio in London. "Hanson's family is what keeps them sane," says Mercury Records' senior vice president, Steve Greenberg, who signed Hanson to the label back in 1996. Walker Hanson's management has kept some of the Hanson mania at a distance. The boys - it comes as no surprise - have been offered many Hollywood deals. "People have offered us sitcoms, movies and all that," says Isaac. (One deal had them starring in a film version of the '60s TV series My Three Sons.) "Obviously we didn't accept." While you won't be seeing My Three Hansons, one rumor won't go away - that Hanson will be starring in a biopic a la the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night. The Hanson publicity machine vehemently denies it. But according to Entertainment Weekly, Morgan J. Freeman has been hired to write the film. For now, fans can content themselves with the Hanson-related merchandise coming this winter. "We want to say right now that we're not going to put out Hanson dolls," says Taylor. "We're not going to put out totally sell-out stuff." "We'll offer a hat or a T-shirt," says Zac. "It's no going to be jackets and boxer shorts and lunch boxes." They're also putting out an authorized biography to set the Hanson record straight. "Somebody said Taylor's a left-handed dyslexic; that's not true," says Isaac. "I'm right-handed and not dyslexic," chimes in Taylor. "They also say we're immigrants from Sweden, and that I used to have a girlfriend named Ashley who cheated on me, so I broke up with her. What's funny is that I DO have a friend named Ashley, but he's a guy." "There was one about Ike dating LeAnn Rimes," says Zac. "We don't even know LeAnn Rimes." The truth is that neither Isaac, Taylor nor Zac is dating anyone right now. "We have nothing against girls," says Taylor. "We actually like girls a lot. It just hasn't happened naturally." You can't blame them for wanting to remain solo. This has been a big year for teen-oriented pop, and Hanson has duked it out on the charts with everybody from Puff Daddy to the Spice Girls, whom they met during a publicity tour in Europe. "They're all very short," says Zac. If they're not into talking about the Spice Girls - or being compared to them, or to any other new kids on the block - they will acknowledge the anti-Hanson backlash. "You're are tough enough to stand up to their critics, and they're also very protective of their younger siblings. There's a reason why they're not part of the act. "You want them to be able to do whatever they want," says Isaac. Taylor agrees: "We don't want to put them too much in the spotlight." But the younger Hansons do provide musical inspiration. "The first songs we wrote were about them," says Taylor. They even composed a lullaby called "I'll Show You Mars" for their brother. Mars is probably the one place in the solar system immune to Hanson mania. The brothers don't think they've peaked yet, and Steve Greenberg agrees, saying, "The guys want to mature with their fans." If the girls at the Beacon Theatre are any indication, Hanson will be rockin' through the millennium.