Found myself on the mean streets of Columbus, Ohio, this past weekend, having a chat with the particular person you see to the right. For those of you who may be confused, that's Zac Hanson, the youngest brother and drummer for the band who just may have put out the best record 2010 will see, Hanson.
The talk went a little over 30 minutes, and he was exactly everything you wanted him to be: Nice, happy, smiling, accommodating, interesting, completely not jaded and, of course, as cute as a button. Of all the things (and there were many) discussed, I'd be burying the lede if I didn't mention his clear passion for video games first. Goodness, he's spent so much money on so many pieces of equipment just to be able to play those things. He spoke endlessly of the measures he has taken in the past to participate in crazy video game scenarios. But hey: If I had the type of money writing a song like “MMMbop” can provide, I’d probably upgrade a few portions of my life, too. How his wife puts up with all the video game madness was a question I was five seconds away from asking, though opted against it. The last thing I’d ever want to be is a man hated by anybody in Hanson.
That said, there were many other topics of discussion brought up. And while I am fully aware that you, the fantastically loyal reader, may not give a heck about the Hanson boys, I am also aware that this kind of stuff can be neat. Especially when you touch on the following…
- He's upset that Levon Helm is not in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. "It's all about money," he said. “That’s all that place is – who has the most money.” This was all brought up after my roommate asked him about a recent quote he gave Rolling Stone regarding wanting to be the youngest member of the Hall. “Levon Helm needs to be in there, though,” he said more than once. “You can ask anybody.”
- The only time he was visibly uncomfortable was when the third member of our traveling group – a wonderful young lady whom we met while seeing the band earlier in the night (and a lady, I may add, whom I should probably marry sometime between now and next Wednesday) – asked him why he wasn’t wearing his wedding ring. “Why are the only one not married?” she asked.
“I am,” the drummer replied.
“Then you should really be wearing your wedding ring,” she said.
“I am,” he said after pausing for a quick two seconds to gather his thoughts. “It’s around my neck. I can’t play the drums with it on because it makes me bleed.” Then, after turning to me because it had already been brought up that I play the drums as well, he continued. “Right? You know what I mean,” he said.
- And speaking of drums (and this is specifically for anybody with the new record) I would lose my drummer’s card had I not asked him about “Voice In The Chorus,” a track off the band’s latest album that features an offbeat so awkward that I was convinced it wasn’t done live. Not the case.
“Yep,” he countered. “It was all done live. Actually, the whole record was pretty much done live,” he continued before launching into an impromptu pseudo-lesson about how to play the song in question. Hey. Not many people can say Zac Hanson tried to teach them how to play a song of his in the middle of street on air drums.
- I was completely taken by his genuine knowledge of the same kind of music I love. Asking him about the band covering Sam & Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Coming” earlier in the night, he spoke endearingly about soul music and the affect its had on his band. Sure, he called “Hold On, I’m Coming” a “deep cut,” – it’s not. Anyone with ears can recite that horn line in their sleep - but he gets a pass for that. It was his effort that counted.
- Fast food. This was actually the second time we had the opportunity to stop him on the street. The first was before the show while we shared drinks at a local bar. “Hey, that’s Zac,” my roommate said as we were looking out the front window. And it was. He was carrying a Wendy’s bag. When we caught up with him later that night, he was carrying a Five Guys sack of food. The dude likes his meals greasy and fast it seems.
- “Wouldn’t you like there to be just a little more guys at your shows,” my roommate asked after quickly offering up the notion that we seemingly couldn’t find more than 10 guys at the show. In response, the youngest brother of the three responded in a way most any other normal mid-20-something dude would. “No.”
- And finally: It was Zac Hanson! To think he was one-third of an act that literally ruled the music world for a little while is something that, at this point, is mind-blowing. We must have stood on the street with him for somewhere around 45 minutes and not once was he stopped. Not once did anyone try and bamboozle our conversation. It was the three of us and him. Nobody even recognized him. In hindsight, my roommate brought up the notion of a picture or an autograph, though luckily, he never indulged. These are the types of moments that could never be portrayed through picture or signature.
And, naturally, all of this gives me yet one more excuse to offer up this video. “We really wanted to do it because ‘The Blues Brothers’ is our favorite movie,” he told me. It’s the smartest thing they’ve done in years…