Hanson Takes To The Clubs

Excerpted the the magazine for Billboard.com.

This isn't your little sister's Hanson.

Three years have passed since the once-premiere kiddie pop group performed live and released an album. Next month, the Hanson brothers will embark on a tour specifically to promote that they are all grown up.

The gigs showcase fresh songs the Hansons crafted during their hiatus. To reacquaint themselves with their fans more personally, they will only play acoustic sets at small clubs with capacities of fewer than 1,000 seats.

Starting Aug. 9 at the Recher Theatre in Towson, Md., the tour will wind through 13 mainly West and East Coast dates before wrapping Aug. 28 at the Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood.

More shows are expected to be added in September, reaching the South and Midwest markets. Tickets are $20 apiece.

"When we were planning out the promotion [of the band], we started to talk about how to introduce people to this music. We couldn't see as dynamic a setting as where people are 20 to 30 rows from the front," says Taylor Hanson, 20, the group's lead singer. "[Crowds] will see the absolute core of what the band is."

Hanson's next studio album, "Underneath," is scheduled for release in February 2004. The band is not signed to a label -- having split from Island Def Jam in May -- so Hanson is likely to release the disc independently.

Songs from the forthcoming disc carry rawer guitar work than previous efforts and display a rootsy feel rather than straight-up pop. Danny Kortchmar, known for teaming with signature singer/songwriter James Taylor, co-produced the track "Penny & Me."

In the meantime, a CD full of acoustic sessions of this new material will be for sale on Hanson's Web site starting Aug. 9.

Drummer Zac Hanson, 17, believes veteran fans of the band will embrace the revamped group. "A lot of our fans are in college now [and] I definitely feel [they] have grown," he notes.

Songs from the band's younger years will be included in the set lists because "everyone can sing along. We still love playing that stuff," he adds.

Starting from the ground up is new for Hanson, which will be club-hopping for the first time while on the road.

The band exploded onto the scene in the mid-1990s, getting its touring feet wet with amphitheaters and arenas. Its debut, "Middle of Nowhere," has sold more than 4 million copies in the U.S. to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Taylor Hanson wants to regain that profile: "This is all about the beginning. This isn't a career of clubs. This is about giving our fans a really special thank-you-a real intimate show."

Excerpted from the Aug. 2, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com Premium Services section.

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